Rick Scott Signs Timeshare Resale Fraud into Law
A bill that seeks to eliminate a loophole exploited by scam artists was ceremonially signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott at the University of Central Florida Rosen School of Hospitality on Friday.
“This legislation will cut down on timeshare fraud and protect owners from unscrupulous resale companies,” Scott stated in a release. “As we fight this fraud, integrity will come back into the system, and people can feel more confident investing in Florida, and in the timeshare market.”
The bill, HB 1001, targets people and companies who contact timeshare owners, claim to have a buyer available if the timeshare owner wants to sell, but the timeshare owner must pay a set amount of money upfront.
“By strengthening Florida’s timeshare resale laws and focusing on marketing and advertising practices, we can protect timeshare owners from unscrupulous companies that may try to scam them during the resale process,” Attorney General Pam Bondi stated in a release.
Complaints about timeshares -- Bondi’s office fielded 12,000 complaints on the topic in 2010 -- have dominated complaint calls to the attorney general’s office.
According to the law, which goes into effect July 1:
• A timeshare resale advertiser may not misrepresent a pre-existing interest in the owner’s timeshare.
• A timeshare resale advertiser may not mislead a customer as to the success rate of the advertiser’s sales.
• A timeshare resale advertiser may not provide brokerage or direct sale services.
• A timeshare resale advertiser must honor a cancellation request made within seven days following a signed agreement.
• A timeshare resale advertiser must provide a full refund by a timeshare owner within 20 days of a valid cancellation request.
• A timeshare resale advertiser must not collect any payment or engage in any resale advertising activities until the timeshare owner delivers a signed, written agreement for the services.
• A timeshare resale advertiser must also provide a full disclosure statement printed in bold type, with no smaller than a 12-point font, and printed immediately preceding the space provided for the timeshare owner’s signature.
• A timeshare advertising agreement must be put in writing.
• A company that violates these provisions has committed a violation of the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act with a penalty not to exceed $15,000 per violation.