The Attorney General Takes Action Against Fraudulent Companies
Timeshare resale fraud is something all consumers must consider when someone calls them out of the blue. Whether you are in the market to purchase a timeshare on the secondary market or wishing to advertise your timeshare for sale, it is extremely important to research any company that claims they will help you. There are legitimate resale companies that can help you advertise your timeshare, but it is important to determine the difference between a company that can legitimately generate traffic to your advertisement and one that is simply throwing up a web page or making empty promises. To help protect consumers, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is working to investigate complaints of deceptive practices and to suspend those who are deemed to be operating under unlawful terms.
In March of 2013, Bondi’s office sued multiple Florida timeshare resale companies for unfair and deceptive trade practices. These companies included: International Timeshare Exchange/Network, Travel Buy Owner, CFL Ventures, A1 Marketing Unlimited, and Access Travel Network, Inc. These telemarketing companies were found to be guilty of charging consumers up to $2,500 and making false promises to sell their timeshare properties. All companies in Florida are regulated by the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices act to protect consumers from scams.
These four companies were also suspected of violating the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices act by participating in one of the following actions:
Taking payments through check or credit card without written authorization from the customer. If anyone asks for your credit card number before signing a contract, this is a red flag. Before accept this offer OR sign a contract, consult a timeshare attorney to protect your rights under state laws.
Offering a full refund for services but never followed through the promise. If a company offers a money back guarantee, make sure it is included in the signed timeshare contract and there is a mechanism to get your money back. Have a lawyer read the contract before it is executed to ensure that there are no clauses to contradict this, and are provided an adequate remedy that doesn’t mean trying to find them 6 months later.
Promising to owners that their timeshare would sell very quickly. If a company makes the claim that your timeshare will sell in a certain time frame, this is a red flag. Even if they promise a refund if it is not sold by a certain date, have a timeshare lawyer review the clause to make sure that it is enforceable and if they fail to meet their obligation, you can do something about it.
Provided false or misleading contract terms. Providing misleading information about a company’s service is considered false advertising. Always read a timeshare contract thoroughly.If there are any discrepancies between what the contract says and the advertising provided, you need to have an attorney review it to make sure that these concerns are resolved before you sign.
Stated that they have buyers waiting to purchase these timeshares. The Florida Attorney General recommends that if a sales claim seems too good to be true… it probably is. If a company calls you out of the blue promising that your timeshare is “hot” and that they have buyers waiting, they are most likely more interested in your money than actually helping you to properly sell your timeshare.
If these or any false claims were made verbally, they can be extremely hard to prove in a court of law. However, if you feel that you were a victim of a timeshare scam, it is important to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office to help protect future consumers. Timeshare Attorney can also help to review your case.
At this time, both Timeshare Exchange/Network and Travel Buy Owner/CFL Ventures are prohibited from partaking in any timeshare resale or advertising ventures. In addition, both companies’ assets were frozen in hopes to provide some reimbursements to consumers. As for A1 Marketing Unlimited and Access Travel Network, Inc. the state is currently seeking to fine the companies up to $15,000 for each violation and ban them from any future unlawful acts. For more information, click here.
If you are currently exploring the option to sell your timeshare, speaking with an attorney to determine what you can do is the first step in protecting yourself as an owner. Consult a timeshare attorney to decide the best course of action today.