TAMPA - Tough economic times forced countless consumers to put their time shares on the market. Now the Attorney Gerneral's office is investigating dozens of companies accused of time-share resale fraud.
Times were good when Mary Lou Iannucci bought a little piece of paradise in South Carolina. A disability left Iannucci desperate to recoup her $14,000. "So I've got a lot of money invested in this and now that I am on disability. It hurts," Iannucci says.
She forked over hundreds of dollars to a company she says promised to sell her time-share. "I am out around $800, and right now I just really can't afford it."
One year later, Mary Lou claims she can't even get her phone calls returned.
She has lots of company.
"It is really a problem in Florida. We get complaints every month from time-share resellers," says Kevin Jackson with Hillsborough County Consumer Protection.
Jackson warns the sales pitch to market your time share often contains false claims. "If they have a buyer, great. Let's sell the time share and take their commission at the end. Then you are not guaranteeing them any money up front."
More than 8,500 consumers have filed time-shares resale related complaints with the Attorney General's office since January. Which is why the Attorney General's office, along with consumer protection agencies all over the state, are warning consumers eager to unload vacation properties.
"If they want money up front, don't deal with them at all. That is the lesson I learned," said Iannucci. Had she checked the company's record, she would have found 123 other consumers had also filed a complaint against the same company.
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