Monday, July 9, 2012

Our First Guest Post! Surviving The Timeshare Resales Process

Chris Green works at Travel & Leisure Group a Timeshare Reseller based in the UK with offices across Europe. Registered members of ARDA, TATOC, RDO, TCA, the British Chambers of Commerce and ATHOC, Travel & Leisure have been buying and selling timeshare for over 20 years, competing with the negative press the industry has been subjected to and had to deal with its fair share of scam companies targeting timeshare owners.

If you follow timeshare in the news that closely there is something that is never far from the headlines – fraudulent or scam timeshare companies. This is hardly a new development in timeshare resales, however it is something which at least seems to be more prevalent as economies continue to struggle.
There are more sharks in the water than ever, but what do you do? If you’re looking to sell your timeshare chances are there is a good reason for doing so, so you can hardly wait on it and hope for a more opportune moment.

Many take to the search engines like Google to do their own research, to find out where is best to try and sell their timeshare. Google and others endeavour to provide the most accurate and relevant results from each search, so typing “timeshare” for example, would provide you with websites linked with timeshares. However, it doesn’t end there, not only are the results relevant, but they are generally ordered by quality too. So for example, the 1st result is more likely to be a high-quality, relevant site, whereas something at the bottom of the second page is deemed to be less helpful for you.
Without going into the complex ways Google and others like Bing and Yahoo works out which sites are high quality, it is usually the case that the websites at the top of search results are trustworthy and well established. For example searching “timeshare” from the US you’ll see RCI as the top result, followed by Wikipedia, two authoritative sites with information about Timeshare, makes sense right? However, this is often confusion with Google as to what is the top of the search listings. Have you ever noticed the results in the yellow box at the very top of the page? If you look closely you’ll see “Adds related to...” written in the top of the box. Yes, that’s right, these are paid adverts.

There is nothing wrong with the paid listings on Google; however you must be cautious when clicking on these adverts as a listing at the top of the paid is based more on how much the advertiser is willing to pay to be there as opposed to being a trustworthy and relevant source. For example, some searches for “sell timeshare” in the UK saw 7 out of the top 10 websites in the top sites related to websites with no connection to TATOC, ARDA, RDO or BBB and one of which was even an identified cold caller by TATOC.

This is by no means the case for every search, and of course it differs from country to country, however the amount of websites which aren’t governed by any of the industry regulatory bodies is not good news for those looking to sell their timeshare through resale.
These adverts are not just limited to the main search engines, most websites also contain advertising space, where you will also find similar adverts which are targeted at you and what you’ve looked at before. It isn’t coincidence that all of a sudden every website has garish adverts boasting an immediate, “no-strings-attached sale” of your timeshare so don’t get sucked in by them.
If you’re new to timeshare or unsure about the best place to start, the best thing you can do is get in touch with your local trade or regulatory body.  This may be the British Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau, but really the best people are your local timeshare association or the RDO (Resort Development Organisation). ARDA and TATOC for example are responsible for the USA and UK respectively, providing news and information to its members as well as advice and ensuring the compliance of its members to local legislation. These organisations can provide details of registered resellers bound by legislation who will be able to assist you.

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