Q. What do I look for in an eBay seller. How do I know they are legit?
A. So you’ve done your research on what you want to buy, and how much you want to buy, correct? You also looked at the completed listings to get an idea of what similar contracts are going for and who pays the fees, correct? If not, you’ll want to start there before diving into eBay sellers. Buying on eBay can be rewarding if you do your research first. If you buy too few points, or a high maintenance fee resort, you likely be disappointed. Focus research on one area of buying at a time, and your diligence and patience will be rewarded. Plus, once you know what you want, it will narrow down the choices on eBay, so it’s less daunting.
When researching sellers, feedback is important, but not the only area you want to consider. There are two reasons for this. First, not everyone leaves feedback. Of the buyers who do leave feedback, many like to wait until the transaction is completed entirely before leaving feedback. The problem is, Wyndham can take months to complete their part of the transfer. For me, when I buy resale, I wait until the paperwork is in Wyndham’s hands, and Wyndham confirms they have everything they need. After that, it’s out of the seller’s hands. If they get it that far, they’ve done their part, minus the notification that it’s complete. I feel comfortable leaving feedback at that point. Any good seller will have a closing company that gets it all done promptly. Not everyone feels the same, so they don’t leave feedback. That doesn’t help other buyers. The second reason is that the feedback rating you see is for both buying and selling. So, someone could have 100% positive feedback on 1,000 reviews, but 997 of them are as the buyer and not a seller. You have to dive a bit deeper into their feedback. Click on their feedback rating.
Click “Search Seller feedback”. NOTE: On your mobile device, you will have to click “See all feedback”. Then click the “Filter: All” in the Upper left-hand corner. Choose “Filter As Seller: All”
From there, you will see a list of feedback. Is there a lot, or only a little? Does it seem like the buyer feedback is what gives them a high rating, and not the seller feedback? In other words, is there significantly more buyer feedback then seller feedback? Also, when looking at the feedback, be sure to look to see what the auctions were for. If you see a lot of Hilton, and very few Wyndham, it’s possible they are not as versed in Wyndham’s procedures as someone who has more Wyndham listings. It would be like buying a Toyota at a Chevy dealership. They are both cars, but they operate differently in some places. You want someone who seems to know what they are doing. If they make mistakes, they can drag out the transfer process. One of the biggest problems is deeds being recorded incorrectly, or the transfer fee check is not there. Those can add weeks or months to the process.
Search for other reviews
You can also use the Wyndham Facebook groups to look for reviews on the seller. Use the search feature to search for the eBay seller’s name.
View from a desktop computer
View from a mobile device
There is also google. You can google the eBay ID, and see what comes up. There may be reviews on other forums, or on BBB. You might even come across a news article or two. There are also forums like TUG where users review sellers. Once you have finished your research on your seller, ask what your gut is telling you. It may seem like an amazing deal, but if something doesn’t feel right, skip it. There will always be more. You just have to be patient. If you feel confident about a specific seller, reach out to them and ask for estoppel. The estoppel should confirm what they have listed in the listing. The maintenance fees and the number of points should match on both. Also, it will tell you if there is a loan balance. If something doesn’t match, ask. Ask any questions of the seller about the auction too. If the seller is quick to respond to your questions, that’s a good sign. If they are slow to respond, that’s what you can expect during the closing process, slow responses. It’s up to you if you can tolerate it.
Word of caution
Now, it’s entirely possible, even though all your research says a seller is a good one, it could turn out they are not so good. It could be fake reviews, or it could be something that happened within the company that caused issues. Maybe they were stellar and then went downhill. Maybe they lost the person who handles the deed recording. Maybe the owner fired a bunch of people. I did a bad eBay deal once (out of 6 eBay deals). Two months had passed, and there was no recorded deed and very little communication. I left numerous voice mails, sent numerous emails, and messages through eBay. Their feedback rating went down after I had purchased it. I wasn’t the only one having issues apparently. I was lucky that I could file a dispute with my credit card company. I was within the deadline to file a dispute. I got my money back, but some people didn’t. For that reason, pay with your credit card if possible. Try to avoid PayPal, who offers no protections for timeshare sales. Make sure you know the deadline for filing a dispute. If you have a 90-day window, and 45 days have passed with no deed, and you’ve had no communication, try reaching out one more time and let them know you will be filing a credit card dispute. If they come back and say they will put a priority on it, let them know they have one week. If there is no recorded deed sent to you in email, you will file a dispute. If a week passes, don’t bother calling again. File a dispute. Let your credit card company deal with them. If they call you and ask for another chance, don’t agree unless the credit card company agrees to hold open your dispute until the transaction ends. If you close the dispute, you could lose the ability to file another one and get your money back. That’s what they are hoping for if you give them another chance. Don’t fall for it. Keep the credit card company in the loop.
Other third-party venues
Sites like Timeshare Nation specialize in free timeshares. I see Wyndham points pop up a couple of times a month. Sometimes CWA points. I got a Margaritaville contract for free from them. If you find something you like, act fast. I knew an owner who took the time to talk to his wife and lost it in the process. He was able to pick up another one later, so it worked out. RedWeek is another good one. Wyndham also has “Preapproved” resellers which they’ve already vetted. The prices on some of them were not bad. You can probably get them cheaper on eBay, but you pay extra for the peace of mind knowing a major company endorses them. Wyndham would not knowingly endorse a scam company. They did the vetting process for you. Those companies are Timeshare Broker Associates and Fidelity Real Estate.
I hope I was able to give you a few things to consider that you have not already. I also hope I didn’t scare you off from resale. Many people are very happy with the resale process, myself included. As you read, eBay isn’t the only place to find resale, but it’s the best place to start because you can compare previously sold listings to get an idea on what is a fair price. Sort of like what real estate agents do when they estimate the value of your house. They look at similar properties in your area that sold recently. You can often find your best deals there. Trusting your gut is the most important part of the resale buying process. Listen to it. There is nothing worse than giving your money to a complete stranger and them running off with it. Taking the time to do your research and trusting your gut will pay off in the end. Good luck!