A Local Vacation

I was driving home the other day when my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I always answer my phone. It was some lady from Colonial Crossings of Williamsburg calling to let me know I won a 2 day/1 night vacation in Williamsburg. I was like, uh, lady, I live in Williamsburg.

No you don’t, you live in Suffolk, she replied. I was like, no, I’m pretty sure I know where I live. I live in Williamsburg. She was like, oh, well we’ll give you $50, too. And a 3 day/2 night vacation you can use somewhere else. I was like, oh really? What do I have to do? She said I just have to listen to a 90 minute presentation about Colonial Crossings of Williamsburg.

Ah hah! A timeshare! Becca and I are saving for a house, so I had no fear of getting talked into purchasing, so after talking it over with her, we decided to go for it.

Then the “gotchas” started showing up. They required a $10 reservation fee. And $5 hotel tax (which actually ended up being $7.50, and almost $15 if we didn’t catch the billing error). The additional vacation was just another timeshare. And although we were led to believe that we’d be staying at the resort, we actually were put up in one of the shiftiest hotels in town. The carpets had dirt clumps on them, we found a child’s toy next to the bed, and the towel rack literally fell off of the wall. Shifty.

I later discovered (thanks to Google) that this is a sales technique. Once at the presentation, the salesperson can say somehing like, “Now, wouldn’t you rather spend your vacation here instead of a hotel?” at which point you think “wow, my hotel room really did suck” and you plop down $35,000.

Oh I didn’t get to the $35,000 part yet? Well, that is how much your fancy 1-week at the resort will cost. Plus quarterly maintenance fees that can go up in price without notice. Plus a yearly fee if you want the book that lets you trade your week at different resorts. Plus a few hundred dollars if you do want to trade your week at another resort. And that is just for the place you sleep. What about food? Souveniers? Admission to attractions? Trust me, it is not cheaper to buy a resort (at least not at the retail price).

But yes, we got our $50, so we came out ahead. I had to sign for my money, and was able to see what others got. Some were being paid as much as $120 to come listen to the presentation. I guess I should have held out for more money.

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