New military victim of a predatory sales pitch
Staff Sgt. Mike Lowe had just returned from a six-month deployment, home, his wife Chivon and their 6-month-old child. Chivon is a master sergeant, and they were looking for a better life balance.
“We were newly married with a child, and we were hard workers,” Mike said. “We wanted to make sure we had time to ourselves. It was a good idea to force us to take annual vacation.
“This” was a timeshare. But instead of honoring the Lowes’ military service, the timeshare operator Wyndham’s salesman used it as a selling point.
“They played the role of ‘you roll out and it might be a year or two before you see each other,'” recalls Mike. “They said ‘this could be a good opportunity to make sure that you are using this precious time.'”
Tackling a young military family is a new low, even for “Timeshare Nightmare” stories. Otherwise, Lowes’ story sounds too familiar – a manipulative sales pitch accompanied by false promises, fine print, and fees… lots of fees.
Lowes’ story is why the Florida Alliance for Consumer and Taxpayers (FACT) launched a public education campaign against these “timeshare nightmares”.
As Florida struggles to break out of its economic hole and individual consumers attempt to return to some semblance of “normal”, the state’s overly aggressive timeshare industry has its fangs. At FACT, we’ve started hearing more and more from Floridians who have been inundated with locations urging them to spend their hard-earned money on timeshares.
With the intensification of its sales efforts by the industry, it seems the time has come to ensure that consumers know to be extremely careful when dealing with timeshare sellers so that they can avoid this nightmare by. timeshare.
The Lowes ended up losing about $ 20,000 and received next to nothing in return. Shortly after signing up, Wyndham told them the program had changed and they couldn’t use the properties they had signed up for. But a “new” plan – at an even higher cost – could deliver what they wanted.
All this resulted in stress that was sometimes unbearable.
“I remember going through our bills and just standing in the kitchen,” Chivon said, her voice fading as she remembered the stress. Mike took over: “Mentally and emotionally, it put a lot of pressure on our marriage.”
Not to mention their careers – with the Lowes struggling to make their mortgage payments, they feared bad credit would hurt their security clearance and threaten their military status. And then the reality hit that what they signed meant their children would take over the act – and the ever-increasing fees that came with the program.
“It was like we were prisoners of Wyndham,” said Mike.
Fortunately, the Lowes were able to escape their “timeshare nightmare” with legal help and countless phone calls. But by then the financial and emotional damage had been done.
What would they say to others courted with timeshare deals that sound too good to be true?
Chivon started talking about the fine print and the like, when Mike cut him off and just said, “Don’t do it.”
At FACT, we call on all of the writers of Timeshare Nightmare to end these practices that attack military families and so many others. Learn more about Timeshare Nightmares at timesharenightmare.com
Lee Hinkle is a director of the Florida Alliance for Consumers and Taxpayers nonprofit.