Tag Archives: ebay

The Future For Online Financial Stuff Is Here

The future is here..well, it’s next door in the U.S.  I deal with one of the smaller U.S. banks out of Florida. When I called last week, it was the usual: Name, account number, phone access pass code, address, and verify the last transaction in your account. The usual 200 step process to verify identity. But then, the lady asked me if I wanted voiceprint access. Yes! She simply took a recording of my voice into her computer and from now on: No more identity questions! The computer recognizes my voice and that’s all they need. Love it, love it!

Setting up online access at Canada Revenue Agency isn’t easy. It’s actually a multi-step process. You need to enter your personal information, and then some trick questions from last year’s tax return that only you would actually know. Then you’ll need to call their Winnipeg Tax Office to answer some more questions based on your last return. At that point, they’ll send you a code to enter and you’re set up. The first thing I did when I had them on the phone is to thank them for all that security. The guy was a little surprised, but if you’ve heard any of the I.R.S. horror stories from the U.S. you’d be thankful, too, as the IRS lost $21 billion to fraud last year.

Finally, get ready for something called two-step authentication. In the old days, or now ending days, you just needed to log in with your user name and password. That’s rapidly changing to add a second step to verify it’s you and not a hacker. The second step will be to send you a text on your phone, or an email with a code number that you need to enter. It’s already the law with Amazon for sellers, and will be for banks, Ebay, and many others. When you enter that second step, it’ll let you into your account. You can tell the system to “keep” this number if you’re always at your same computer. However, when you do a clean up on it, you’ll need to get a new access code again.

It’s a bit of a pain, but in the big picture of financial accounts, or companies where you can spend money online, and who have your credit card information, it’s well worth it!

I Really Hope You Like Your Timeshare

In early December, a buddy from the Island had a post on her Facebook page: Hurray – I have my vacation lined up for the next ten years at a really great deal. My heart just stopped when I read that, because my buddy had purchased a timeshare.

I sent her a note that I hoped she was within the 48 hour cancellation period and that she should run, not walk, to a lawyer to try to get out of it. No such luck – she’s an owner, and that’s not a good thing.

If you own a timeshare, I really, really, hope you enjoy it and use it each year. Unfortunately, the resale market for timeshare is non-existent, and won’t be back in our lifetime. There used to be a saying in the business that there was one buyer for every 1,000 sellers. That now has to be one buyer for every 100,000 sellers. It’s also the reason why one of the worlds’ largest hotel chains took their timeshare division and cut it loose last year, and got it off their financial statement and stock.

If you want proof, go to Ebay.com and you’ll quickly get an idea of what I’m talking about. Here are some current timeshare listings for sale:

Grand Cayman for $77, Maui for $199, Foxrun in North Carolina for $50, and Colorado at Copper Mountain for $2. It gets better if you think that $200 or even $2 is too expensive. Here are a few random ones I wrote down, each for one dollar: Cabo in Mexico, Oceanfront at Cocoa Beach Florida, Orlando and even at Whistler, BC.

Even at a buck, people cannot give them away. Why? Because you will be charged the $600 to $1200 annual maintenance fee forever and ever, and often other charges. That’s not even counting the tens of thousands of people who still owe money on their timeshare and thus can’t even give them away without writing the cheque to pay off the balance. And that’s easier said than done when timeshares run $5,000 to $15,000 for a week. While getting it for a buck may seem like a good idea, look at hotel prices in these resorts, first, and you’ll find that you can get a four star hotel for less money than the timeshare.

Of course, what happens when tens of thousands of desperate people want to unload something at all cost? The scammsters show up – and there are dozens. Anyone promising to help you to sell your timeshare with money up front is scamming you and lying to you – period. Just google timeshare sales scams and you can read all about the various angles where they promise to guarantee your sale.

Hopefully, you really enjoy your timeshare, or give it friends and family to use. If so, carry on, because the only possible way to dispose of it is to go to the resort and chat up a bunch of your fellow time share members who are there the same week. Those are the only people who may be interested in buying a second week.