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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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Vacation Property Services

Company details

Opened on: May 10, 1999

Location: 7005 Fourth St. N #5, St. Petersburg, 33703

Business website: Inactive

Company history

Vacation Property Services

Starting with a single Seminole office in 1999, this company eventually spawned three more in St. Petersburg, two in Largo and one in Tampa, according to court records. The Attorney General's Office has received 138 complaints about the company.

In March 2011, the Federal Trade Commission charged Vacation Property Services and two other companies and their owners with breaking federal laws barring telemarketers from making misleading statements, and for making more than 292,000 calls to phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. The FTC said the companies were connected.

Several officers at other local timeshare resale companies are former Vacation Property Services employees, including Dwayne Pouncy, president of Timeshare Traveler.

At left, the company's location at 7005 Fourth St. N #5 in St. Petersburg.
LEAH MILLIS | Times

Actions against this business

Signed a settlement agreement with the Florida Attorney General's Office in 2008. The company admitted no wrongdoing and agreed to refund up to $22,266 to former customers.

Sued by the Federal Trade Commission in March 2011 for breaking federal laws barring telemarketers from making misleading statements, and for making more than 292,000 calls to phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. The case is ongoing.

Officer

Name: David Taylor , vice president

Taylor declined to comment, citing his ongoing civil trial with the Federal Trade Commission. He has argued in court proceedings that he has not been involved with the day-to-day operations of the company since 2007. According to court filings in the FTC case, Taylor owns Shenaniganz, a bar in Apollo Beach not far from his 4,563-square-foot waterfront home.

Officer

Wilson

Name: Albert Wilson, president

Wilson declined to comment, citing his ongoing civil case with the Federal Trade Commission. Wilson is one of several current or former timeshare resale company officials who lives in the same area of northeast St. Petersburg. He lives in a waterfront home he bought in 2005 for $815,000.

Wilson has several misdemeanor convictions, including marijuana possession in 1990 and battery in 1992.

 

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office photo taken in 2008 for a marijuana arrest. Charges were dropped.

Customer complaints

Vacation Property Services has generated 138 consumer complaints to the Florida Attorney General's Office since 2008. 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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