Refering to the article in the Daily Bulletin on Timeshare cons January 9, which reminded me of an experience we had in Torremolinos some time back. We - wife, self and two young daughters were window-shopping in Torremolinos en route for Morocco, when a lady came up to us and asked if we would like a free drink, cakes, a radio and gifts for the children. All we had to do was go and see one of these wonderful apartments and get driven there in a free taxi. My wife, never having been able to refuse anything free, said yes, and before we knew it we were in a taxi and arrived at the establishment where we were introduced to a middle-aged American lady in a dark suit and lots of finesse.
She took us to a bar and gave us our free drink and cakes and started buttering us up - what a strong resemblance I had to some film star or other and my wife was the spitting image of another, what lovely blond girls we had and so on.
We were then escorted around a very ordinary apartment with lovely views over other apartment blocks and a thin blue line of sea in the distance.
Fantastic sea views, and this could be ours, and the Timeshare explanations started and did not stop.
All the time she was trying hard to find out our financial status, what bank we used, where was our home address, how much did we earn, what did we do for a living etc. and all asked in quite a casual manner.
My wife, a past master at deception regarding financial matters, told a few half truths - we lived on a boat which was our home - bank? No we used no bank, we chartered our boat and kept on the move. No we did not have an address in the UK.
She was Swiss and I, South African.
After a tour of the whole establishment, bars, swimming pool and seeing all the happy people standing around and trying to make the place sound like a Muslim haven, we ended up in a large lounge with a series of small tables around which sat a salesman and two or three bemused looking tourists.
There was a church-like atmosphere, with quiet murmurs, the sound of rustling papers - cheque books, people signing documents.
Our lady sat us down and started doing page after page of complicated looking calculations, stopping now and then for our approval.
We absolutely agreed and understood it all perfectly. She ended up with so this is the sum you'll need to pay each month, at this point my wife innocently said could you explain that from the beginning again please? The lady lost her composure and on the point of tears in a warbling voice said why do you want to know? We were absolutely dumbfounded as we were only trying to be polite and see the game out.
She then said I'm going to introduce you to my boss, making it sound like a threat. We then all trouped into a nearby office and met an amiable character who tried a different tack, he was a Jerseyman who had a similar accent to mine - what a lovely life we must have living on a boat, he did a lot of sailing himself then the money, bank and permanent address business again.
All the wonderful benefits of a timeshare, which sounded to my ears as though he was trying to sell air.
Anyway we were eventually set free without signing anything and emerged exhausted from his office. Our sales lady seemed very upset and we saw her being soothed by the boss.
We felt a little bit bad about her and hoped we were not the reason for her unhappiness - but then we had never heard of Timeshare and had no idea we would be subjected to nearly two hours of high pressure sales talk.
At least we had our free gifts, a small radio and bag of rubbish for the kids and a ride back to town.
I suppose the experience was worth having as a warning never to get caught like that again.