'Buy it if you love your family'

PHOTO: 'Buy it if you love your family'

SINGAPORE - Consumers claim sales consultants have forced them to sit through hours of presentations and bar them from leaving until they had bought memberships.

It typically starts with them receiving a call offering a free gift in exchange for sitting through a sales presentation.

Technician Mohamed R., 55, ended up buying a membership in 2003 and spent $10,000 over the next nine years paying for it.

During this time, he did not benefit from the membership, as the dates he wanted were never available, he says. He recalls his experience: "The salesman spoke like a lawyer. The office was filled with pictures of beautiful, exotic places like Fiji, Mauritius and the Maldives. The salesman said I should buy the membership if I loved my wife and daughter.

"My daughter was also crying because she was placed in a separate room, and we wanted to get out of there."

After contacting Case last year, his contract was terminated with no refund.

Another customer, 34, bought a membership last year, but terminated the contract a few months later.

He says: "The presentation lasted from 8pm to midnight. I didn't have dinner, and was hungry and tired by then.

"When I initially declined, the salesman kept bringing up example after example of customers who enjoyed their stay at the resorts.

"When I wanted some time to think (it over), he gave me a special offer that would expire by the end of the day.

"He kept repeating himself. He spent so much effort that I would feel guilty if I didn't sign."

Earlier this week, four major timeshare companies were reportedly concerned about a proposed change to Singapore's consumer laws, claiming it would threaten their survival.

The proposed change was for timeshare firms to no longer collect payments during a mandatory five-day cooling-off period, which is designed to give customers a chance to change their minds.


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