There are quite a few complaints about the time-share selling tactics of the Tides Resort being built on Koh Samui, in Thailand. We got to experience them first-hand recently. It’s as bad as it sounds.
After checking into our hotel and starting to look for a bite to eat, we got approached by two friendly English blokes. Before we knew it, we had two raffle tickets in our hands; one of them, of course, was a big winner. Without even knowing clearly what this all was about, we found ourselves in a taxi headed somewhere, hoping to get the prize.
We arrived at a Tides resort construction site in the North East of Koh Samui. Still completely unsure of what was happening, we asked upfront whether this was a time-share scam, which the person we were brought to meet politely denied. They then spent the next hour and a half feeding us their sale tactics and showing us around the site: this was a time-share offer, except they didn’t call it that.
I don’t know about the offer itself. It didn’t sound bad but, of course, we didn’t get to see the fine print. In any case, not having this type of spare money, we told them that we couldn’t afford it, which got us out rather easily. They still tried to get us on a five-year trial before letting go.
What is clearly a scam is the offer is the money-back insurance (deferred annuity): if you pay LloydShare (the insurance provider) an additional yearly 15% of the total price (that they already made you pay upfront), you can get your entire investment back at the end of the 15-year commitment period. Do the math: 15×15=225%; you end up paying a total of more than three times the quoted amount, and only chance getting back a third of this total! Oddly enough, the LloydShare site says the yearly premium is only 5% (so you pay the price only twice…). It is therefore not clear who the scammer, adding the extra 10%, actually is.
We left with one of the big prizes: a voucher for some other resort group. Upon further investigation, this one also required sitting through another 90 minutes presentation, and activation of the voucher asked for credit card details upfront. We ended up chucking it in the bin: once is enough. I doubt anybody ever gets any of the other prizes. As promised by the first touts, we finally got driven back to our hotel, at no cost.
In hindsight, and reading this TripAdvisor thread, we got out lightly. What got us in was greed for the raffle price. We should definitely have asked more questions and just not followed the two blokes. The time-share offer, along with other services, might have some value, but the selling tactics just aren’t honest or inspire trust. The deferred annuity deal that was presented to us was however clearly a way to grab more money for nothing.