What is a shill?

what is a shill

Have you ever heard the word “shill”? It may be that this is brand new to you, but we can assure you that you’ll have seen at least one shill at work either in person or online. If you read forums or reviews you will definitely have come across their work (in varying degrees of quality, we would estimate).

Internet shills

The internet has changed so much about our lives, for better and worse, and few things have been so affected as the way we buy goods and services. It is in this area which shills so greatly excel. Shills are, generally speaking, people who partake in a scam in order to pull victims in or to generate urgency in consumers. This is no different on the internet except that shills online are generally paid to leave reviews or comments which make a certain product or company look good, or alternatively bring down the reputation of the competition.

The evolution of shills

The word, and the tradition, comes from the “shillabers” which were paid by the circuses to mingle with the crowds upon arrival. They would listen to the ringmasters speech and, once it was done, then rush to buy a ticket in order to give a sense of urgency to the “real” customers who would often rush behind them. You might also find that shills are in open auctions today; placed to drive up prices.

How can you distinguish a genuine commenter?

Judging the sincerity of a shill is somewhat of a fine and subtle art which only gets more difficult if the shill in question is a skilled writer. One way in which you can check if a comment was posted by a shill is to copy and paste it into a Google search to see if it has been left elsewhere with different company name. Shills are paid per review or comment, and so they often re-use pieces to up their profit margin and save time. This is very common if they’re switching out a company name to complain and recommend a solution.

Have you experienced the effects of a shill on line or elsewhere? Please share your thoughts.

Related article: Online Scams to Beware

The Villa Group Timeshare

Villa Group timeshare cancun

If you are thinking about buying a Villa Group timeshare,  it is wise to take a little time to research the timeshare developer you are planning to buy from.

Who is The Villa Group Timeshare?

The Villa Group is a reputable timeshare developer with resorts in Mexico that has proven itself time and again to deliver quality products at great prices. The company has been in the business for nearly three decades and look set to continue to be leaders in the timeshare property market in Mexico for decades to come.

Is The Villa Group Timeshare trustworthy?

With such a great track record and excellent reputation, any timeshare purchase with The Villa Group will be bona fide and above board. The only thing you need to worry about is choosing the property that suits your vacation needs. As is the case will all long standing companies, buying with The Villa Group will ensure you avoid any timeshare scams or deliberate frauds.

Does The Villa Group Timeshare have a best practice policy?

In terms of The Villa Group’s best practice rules, the company is very active in its self assessment and monitoring of sales staff. The Villa Group timeshare division has very strict guidelines for staff members and how they deal with potential buyers in an attempt to safeguard its reputation and combat the bad press that timeshare so regularly receives. The company prides itself on the fact that their exceptional products sell themselves. Therefore, if you are not happy with how you have been treated by a Villa Group timeshare associate, you should contact the company immediately.

Why buy a timeshare from The Villa Group?

When you buy a timeshare with The Villa Group you are guaranteed an apartment in one of Mexico’s top beach vacation destinations. The Villa Group has nine resorts in destinations such as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun and the Islands of Loreto. Owing to the fact that The Villa Group has so much experience and expertise developing timeshare resorts, you will enjoy the very best accommodations in resorts that have the finest facilities, such as world class spas, gourmet restaurants, large pools and other amenities.

Will my investment be safe?

You can also be sure that your investment is safe with The Villa Group Timeshare. This long standing company is here to stay and its resorts are well established throughout Mexico. You and your family will be enjoying your timeshare for years to come.

The Villa Group Resorts by locations:


Types of Timeshare Gifts

To entice you to go to a timeshare presentation or tour, most developers will offer some kind of incentive or free gift. These gifts can be all sorts of things, from discounted tickets, money, vouchers, wine and so on. While it is common to receive some kind of freebie, you should beware of companies that offer over the top gifts as you may find you will be paying the price of the privilege of receiving them in some way!

Signs of a Scam

There is a common saying in the industry that you can smell a timeshare scam a mile away by the gift. Generally, the most popular and genuine timeshare developers are pretty secure about the product they are selling and therefore the gift reflects this position. They do not need to “bribe” people to visit the property and you will find that the chance to visit the resort and enjoy a free breakfast is often enough to entice most people to some of the best timeshare resorts.

If you are asked to pay something towards receiving your gift, such as taxes, delivery or a permit, then you should think very carefully about accepting the gift and certainly avoid buying the timeshare property.

Genuine Timeshare Incentives

A reputable timeshare developer selling a great property will usually be pretty conservative about lavishing gifts on its visitor, secure in the knowledge that simply visiting the resort will be a pleasurable experience. Usually the gifts offered are more realistic and less likely to be used to make you feel guilty about not buying a timeshare unit. Common incentives are discounted tickets for local activities, car hire, restaurant vouchers or a free breakfast at the resort. Nowadays, timeshare companies are less likely to offer cash incentives, although some some still do, but that is usually at the discretion of the timeshare promoter or OPC.


Benefits of Buying from an Established Timeshare Company

Purchasing your first timeshare can be both a daunting and exciting prospect, it is an opportunity for you to invest in your families’ memories and quality time. However, it can be a minefield out there with so many companies to choose from. It can be difficult to know which companies are legitimate, which ones offer the best deals and more importantly, which ones deliver what they promise.

As a general rule, it will save you a lot of money, worry and time when you buy from an established company with a reputation you can verify. It doesn’t take two seconds to make a quick internet search to see who are the real deal and who are the scams and frauds. Unfortunately, the bad press that timeshare receives originates from deliberate timeshare scams, leaving legitimate companies the hard task of protecting their good name.

The great thing about dealing with established companies is that your can notice the difference straight away, from your first contact with staff, whether on the telephone, in the airport or on the street. They will be polite and friendly and not too pushy. Sellers who are promoting quality products let the timeshare speak for themselves, there is no need for lies.

Long standing companies can also offer you their great experience in developing resorts in areas that are on their way up in the market. If a company has been in the business for years, they really know what they are looking for. By the third resort, you can pretty much guarantee a timeshare company has thought of everything their customers want in order to experience a fabulous vacation year in year out.

One of the complaints about timeshare is that sometimes inexperienced sellers will promote owning a timeshare as a financial investment. The reality is that when you buy a timeshare you are investing in your memories and quality of your vacations rather than likely to make huge returns on your investment. Nevertheless, no one wants their timeshare to devalue, and with established timeshare companies you can be sure that your investment is safe.

Another very important advantage of purchasing a timeshare from a company with a long reputable history is that you will be able to exchange your timeshare units for other destinations within the same timeshare group.

Timeshares and the Myths that Surround Them

Many people will try and put you off buying a timeshare, and usually they are also the same kind of people who would never go to a timeshare presentation or actually do any kind of research into the benefits of owning a timeshare.

Below are just some of the myths that people will try and sell you to put you off buying your dream second home.

1: Inflexible

One of the commonly quoted disadvantages of timeshare is that you have to go to the same place every year during the same week. For some, this is a reason not to invest, while for many that is precisely what they want. Guaranteeing accommodation that you can call your own during peak times (holidays, summer vacations etc) can be a great advantage. However, what most people overlook is the fact that modern timeshares schemes are actually much more flexible allowing you to be able to exchange both location and dates, according to your membership privileges.

2: A Waste of Money

A frequent excuse for not buying a timeshare is that it is not a good investment. Those people just see the initial cost of the timeshare as too expensive rather than considering the figures and how you will eventually save yourself money on vacation accommodations. You also have to think about value for money and the fact that you get a much more luxurious property than you would be able to afford in other circumstances.

3: A Financial Risk

One step ahead of being a waste of money is the myth that buying a timeshare is risky. The key here is the bad press provoked by timeshare scams that deliberately aim to rip off innocent people. If, however, you buy from a reputable company, the risk that you will lose your property to some scam is very limited. With a little research you can easily tell the genuine timeshare companies from the fraudulent scammers.

4: Undisclosed Fees

When you buy with a reputable company, all fees should be clearly stipulated in the contract and also vocalized during your sales interview. Many countries, like Mexico for example have clear regulations about this. You should be made aware of maintenance fees, which are a standard fee for any timeshare. If a seller tells you there are no maintenance fees, then you are probably involved in a timeshare scam and you would be best to verify this in writing.

5: Timeshares are for Old People and Divorcees

A common myth is that there is a particular timeshare type. The reality is that timeshare can suit all kinds of people and is actually especially popular amongst people who have limited vacation time or who are tied to the school vacations. When you buy a timeshare, you are in fact investing in a lifetime of memories, so the earlier you begin taking advantage, the longer you will enjoy regular vacations in your own property.