Consumers lured into paying in advance to sell or rent their property
The Federal Trade Commission has charged the operators of a timeshare reselling scheme with bilking at least $15 million dollars from timeshare property owners by imposing hefty up-front fees based on false promises that they would sell or rent their properties.
At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily halted the operation and froze the defendants’ assets pending litigation. The agency seeks to permanently stop the allegedly illegal practices and return money to consumers.
According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants telemarket to timeshare property owners and falsely claim that they have a buyer or renter ready and willing to buy or rent their properties for a specified price, or they promise to sell the timeshares quickly, sometimes within a specified time period.
The defendants charge property owners as much as $2,500 or more in advance but fail to deliver on their promises, the FTC alleged. The FTC noted in the complaint that the defendants string some owners along with additional false claims, such as that they will soon send them money from a sale or rental, and often get them to pay extra for purported closing costs or other fees. Consumers’ requests for refunds are typically denied or ignored, according to the complaint.
The defendants are Jess Kinmont, John P. Wenz, Jr., Pro Timeshare Resales of Flagler Beach LLC, Pro Timeshare Resales LLC, and J. William Enterprises LLC, doing business as Pro Timeshare Resales. They are charged with violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, including calling numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry.
The Commission vote approving the complaint was 3-0. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants on December 13, 2016.