Montpelier, VT (July 3, 2010) — Timeshare Relief, Inc., a Torrance, California, company, will offer over $91,000 in consumer refunds and pay $50,000 to the State of Vermont to settle claims that it violated Vermont law in three different ways in arranging for the repurchase of timeshares. Commenting on the settlement, the second of its kind in the past eight months, Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell again warned out-of-state companies offering a financial benefit to Vermonters not to violate the State’s consumer laws, or “they will find that doing so is an expensive proposition.”
On eight occasions between 2007 and 2010, representatives of Timeshare Relief came to Burlington to solicit consumers to transfer ownership of their unused timeshares and thus relieve the owners of timeshare maintenance fees, taxes and other costs. The company advertised these meetings with a mailing that invited Vermonters to find out about the “Guaranteed Timeshare Relief Solution.” A number of consumers who met with Timeshare Relief understood the invitation to mean that the company would offer to pay them for their timeshares; in fact, they had to pay several hundred to several thousand dollars to transfer ownership of their timeshares. The Attorney General considered this to be a deceptive trade practice.
In addition, many of the consumers were also given a “Financial Benefits Worksheet” that indicated that they might be eligible for a tax deduction as an offset against their payment to Timeshare Relief, when in fact such a deduction is available only in those rare cases where the primary reason for buying the timeshare was for investment. The Attorney General also claimed this to be a deceptive trade practice.
In addition, through June 2008, Timeshare Relief did not comply with the requirement of Vermont law that whenever goods or services are sold at a transient location like a hotel, the buyer must be given specified notice of his or her right to cancel the transaction.
Under the settlement, Timeshare Relief will:
- Offer those 28 of its customers who did not receive proper notice of their right to cancel an opportunity to cancel the transaction within ten business days and get all of their money back. Letters to this effect will be sent out in the next month, and Timeshare Relief will pay up to $84,000 under this provision.
- Send to another 28 customers a check in the amount of $250 to compensate them for the time and money they spent traveling to attend the company’s presentation.
- Pay the State of Vermont $50,000 in civil penalties and costs.
For more information on the settlement, please contact Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5507
SOURCE: Office of the Attorney General of Vermont