TALLAHASSEE, FL (March 7, 2013) — Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has sued four Central Florida timeshare resale companies for alleged deceptive and unfair trade practices. According to the lawsuits, A1 Marketing Unlimited, Access Travel Network, Inc., International Timeshare Exchange/Network, and Travel Buy Owner/CFL Ventures acted as telemarketers and used false promises to entice consumers to pay between $400 and $2,500 in up-front fees for advertising services to sell or rent their timeshares.
The Attorney General’s Office obtained immediate orders enjoining International Timeshare Exchange/Network, Travel Buy Owner/CFL Ventures, and the companies’ owners from operating the businesses and participating in any further timeshare resale activities. Further, the Attorney General’s Office obtained orders freezing the companies’ assets in an effort to preserve them for future consumer restitution.
“Making false promises and charging up-front fees for timeshare resales are blatant violations of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Floridians should report this activity to my office immediately.”
The lawsuits against A1 Marketing Unlimited and Access Travel Network, Inc. also seek court orders prohibiting the companies from violating Florida law and requiring the companies to pay restitution to consumers. Additionally, the companies could be required to pay civil penalties of up to $15,000 for each violation.
According to the complaints, the companies allegedly solicited hundreds of consumers nationwide via the Internet and through telemarketing calls, making empty promises and misrepresenting to consumers that they actively matched sellers with prospective buyers. The companies allegedly requested up-front fees to advertise consumers’ timeshares and services were never rendered.
Some of the alleged deceptive practices used by the companies include:
- The companies made false representations to consumers promising to sell their timeshares within a short time period;
- The companies claimed to have buyers waiting with approved financing;
- The companies offered full refunds for their services, but they never provided the refunds;
- The companies made misrepresentations of the contract terms; and
- The companies charged consumers credit cards or cashed consumers’ checks without obtaining a signed written contract from the consumer.
In 2010, the Attorney General’s Office received more than 12,000 timeshare resale fraud complaints. After Attorney General Bondi’s Timeshare Resale Accountability Act passed, timeshare resale fraud complaints decreased to approximately 3,700 in 2012. Follow this link to read more about Attorney General Bondi’s efforts to combat timeshare resale fraud: http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/EC5743A729C962188525791B006A54E9
Timeshare owners are encouraged to follow these tips when attempting to rent or sell their timeshares:
- Do not pay up-front fees;
- Be wary of too-good-to-be-true claims when it comes to selling your timeshare; and
- Deal only with licensed real estate brokers if you are doing more than just advertising your timeshare.
Follow this link for more tips on how consumers can protect themselves from timeshare resale fraud: http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/main/9161973ee14fdb1a85256cc900600947!OpenDocument
Consumers who wish to file a complaint regarding a possible timeshare resale scam can do so by visiting the Attorney General’s website at MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling the fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.