Defendants Allegedly Did Not Help Consumers Sell Their Timeshare Properties as Promised
A telemarketing operation that allegedly deceived consumers who were trying to sell their timeshare properties is permanently banned from the timeshare resale and rental business, and from all telemarketing, under settlements with the Federal Trade Commission. The case is part of the FTC's ongoing effort to crack down on con artists who use fraud and deception to take advantage of consumers in financial distress.
According to the FTC's complaint against Vacation Property Sellers Inc., Vacation Property Services Inc., Higher Level Marketing Inc., Frank M. Perry, Jr., David S. Taylor, and Albert M. Wilson, the defendants deceived consumers who were trying to sell their timeshare properties into paying an up-front fee ranging from $200 to more than $8,000, claiming they had buyers lined up or would find buyers for consumers' properties. When consumers realized they had been duped, the defendants allegedly ignored their phone calls and denied refund requests. The FTC charged the defendants with misrepresenting their refund policies and the existence of potential buyers, and calling consumers whose phone numbers were on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry.
In addition to the timeshare and telemarketing bans, the settlement order against Perry, Vacation Property Sellers, and Higher Level Marketing prohibits them from misrepresenting material facts about any goods or services, and selling or otherwise benefitting from consumers' personal information. The order imposes a $23.5 million judgment that was suspended when Perry and the companies surrendered almost all of their assets. The settlement order against Taylorcontains the same conduct prohibitions and imposes a $3.7 million judgment, which was suspended based on his inability to pay. The full judgments will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition. Litigation continues against the remaining defendants, Vacation Property Services Inc. and Albert M. Wilson.
To avoid pitfalls when selling a timeshare unit, read the FTC's Selling a Timeshare Through a Reseller: Contract Caveats.
The Commission vote approving the proposed consent order against Perry, Vacation Property Sellers, and Higher Level Marketing was 5-0. The Commission vote approving the proposed consent order against Taylor was 3-1, with Commissioner Rosch voting in the negative. The orders were entered by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, on September 30, 2011, and March 20, 2012, respectively.
NOTE: This consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants that the law has been violated. Consent orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
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