TAMPA - Gibbs Wilson and his wife, owners of Alpha Omega Tile in Tampa, were hooked into a time share deal with an Orlando company because of the exchange options in the contract.
"The salesman opened up a brochure, showed us a particular four star hotel in Europe, and said you could stay there for a week," Wilson said.
"But when we were trying to book the hotel, for 50,000 points you could not even stay two nights."
Wilson then turned to his contract, and found that it did not include any fine print on the point limitations. He claims that the paperwork the company sent over later did not contain his signature. "At this point, they have offered to give 2/3 of the money back, and we will take that for now," Wilson said.
The Wilson's have plenty of company. The Attorney General's office and the Better Business Bureau report that complaints over exchange or point issues are common when dealing with time shares.
"It is sort of representative of what could happen to anyone," Wilson said.
"The time share business is an enormous business, and the biggest challenge is finding out what the value in dollars of the points that they are selling is."
Before signing your money away on what seems like a good deal, it is important to know all of the numbers, to ask a lot of questions, and to be willing to walk away if the company does not put everything in writing.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and the Attorney General's office handle time share complaints and provide mediation.