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Strange Conversation with Wyndham Resorts
Old 07-23-2008, 12:48 PM   #1
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Strange Conversation with Wyndham Resorts

I had a strange conversation today. I first called Avis about a car rental. They were out of the type of cars for the day I was looking for, so the guy mumbled something about "Wyndham Resorts" and transfered my call to a woman.

This woman is apparently with Wyndham Hotel and Resorts. She said that I qualified for a free, 3-day 2-night stay at any of the Wyndham resorts, and listed about 20 places. I picked Lake Tahoe. She said there is absolutely no obligation, and all I need to do is to take some time the second day to tour the resort. (I assume this is a time-share sales pitch) She also offered a $100 car rental voucher. So far so good.

Then she asked for my credit card number and said she would take out a $150 deposit from my card, and when I arrive at the resort, they will return it in cash. This totally raised a red flag for me. First, I hate being tied to a commitment like that. Second, I don't like to give out my credit card number. I told her I changed my mind. She sounded like she was annoyed and asked why. I told her that I don't give out credit card numbers to people who I didn't call directly. She said, "Do you not think Avis would transfer you to a legitimate company?" Good point, but I still had a hard time trusting them.

How do they expect people to give them their credit card numbers without seeing anything in writing or reading the fineprints? Or just commit to a vacation on a whim? Besides, she became really rude towards the end, and there's no way I'm coming back.

Just thought it was kind of an interesting experience. Has anyone else run into it? Who knows--it could have turned out great. I've been wanting to go to Lake Tahoe forever...
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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Easy. Wyndham is paying Avis to give them leads for travelers who might be coerced into staying at their resorts in the future.

People who rent cars tend to be heavier travelers than people who dont. So its a good prequalifier.

You give them the card number and they put a charge on it. That assures you'll show up. Then they'll fill you into an excess capacity room so it doesnt cost them anything, and hand you $150 in cash with a likely range of things and places for you to spend it on.

And they'd tie up half your day with a presentation and tour.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:43 PM   #3
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I've done one time-share pitch, and although I'm into easy money, it was really a pain to politely say "No" enouigh times for them to give up and give me my $100 gift card or whatever it was I got. I've since learned that there are tricks for getting out of there faster that I didn't know of at the time.

I'd either forget about it and ignore the "free" car rental and vacation, or read up on how to excuse yourself from timeshare pitches quickly. Also, leave all of your credit cards and payment methods behind if you do attend -- they are very persuasive.

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Old 07-23-2008, 03:58 PM   #4
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We usually do the time-share thing when we go to Florida, so we can have a cheaper and nicer place to stay than a hotel. We do the little sales gig, say "no" 200 times, then have a great vacation.

I got an invitation to a time-share at Bryce Mountain resort in VA a number of years back. I read the odds on the prizes on the back of the card, and we were pretty much guaranteed to win a food processor. Since it was only a couple of hours away, we didn't have anything to do that day, and gas was still cheap, we went. I wanted to see how they could justify giving away a food processor to so many people.

So we did the gig, said no, and they finally brought out the prize. It was a high quality plastic food processor. All you had to do was change the blades and turn the handle and it would process food from whole into pieces. Basically a Veg-A-Matic

I laughed all the way home.

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Old 07-23-2008, 04:07 PM   #5
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We usually do the time-share thing when we go to Florida, so we can have a cheaper and nicer place to stay than a hotel. We do the little sales gig, say "no" 200 times, then have a great vacation.

I got an invitation to a time-share at Bryce Mountain resort in VA a number of years back. I read the odds on the prizes on the back of the card, and we were pretty much guaranteed to win a food processor. Since it was only a couple of hours away, we didn't have anything to do that day, and gas was still cheap, we went. I wanted to see how they could justify giving away a food processor to so many people.

So we did the gig, said no, and they finally brought out the prize. It was a high quality plastic food processor. All you had to do was change the blades and turn the handle and it would process food from whole into pieces. Basically a Veg-A-Matic

I laughed all the way home.

Harley
I think I may have you beat. I won an am/fm stereo system! This was the 80's. Was a transistor radio in a little plastic tray that had two speakers that each needed 4 big batteries "C or D" size! The batteries (not provided) were worth more than the entire "system". LOL
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Old 07-23-2008, 04:12 PM   #6
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GoodSense:

Yep, 'tis a timeshare offer. Both Wyndham & Avis are part of Cendant, the big travel/timeshare company.

Both companies are 'above-board' of course... and that phone transfer was one of the strategies (synergies) that enticed Cendant to buy both Avis & Wyndham (formerly Fairfield Resorts)....

That said, timeshare presentations are very-rarely worth the time and trouble. And worst-yet would be buying from the timeshare presentation. Never pay retail.

[full disclosure: I'm a biz consultant to travel companies, some of which are resale timeshare cos.]
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Old 07-23-2008, 04:21 PM   #7
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My favorite was the time share outfit in florida that flew my dad down for 3 or 4 days free air and room.

The salesman took my dad out driving around looking at the units for sale. About halfway through the day when there wasnt much sign of any buying, the guy tried to take my dad back to the airport and put him on a plane back home.

"well, ya arent going to buy anything, so why dont we just send you back"

"NO!"

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Old 07-23-2008, 04:29 PM   #8
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Hey thanks for the responses. At least it sounds like it's legit. Maybe next time I can think about places I want to go ahead of time. I know she also said a few cities in Florida, which sounded nice, too.

I had a bad experience years ago when someone posing as my favorite charity called me and I gave them my CC number for donation. (that was the early age of ID thefts, and I was quite naive) Turned out they were identity thieves. That's why I would never give out my credit card number over the phone unless I initiated the call and it was directed directly at that person.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:10 PM   #9
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One additional comment: those 3 day / 2 night free vacations usually have strings of many different kinds attached to them. I can't recall what they are offhand, but I threw away the coupon for mine last time.

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Old 07-23-2008, 10:33 PM   #10
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I had a bad experience years ago when someone posing as my favorite charity called me and I gave them my CC number for donation. (that was the early age of ID thefts, and I was quite naive) Turned out they were identity thieves. That's why I would never give out my credit card number over the phone unless I initiated the call and it was directed directly at that person.
I regularly give money to Doctors Without Borders, and last month they called me at home out of the blue because they needed donations. I agreed to give them money so the woman on the phone proceeded to ask me for my credit card number. I refused to give it to her. I told her I would go to their website right away and make a donation there with my credit card (like I have many times before). But apparently that was not fast enough, she wanted money immediately. But I was not about to give my CC number to a cold caller.
So, I asked her how I could be sure it was indeed Doctors Without Borders calling me. My caller ID just gave me a NY number and, although I knew they were based in NYC, there was no way for me to be sure it was legit. So she read my home address from my "file", to which I replied that anyone who called me at home could also have access to my address just by looking it up in the phonebook. She was now really annoyed. So she gave me my "donor reference number", to which I replied she could have gotten it while dumpster diving on my street. By then she was completely offended by my lack of trust (apparently I should trust anyone calling me and asking for money... ha!). So I just made a promise of donation and asked them to send it to me by snail mail (to be returned with a check). I received it 3 days later and as it turned out it was truly Doctors Without Borders collecting donations. But these days, how can they still expect people to give their CC number to cold callers?
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:55 PM   #11
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Are timeshares even worth it on the retail market? The upfront 15-20k is one thing, but the annual fees are a killer! I was shocked when I researched how much extra blood they get out of you. Honestly, we looked into it because we thought rather than buy a condo in Hawaii we'd get a month of timeshare in Hawaii. But sorry, I'd rather have something real to will to my kids.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:09 AM   #12
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Good thing I didn't sign up for the timeshare "orientation." I am not very good at saying "no" to those things.

FIREDreamer, I am with you. I would rather wait a few days to donate than taking the risk of giving out credit card numbers to the wrong people. It's not like it's such an emergency...oh, wait, it might with Doctors without Borders. In any case, hopefully more people will be more alert (sounds like it's not the case) and charities can become smarter about fundraising.
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:32 AM   #13
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Laurencewill:

> Are timeshares even worth it on the retail market?

Again, I'm biased (see disclosures above). Retail timeshares worth it? Mostly, no. You'll find those same Hawaii timeshares on the resale market for much (much) less. Check out the Timeshare User's Group ( tug2.net ) -- unbiased forum/group of timeshare owners & pointers on what/what not to look for (low annual maintenance fees, well-managed, 'trade-able')...

Also: most Hawaii timeshares are deeded. You can pass along to chillens.
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