Time-share Scam?
January 20, 2005 5:11 AM   Subscribe

Scam? I've been contacted and told I was selected to win a prize as a thank you for filling out a survey a few months ago. I have to go to a lunch and draw for which prize I'll receive out of 5. Presumably this is a scam, and I imagine it's a Time Share sales thing. So my question is this, if I go, and withstand the stupid timeshare marketing thing, will I actually get a prize? Or will I be scammed out of that, too? The company in question is 'The Vacation Store' and this is local to Toronto, since there are a lot of Vacation Stores out there on the net.
posted by jacquilynne to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
You'll get a prize... after you sit through a three or four hour high-pressure sales pitch. The prize may or may not be worth it- a lot of time shares give away tickets to Disney or Epcot center, but you're just as likely to get a cheap alarm clock. It doesn't have to be a good prize to keep them legal, it just has to be a prize. Since you don't know what you'll get, I'd say skip it.
posted by headspace at 5:16 AM on January 20, 2005

My Dad thought he'd won a boat in a deal like this: but he had to go & withstand the hard-sell, only to find that it was an extremely cheap & nasty boat which he would win, and that, in fact, he'd only 'win' the boat if he were to cough up a 'delivery fee' suspiciously similar to the boat's retail value...
posted by misteraitch at 5:31 AM on January 20, 2005

posted by jpburns at 5:32 AM on January 20, 2005

Yes, you will get a prize.

No, it will not have a cash value exceeding $14.95.

More than likely, it'll be some "grab bag" item, such as a cheap plastic camera, a portable FM radio, a flashlight keychain, or a booklet of coupons. Given the vacation angle, it's a pitch to get you onto an off-season "work as you ride" cruise, where part of your expenses are covered by serving as an assistant cruise director or cleanup staff. Amway/Herbalife are notorious for using travel rewards as part of their speil, so there's the chance you'll be invited to a recruitment session.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:33 AM on January 20, 2005

When I was a kid, I remember my mom dragging me along to a time share pitch, which was long and boring, but we did get free tickets to Disney out of it. The tickets were the only "prizes" offered; if this vacation place isn't promising something worth telling you about, it probably isn't worth your time.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:54 AM on January 20, 2005

My parents have been to a few of these things and walked away every time with an off-season holiday abroad . Of course it there were a number of option extras that they went with but it still worked out cheap. They must fit a profile or something as the invites come through every now and again.

Check the fine print to see what prizes are on offer and double check what the cheapest item is; you can bet that will be what all the attendees will receive, not the Ferrari or cruise.
posted by gi_wrighty at 6:03 AM on January 20, 2005

I got a call about this about 2-3 months ago (I'm in Toronto as well). Ever-skeptical, I kept on asking the telemarketer for the "catch", that it was too good to be true etc. but he insisted that it was legit.

This is a good thread. I meant to ask this back when he called, but when he inquired about my age, he told me that I was in the incorrect age bracket (I was 25 at the time, they need 28-35) and that it did not apply to me.

Oh well. He insisted that there were no catches, and that the prizes were as described (trips etc.). I could sit through 3-4 hours of bullshit for free plane tickets.
posted by purephase at 7:10 AM on January 20, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, they told me prizes would be 'guaranteed to win one of these 5 prizes' and the prizes were a cruise, a golfing vacation, a trip to Florida, $1000 or a 61 inch TV.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:43 PM on January 20, 2005

Perhaps the catch is that the cruise/vacation is free once you get there, but transportation *to* the location is not?
posted by sanitycheck at 4:01 PM on January 20, 2005

Response by poster: Hrmm, maybe for the Florida and Golf things. He was quite specific about the airline ticket being issued for the Cruise trip.

Frankly, since there's a less than 0 chance I'd be suckered by the sales pitch, (I have no money, I rarely take real vacations, but rather travel to visit family, I know timeshares suck) I'm thinking I might go just for the hell of it. My current plans for Saturday afternoon are approximately: laundry. And I've always enjoyed berating overbearing salespeople for their stupidity.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:10 PM on January 20, 2005

Let us know what happens. This way, once I hit their target age bracket, I'll know what I'm getting myself into. ;)
posted by purephase at 4:39 AM on January 21, 2005

Response by poster: Well, I drove to the place in the middle of an epic blizzard. Upon arrival they asked me to fill out a form in the lobby. As I sat down to do it, they asked me to take my coat, but I was freezing because I'd just come out of the epic blizzard. So I declined. They told me I couldn't keep my coat, but couldn't tell me why I couldn't keep my coat. So I left, returning to the epic blizzard.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:18 PM on January 22, 2005

Weird. Maybe they were a little worried about recording equipment etc. That, in itself, would probably have me running for the door as well. Thanks for the update.

(Puts tinfoil hat back on.)
posted by purephase at 8:04 AM on January 24, 2005

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