The Bureau of Consumer Protection division of the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"), the U.S. Federal agency responsible for preventing fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair trade practices, announced yesterday that it will undertake a multinational effort to stop travel and timeshare resale scams. The announcement is part of the FTC's ongoing effort to stop timeshare scams.
The FTC will crack down on deceptive travel and timeshare resale scams by partnering with various Federal, state, and international law enforcement partners. The FTC is already working with the Florida Office of the Attorney General and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Last year, the FTC and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi brought legal action against a timeshare resale telemarketing business and its owner for allegedly deceiving thousands of consumers throughout the country into paying up to $2,000 based on promises that the reseller had buyers lined up for consumers' timeshare properties, and then failing to deliver promised refunds.
Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida entered a final judgment against several telemarketing companies charged by the FTC with operating a timeshare resale scam. The judgment entered by the Court imposed a $6.3 million fine and permanently banned the defendants from the timeshare business.
Multinational efforts of this kind are significant; the last time the FTC announced a concerted action of this kind, it resulted in nearly 70 judgments and settlements against companies engaged in business scams that falsely promised jobs and opportunities for consumers to “be their own boss.”