TALLAHASSEE, FL (October 6, 2011) ––Attorney General Pam Bondi on Oct. 4 joined Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) and Representative Eric Eisnaugle (R-Orlando) to unveil a legislative initiative that will protect consumers from timeshare resale fraud, the number one complaint that the Attorney General’s Office has received for the past two years. The bill strengthens existing laws by addressing unfair and deceptive marketing and advertising practices by timeshare resale companies. From January 2011 to date, the Attorney General’s Office has received nearly 6,863 complaints. In 2010, the Attorney General’s Office received more than 12,000 complaints about timeshare resale fraud— more than the next four highest complaint categories combined.
“Florida is home to millions of timeshare periods that consumers purchase. We cannot allow unscrupulous individuals to mislead and defraud our consumers who are attempting to sell their timeshares, many of whom have invested their life savings into their dream vacation homes,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi.
“I am proud to stand with the Attorney General to introduce legislation that will further protect consumers who purchase timeshare properties in Florida and later lose their money due to fraudulent resale practices,” stated Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner.
“Timeshare properties are a vital part of Florida’s tourism and resort industry. People who purchase these properties should be protected from the misleading and deceptive practices being used by dishonest timeshare resale companies,” said Representative Eric Eisnaugle.
The most common complaints include: false claims that a specific buyer is ready to buy or rent the property once the consumer signs a contract; deceptive claims that property will sell or rent within a certain time; failure to honor stated-cancellation policies, including refunds of fees; and misrepresentations of the actual services provided to consumers.
The proposed legislation includes the following provisions:
- A timeshare resale advertiser may not misrepresent a pre-existing interest in the owner’s timeshare.
- A timeshare resale advertiser may not mislead a customer as to the success rate of the advertiser’s sales.
- A timeshare resale advertiser may not provide brokerage or direct sale services.
- A timeshare resale advertiser must honor a cancellation request made within 7 days following a signed agreement.
- A timeshare resale advertiser must provide a full refund by a timeshare owner within 20 days of a valid cancellation request.
- A timeshare resale advertiser must not collect any payment or engage in any resale advertising activities until the timeshare owner delivers a signed written agreement for the services.
- A timeshare resale advertiser must also provide a full disclosure statement printed in bold type, with no smaller than a 12-point font, and printed immediately preceding the space provided for the timeshare owner’s signature.
- A timeshare advertising agreement must be put in writing.
- A company who violates these provisions has committed a violation of the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act with a penalty not to exceed $15,000 per violation.
Media Contact: Jennifer Krell Davis
Phone: (850) 245-0150
SOURCE: Florida Office of the Attorney General