Milwaukee, Wis., September 21, 2011 – The Better Business Bureau is warning timeshare owners who are trying to sell or rent their timeshares to beware of a Las Vegas-based company, City Resorts, after two Wisconsin residents lost almost $3,500.
A Fond du Lac resident and an Oconomowoc resident paid $1,890 and $1,560, respectively, to City Resorts after the company told them that it had a buyer for their timeshares. However, after paying the fee, buyers for the timeshare never materialized, as promised.
City Resorts has been the subject of 23 complaints from around the country since March 2011 and has an “F” rating with the BBB for failing to respond to complaints.
Complainants allege that City Resorts contacts consumers stating it has found a buyer for their timeshare. Complainants are then told to send a cashier’s check for up to $6,000 for closing costs or processing fees. Complainants report that no buyers or renters emerged and customers were unable to get responses to calls or their money back. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also has a pending government action against City Resorts’ parent company, Red Solutions of Orlando, Florida, for similar issues – that it misrepresented to numerous consumers that it had a buyer for their timeshare when it didn’t.
James S. of Oconomowoc lost $1,560 after he was contacted by City Resorts and told that it had a buyer for his timeshare. He sent them a certified check, which was promised back to him at the end of the sale. When he tried calling the company to find out the status, the phone number was disconnected.
“They were deceptive to me, took the money and ran,” he said.
The phone number, website and email have been disconnected for City Resorts. The current address for the firm is a mail-drop.
Nationwide, BBBs processed 2,804 complaints on timeshare resale services in 2010.
“Timeshare owners interested in selling or renting their timeshare should be wary of a company that claims a buyer is waiting, and then asking for an upfront fee,” said Ran Hoth, CEO/president for the BBB of Wisconsin. “We often see complaints from consumers who say the service wasn’t provided and they’re unable to get a refund.”
The BBB offers the following tips to timeshare owners looking to sell their timeshare:
Check out the business—You can check out a business at www.bbb.org. BBB Business reviews contain basic information, complaint numbers and overview and BBB ratings.
Confirm the location—Confirm where the company is located and in what states it does business. Ask the company if its salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located and verify this with the state licensing board.
Get the facts—Find out if the business charges a commission and what its guarantee is. Do they handle the entire closing and provide escrow services? What do their fees cover and it is it refundable?
Be wary of upfront fees—Consider opting for a company that offers to sell for a fee only after the timeshare is sold.
Don’t fall for the hard sell or an offer that sounds too good to be true—Don’t agree to anything over the phone, but instead, ask the salesperson to send you written materials. Take time to think it over and don’t be pressured.
For more information or further inquiries, please contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).