It is common knowledge that unscrupulous timeshare companies will often use underhand tactics to clinch a deal. Often these practices vary for each Resort, which leads one to believe that perhaps it is the Resort who teaches their own sales strategy to their sales force, as a common pattern develops in the issues that customers complain about.
For the unlucky victims of Azure, there appear to be many issues that those clients have suffered which all follow a suspiciously similar pattern. Below we detail just some of the experiences shared by those Azure members we have spoken with…
Many customers are initially invited on a £99 promotional holiday (known as a “fly-buy”) where they get to experience the luxury of the 5-star accommodations on the cheap. The catch is…. they have to endure a sales presentation about timeshare that can sometimes last up to 7 hours. Easy …just say “no” right? That’s not so easy as many customers have found out.
There are many reasons one may be enticed into buying a timeshare at Azure. The first is being made to believe that the timeshare purchase is not just access to great value luxury holiday accommodation but it will also earn you a tidy profit and that by paying out many thousands of pounds for an Azure timeshare you will able to enjoy a sizable return on investment within a short time of around 1-3 years.
The thing is the timeshares at Azure are very pricey. You don’t have that much money? No problem! Those friendly sales representatives can help you out with a loan from Barclays Partner Finance or their in-house finance company Vacation Financial Ltd.
Many clients are told not to worry about the loan as they can give you a “rental allowance” that can cover your loan repayments until that magic time when the “re-sales” department of Azure sells your timeshare on your behalf, which not only pays off your loan (or loans) in full, but also gives you that fantastic profit!
It seems to be fool proof on the surface. In fact it seems that you won’t be financially affected at all as the “rental allowance” will pay for the loan repayments for the promised period and then you are assured that your timeshare will be sold in a matter of months (due to the high desirability of your unit) after being listed for re-sale (for which you have to pay £49 a year for the privilege of listing your timeshare for re-sale with Azure).
Azure are not shy of using your weaknesses against you and of course if they can see that you are keen travellers they will not just attract you with the lure of monetary returns, they will also entice you on the basis of RCI and the endless benefits of hundreds of accessible 5 star holidays (they don’t highlight that this is subject to availability and that you will need to book many months or even a year in advance ).
After a long presentation and the client has agreed to go ahead with the purchase, they are then taken through to the contracts department where they are presented with a large bundle of documents to sign containing amongst other things purchase documents, loan documents and compliance statements. The big problem here is that the whole process of signing the documents is relatively short when compared to the gruelling sales presentation they have just endured. Rather like when you open a bank account, you are just shown where to initial and sign before moving on to the next document.
What clients don’t realise when quickly moving through this bundle of documents is that the documents they have just signed contain clauses that often contradict what they have been verbally promised. For instance, the Compliance Statement states that their primary purpose of purchasing the timeshare was to “access holiday accommodation and is not a financial investment for a return” – so that’s get Azure off the hook for that one. There is also a clause that states “we have not been given any resale timeframe guarantees since finding a new buyer depends on market conditions and could potentially take one or more years” – so that one contradicts the timeframe that many clients are promised.
Clients are not usually made aware of problems until the promised time to re-sell their timeshare comes and goes. Excuses including poor market conditions or that you “bought the wrong unit” so you should upgrade to a better one are given. Then if the client takes the matter further with a formal complaint quoting what they were promised during their sales presentation, Azure then simply refer them back to the compliance statement.
Years after the promised re-sale time has passed, customers are left with a timeshare that they are paying expensive yearly maintenance fees on as well as their loan repayments and no sight of any of the promised “re-sale”.