The timeshare business is back, hardball tactics and all

In the U.S., timeshare sales have grown 25 percent since 2010

A Diamond operated timeshare
A Diamond operated timeshare

Leading up to the recession, timeshare companies used hardball tactics to bully consumers into buying properties they couldn’t afford. But it seems we’ve now come full circle, with a strong luxury housing market and timeshare companies once again making the hard sell.

Some now say the tougher government regulations should be put in place to curb the activities of companies like Diamond, Interval Leisure Group, Marriott Vacations Worldwide and Wyndham Worldwide – especially Diamond, which has a reputation for being particularly forceful.

“In my experience, Diamond is much more ambitious, aggressive and downright nasty in their sales presentations compared to Marriott and Westin,” Jeff Weir, a Diamond timeshare owner and journalist who writes about the industry for RedWeek, an online timeshare site, told the New York Times.

Companies offer gift cards in exchange for credit card info and a presentation. But those presentations often turn aggressive.

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People accuse companies like Diamond of misleading costumers about maintenance fee costs and membership benefits. One woman told the Times that they pre-charged her credit card for the down payment without her authorization because they were so confident she would buy.

Timeshares can also be nearly impossible to sell. However, Diamond’s methods seem to work.

Diamond’s revenue reached $845 million last year, more than double the 2010 figure. And its average timeshare transaction price was $21,700 last year, up from $12,510 in 2012, according to the New York Times.

And across the U.S., timeshare sales have increased about 25 percent since 2010. [NYT]Christopher Cameron