As more and more owners are trying to get out of their timeshare contracts every year, the incidences of scams are also increasing in this industry. But the authorities are determined to combat such issue. Just like in Florida, three companies were sued last Tuesday while four others were issued subpoenas. All of these companies are accused of luring customers into paying upfront fees for advertising of their timeshares. The sellers were then told companies already had buyers lined up to buy their timeshares. But when the properties didn't sell in the amount of time the company promised they would, customers could not get refunds.
The suits and subpoenas issued are the latest in a series of attacks on the industry by the Florida Attorney General's Office. Over the past year, there were a total of 10 timeshare resellers which have been sued and 60 are under investigation. In the US, Florida is considered the concentration of timeshare properties. According to the American Resort Development Association or ARDA, about a quarter of the country's timeshare resorts are in this state.
The lawsuits were filed against Timeshares Direct, International Marketing and Finance Group, and Gold Crown Property Management. Meanwhile, the subpoenas were issued to Eclipse Property Solutions of St. Petersburg, Super Timeshare Resales of Tampa, International Resort Properties of New Port Richey and Ace Timeshare of Pinellas Park for information about sales and business practices, copies of contracts, licenses, marketing materials, telephone transcripts, the identity of affiliate businesses and other documents.
Currently, the attorney general's office is working with the Federal Trade Commission, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and local law enforcement to combat fraud regarding vacation properties such as timeshares. So far, customers have been repaid about $1.8 million.