Problem Solvers: Timeshare Troubles

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- People cheated out of thousands of dollars by a company promising to help them sell their time shares are finally getting some justice. The company operators have been ordered to repay millions of dollars and have been permanently banned from the timeshare resale business, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The feds say it's all part of a continuing crack down on timeshare resale scams, similar to the one that Ron Server and his wife fell prey to several years ago.

At that time, Server told FOX 4 Problem Solvers that he and his wife has been contacted by a Florida company that claimed to have a buyer for their timeshare in Branson, Mo. But the Servers would need to pay more than $1,000 upfront before the sale could go through.

The Servers handed over the money thinking they were paying the sales person's commission.

Months later they realized they had been had. There was never a buyer for their property and the resale company stopped returning their phone calls or responding to their letters.

This month the feds charged four men operating a similar timeshare scam, also based in Florida. Timeshare owners paid more than $3,000 in "earnest money" for a buyer for their properties with the promise that the money would be refunded once the sale was completed. After handing over the money, the timeshare owners discovered there were no buyers.

The company goes by a multiple of names, including National Solutions, Country Wide Timeshares, Blue Scape Timeshares and Sun Property Networks.  The company operators, Leandro Velazquez, Edgar Gonzalez, Samuel Velazquez and Joel Velazquez  have been permanently banned from the timeshare resale business and all telemarketing, according to the FTC. Plus one of the defendants has been ordered to repay more than $6 million in fines and penalties.

In a final update, FOX 4 Problem Solvers has learned that Mr. Server passed away last year. However, before he died he did get his money back. Not from the timeshare company that took it, but from the state of Florida which launched a criminal investigation against the company, Elite Timeshare. The two owners of the company are still battling those charges in court.

The big red flag with all these businesses is that they want money upfront to sell your timeshare. Try never to do business with a company that wants to be paid upfront, but if you must, check it out thoroughly before handing over any money.

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