Bondi, lawmakers go after timeshare fraudstersby Dara Kam | October 4th, 2011
Saying she’s fighting for consumers, Attorney General Pam Bondi asked lawmakers to help her tighten Florida laws to protect vacationers – especially the elderly – from timeshare resale scammers.
The scam involves timeshare resale marketers promising timeshare owners that they’ve already got a buyer, getting a deposit for their “brokering” services, keeping the money – and disappearing, Bondi said.
“That has got to stop,” she said.
So far this year, Bondi said her office has received nearly 7,000 complaints about the timeshare resales – more than the number of all other consumer-related complaints combined.
The most common complaints include false claims that the marketer has a specific buyer ready to purchase or rent the timeshare; unkept promises that the property would be rented within a certain period of time; and failure to honor cancellation policies, Bondi said.
The bill, still in the works, will be sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, and has the support of the AARP.
Bondi said the state’s unfair and deceptive marketing and advertising laws need strenghtening to help prosecute the fraudsters.
The bill will likely include provisions restricting timeshare resale advertisers from:
- saying that they have a buyer if they don’t;
- misleading a customer about their sales success rate;
- acting as brokers for actual timeshare sales.
And the bill will also give sellers the opportunity to cancel their contracts with the advertisers within seven days.