By Eileen AJ Connelly, ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Exchange System
Beyond the hard sell approach, another common complaint from owners is lack of success trying to trade in what they own for time at other resorts.
Gridelli, who volunteers on the Web site Timeshareforums. com, a site for owners to share information and strategies, said you can’t get full value from a timeshare until you learn the ins and outs of exchanging.
Because she has learned how to upgrade what she owns when she exchanges, she’s able to get more vacation time — and knowing the system helps her book the destinations she wants.
Many of the owners she tries to help are unable to get the exchanges they want because they own in locations like Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, where over-saturation has reduced demand for trades. Or they don’t plan far enough in advance and the spots they’re looking for are taken.
Gridelli said it’s up to owners to research the value of different locations before they buy, and learn how to use the exchange system to their advantage. “Unfortunately, you’re not going to get a company to teach you,” she said.
“That free dinner or that free round of golf seems to draw people in, and they purchase things after just a sales presentation. Nobody should do that,” she added. “Would you just walk in and buy a car that way?”