Florida's Attorney General, Bill McCollum, is once again in the news as he leads Florida in another crack down on fraudulent timeshare resale companies. McCollum has unveiled ongoing investigations into at least 17 timeshare companies and their affiliates throughout the state for deceptive trade practices, including action against a major timeshare resale company with what McCollum calls "a significant settlement that could yield as much as $1.3 million in consumer refunds."
"Florida's consumers are trying to make prudent financial decisions," the attorney general noted, "but many timeshare resale companies are blatantly scamming people by promising sales or refunds and failing to provide services even after taking hefty up-front fees."
Timeshare resale complaints have recently surpassed mortgage-related complaints as the most commonly reported consumer complaint received by the Florida State Attorney General Consumer Hotline. The initiative was launched in 2009 in response to the growing number of timeshare resale complaints received by the Attorney General's Office.
Common complaints about these companies include false claims that entice consumers to pay up-front fees. Frequently the company states it already has a buyer in place. Other complaints assert that a company misrepresents the actual services it will provide, fails to honor cancellation policies, and fails to comply with state and federal telemarketing laws.
A recent lawsuit filed by the Attorney General's office is against Resales Buy Owner.com, Inc. The suit contends that the company "engaged in a systematic pattern of deception that improperly induced consumers to pay up-front fees for timeshare resale services that were never provided." Florida's AG office has also announced that their investigation of Virtual, Inc. (doing business as Realty Trade) has resulted in a payment of $800,000 to 799 consumers.
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) suggests that to keep from becoming a victim to fraudulent practices make sure to understand clearly the specific services of the resale company before signing a contract or paying a fee. When in doubt of a company's reputation, ask for references and speak with past sellers.
When looking for a reputable timeshare resale company with a national reputation look no further than Redweek. Redweek has been given an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. In addition, Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president, has been quoted as "highly recommending" Redweek.