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Readers ask about timeshare businesses

Posted by: Jane Friedmann under Advertising claims, Buyer beware, Scams, Whistleblower Updated: June 4, 2013 - 5:39 PM

Recent articles by Whistleblower about timeshare resale scams has prompted a fair amount of requests for information on specific companies that have recently contacted readers.

One woman, Sharon, said "I'm involved right now with a possible timeshare scam that I've been dealing with for three months with Mexico."

Whistleblower left a message advising her to pay nothing further and file complaints with Attorney General Lori Swanson's office and the Better Business Bureau. She should also file a complaint with the attorney general's office in the state in which the business is allegedly located.

Another woman, Christina, wondered about a California company, Isosceles Foundation, which contacted her recently about removing her timeshare's maintenance fee. "He was so persistent and so pushy. 'Well, why would you want to pay the maintenance fees,' he asked."

Christina was suspicious of the offer because she said her Hawaii timeshare resort doesn't hold contracts with third parties. The Better Business Bureau's listing for the company has temporarily been removed. 

A couple, Mavis and Byron, asked if Whistleblower knows anything about a Florida company called Timeshares by Owner.

It appears the state of Florida filed suit against the company in 2010 after it received many complaints that the company was not complying with terms of an earlier settlement with the state.

The Office of the Attorney General of Florida included the following in a press release in 2010:

"The lawsuit naming Timeshares Direct, Inc., which does business as Timeshares By Owner, alleges that the company is in violation of a 2001 settlement with the Attorney General’s Office. According to that settlement, the company was prohibited from using misleading sales tactics, such as claiming to have a buyer waiting to purchase the consumer’s timeshare, to induce consumers into advertising their timeshares with the company. Since 2007, the Attorney General’s Office has received more than 180 consumer complaints alleging that Timeshares By Owner is not honoring conditions of the settlement."

In May 2012, Timeshares by Owner's website announced that the suit was settled with no finding of wrongdoing:

"Timeshares By Owner®, the nation’s leading timeshare advertising company for sale and for rent by owner, is pleased to announce the resolution of its pending matter with the Florida Attorney General. The Settlement Agreement states that there is no finding that there has been any wrongdoing by Timeshares By Owner®," the website said.

The actual settlement does admit it is a resolution of a disputed case, but it bans the company from 11 specific deceptive acts, including calling people on the do-not-call list and making misrepresentations to consumers.

The company has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau and the bureau has received 279 complaints about the company in the past three years.

 

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