Saturday, February 14, 2009

Should we buy into this pitch from Selling Time?

by Tony Levene
The Guardian, Saturday 14 February 2009
Article history
Should we buy into this pitch from Selling Time?

In November we had a phone call from a timeshare sales company called Selling Time, based in Malaga.

It asked if we wanted to sell our timeshare week in Scotland. We said we were interested but only if there was no upfront payment.

This was agreed. A few weeks later we received another call to say it had a buyer for our week - Americans who had paid a 25% deposit. But then it demanded a €1,200 "retainer". Are we right to be suspicious?
KS, Cornwall

The more you told Capital Letters about this, the worse it became.

First, Selling Time inexplicably offered you £5,500, far more than the market value. Then, how did the Americans know about the timeshare, which was not on the market? Why would anyone buy, sight unseen, from a firm previously unknown to you?

What about the complicated Selling Time sales process, involving two contracts and a courier to collect the certificate of ownership?

And finally, there is the upfront €1,200 fee. This is a hefty percentage of the promised price. But you should only pay a fee once the deal is completed and the proceeds safely in your bank account. You know nothing of Selling Time, not even an address or phone number. Selling Time offered another consumer £8,000 for a timeshare worth £4,000. When this seller said no, Selling Time went up to £9,500. Strange.

Last week, the Office of Fair Trading appealed for complaints from timeshare owners who have received unsolicited approaches from people claiming to be resale agents, promising a "guaranteed buyer" and a high above-market value price for unwanted timeshares. The OFT says owners have already lost large sums to bogus timeshare resale companies. You may find the only way Selling Time will "help" you is if you join a so-called "holiday club" or buy another timeshare for an inflated price.

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