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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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CondoTrader.com

Company details

Opened on: May 22, 2002

Location: 4950 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park, 33781

Better Business Bureau rating: F

Business website: http://condo-trader.com/

http://condo-trader.com/

Company history

CondoTrader.com

The Attorney General's Office has received 77 complaints against the company. CondoTrader's website says: "We're proud of our sparkling record with the Better Business Bureau and our endorsement by TRAC, the Timeshare Resale Advisory Council." The company has an F rating with the BBB, and the Timeshare Resale Advisory Council is an organization created by CondoTrader president Bobby Carpenter, according to state records.

At left, the company's location at 4950 Park Blvd. in Pinellas Park.
JIM DAMASKE | Times

Actions against this business

Fined $500 by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in September 2010 for using an unreported website. 

Sued in February 2012 by the Florida Attorney General's Office under the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The case is ongoing.

Officer

Carpenter

Name: Bobby Carpenter, chief executive officer

Carpenter canceled a scheduled interview with the Tampa Bay Times because of illness, and did not return calls for comment.

CondoTrader CFO Deborah Taylor, Carpenter's wife, said the company uses only honest sales techniques, and fires any salesperson found to be lying. Taylor points out that the company opened in 2002, so the number of complaints per year is relatively small.

She said scams by other companies have ruined the reputation of timeshare resale companies in general. "This is a crap industry," she said.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office photo taken in 2011 for failure to appear. He pleaded no contest.

Customer complaints

Condotrader.com has generated 77 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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