Friday, March 27, 2009

Do Not Sell Your Timeshare Until You Have Read This!

Owing to the current economic situation, my investments had not protected my income, and I was in need of releasing equity.

First on the list was our Club La Costa Vacation Points, it was after all a luxury and the prospect of a holiday on the horizon looked very distant.

Following a research into how to sell timeshare points, I had registerd my interest with a company called 'Travel and Leisure Group' who stated on their website, that they were one of the largest and respected Timeshare Resale Brokers, being members of the Organisation for Timeshare in Europe (O.T.E.). Vacation Owners Coalition in Europe, Resale Broker Alliance and Timeshare Consumer Guide!

So with those creditials, I decided to let them advertise my Vacation Points. A marketing fee of £154 was paid, which covered advertising in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express and inflight publications from British Airways and B.M.I.

This fee covered 6 months worth of advertising.

After 6 months, I had received nothing, no interest, no updates and more importantly no money. I contacted Travel and Leisure, who stated that the paid advertising was over and my points were just registered on their database, with no active marketing. However, if I wanted to take up a very special offer being made, because they were disappointed that my points had not sold, I could purchase another 6 months advertising for a 50% reduction on the normal cost!

Despite their very 'generous' offer I declined, the agent stated that I would not find any one else who could sell my timeshare points. I reminded the agent, that Travel and Leisure had not been successful in selling my points, why would I want to pour more money into their account!

Disillusioned with the whole experience, I looked at other avenues to raise equity.

In October 2008, I received a phone call from Europen Timeshare Owners Organisation (E.T.O.O.), who stated that if I was still selling my Vacation Points, they had a corporate buyer waiting for them. Obviously, this was a much needed cash injection my bank accounts needed. I was informed that the whole transaction would take between 1 - 2 months and following their generous estimated selling price for my points. I thought the wait would be worth it.

More research conducted, and the company appeared in major newspapers, T.V. ads and the website gave links to accredited organisations. What could possibly go wrong!

Contracts were emailed and duly signed, another admin fee (yes I know!) paid, fully refundable upon money being paid by the buyer, so no fees to pay by the seller!

After a couple of weeks, I had not heard anything and just wanted an update on the progress of the sale. I contacted their customer support and spoke to a representative of ETOO. I was informed that the points had been advertised in the Daily Express, with some interest shown in them!

Hold on, where was the corporate buyer?

The Rep, informed me that they liked to cover all options. Perhaps the agent dealing with my sale would be better to explain the progress, would I like him to call me? Yes Please!

As I write this article, the agent has still not managed to contact me, but he is very busy, because everytime I call he is not available owing to a meeting or other calls!

Something did not feel right with this, my missus was certainly getting suspicious with the company, especially as she had never been requested to sign the contract, despite the points being in both names!

My fears were finally confirmed, when following an investigation into Timeshare Resale, guess which company gets top of the bill, ETOO! Brilliant, what a stroke of luck, of all the companies I picked from this vast list on the internet, I picked ETOO.

BBC's Watchdog team followed a couple who had used ETOO to sell their timeshare points. Having been told that a corporate buyer was waiting to purchase them, they had to attend a meeting in Spain to seal the deal. Upon arrival, the corporate buyer, was a Rep from Club Class Concierge.

The Rep informed the couple that the points were worthless and if they paid him a fee of nearly £5,000 to join Club Class Concierge, he would take the points off his hands!

The couple are now taking legal action against ETOO, for misleading them. Rulings have also been made by Advertising Standards Authority, stating that their adverts were misleading and only 8% of sales are ever made!

If you find yourselve in this situation, having parted with any money, advice can be obtained from:

BBC Watchdog
Consumer Direct

I do hope this info has been useful. Lets make a difference and stand up to these criminals!

Steve Thornton

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