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What We’re Reading – "Feds Halt Timeshare Scheme That Bilked $15 Million From Property Owners"

What We're Reading - "Feds Halt Timeshare Scheme That Bilked $15 Million From Property Owners" (Source: pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

The timeshare resale market has long been rife with scammers looking to make a quick buck on desperate consumers. Fortunately, some important watchdogs have recently taken a big action against one particular scheme – one that has allegedly taken as much as $15 million from timeshare property owners.

As Ashlee Kieler reports for Consumerist, the FTC has received a temporary federal court order against “Pro Timeshare Resales of Flagler Beach, Pro Timeshare Resales LLC, Pro Timeshare Resales, and their operators,” who allegedly bilked consumers by “imposing hefty up-front fees based on false promises they would sell or rent properties” on the consumer’s behalf.

 

According to the complaint, these organizations would start by making unsolicited telemarketing calls to consumers. During these calls, Kieler writes,

“the operators falsely claimed that they had a buyer or renter ready and were willing to buy or rent properties for a specific price, alluding that the sale would occur within a few days or months.

Once a customer shows interest in the process, the companies charged them up-front fees ranging from $500 to $2,500. The company then informed customers they would receive a contract for the sale through email that should be signed and immediately returned.

However, the complaint states that the contract had nothing to do with the sale or rental of the property, but simply allows the company to advertise the property for rent or sale.”

According to the FTC, the companies frequently continued to bait consumers with “false promises” of imminent sales; in certain cases, Kieler notes, agents even persuaded some consumers to send more money for closing costs or other fees.

Of course, these businesses never actually sold or rented the properties, according to the FTC, and customer complaints and requests for refunds fell upon deaf ears.

As a result of the FTC’s actions, the defendant’s actions are temporarily halted and their assets frozen.

“Now,” Kieler notes, “the agency seeks to permanently stop the companies’ illegal practices and return money to consumers.”

The best way to avoid falling victim to this classic scam? Be vigilant! Never send money upfront without thoroughly vetting the prospective organization online and with state and local consumer protection agencies. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney for guidance, and remember the golden rule of the timeshare industry – if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For more on this case, we encourage you to read the full article over at Consumerist.

Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns. 


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