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Resale ripoff

Companies that offer to resell your timeshare may sound like a sure thing, but thousands of customers say they were ripped off. And state officials have done little to stop it.

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Ace Timeshare

Company details

Opened on: Sept. 9, 2005

Closed on: Sept. 24, 2010

Location: 7737 72nd Ave. N, Pinellas Park, 33781

Better Business Bureau rating: F

Business website: Inactive

Company history

Ace Timeshare

Started in 2005 by Jack McGivern, Ace Timeshare operated out of an office in an industrial lot surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. In 2010, just before the company shut down, Ace had 22 salespeople, 11 with criminal records, state licensing records show. One salesman had been convicted of grand theft and fraud.

The Attorney General's Office has received 101 complaints against the company. Many allege that Ace salespeople promised an aggressive marketing strategy, collected an upfront fee and then never contacted them again.

At left, the company's location at 7737 72nd Ave. N in Pinellas Park.
JIM DAMASKE | Times

Actions against this business

Fined $3,000 by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in March 2010 for having customers sign a contract that had not been approved by the state, as required.

 

Officer

Name: Jack McGivern , owner

McGivern says his company offered legitimate advertising. He closed it in 2010, he said, after the Attorney General's Office started an investigation.

"A percentage of them did sell," he said of his company's listings. "I didn't get into the business to break the law."

McGivern is also a musician, and plays guitar and steel drums at events throughout the area. His stage name is "Lightning Jack."

Customer complaints

Ace Timeshare, Inc. has generated 101 consumer complaints to the Florida Attorney General's Office since 2009. Search a database of Pinellas and Hillsborough county companies that have been listed in two or more complaints to the Florida Attorney General.

List of all the companies in this report

How we did this story

The Tampa Bay Times started investigating the timeshare resale industry in June 2011.

The newspaper reviewed more than 2,000 consumer complaints against Tampa Bay area companies and tracked down their offices across two counties in an attempt to interview owners and employees.

The Times interviewed more than 100 people, including company employees, victims and government officials who oversee or investigate timeshare resale companies. It also reviewed thousands of pages of court documents and licensing records and closely examined the criminal histories of employees at more than a dozen local resale companies with customer complaints.

The complaints reviewed are those recorded by the state Attorney General's Office, which operates a fraud "hotline" and accepts and categorizes complaints that come in by phone, email and letter.

Contact reporter Will Hobson to suggest further timeshare resale story ideas.

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