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Scam Alert

Crackdown Intensifies Against Time-Share Reselling Scams

Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general issue new warnings

Efforts to combat time-share reselling scams have intensified since Scam Alert exposed fast-growing schemes that are preying on desperate owners trying to unload their units.

Since that story, which appeared in the June 2010 issue of the AARP Bulletin and online, the Federal Trade Commission and several state attorney general offices have issued new warnings about the false promises and required upfront fees fueling this trickery.

Responding to the article, hundreds of AARP members wrote in saying that they had been taken in by these schemes—many reporting they lost between $500 and $5,000 after paying upfront fees on the promise that resellers had already secured a buyer. In every case, they report, the reseller took their money but never delivered. Scores of others said they were in the midst of dealing with dubious time-share resellers, and were able to avoid being victimized.

In Florida, where many time-share reselling companies operate, state Attorney General Bill McCollum recently announced new lawsuits against the companies. Currently, there are at least 49 open investigations and nine active lawsuits — three times as many as reported in the Scam Alert story. At least 8,500 consumer complaints have been reported to his office this year.

Meanwhile, AARP has asked the FTC to consider launching a nationwide investigation of time-share resellers, who usually target seniors. Although most time-share resellers solicit customers across the United States, state attorneys general can only bring injunctions that affect their residents or against companies that operate in that state. … Back to Article

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