AG Cooper stops timeshare reseller from calling NC consumers
Release date: 7/6/2009
Premier Timeshare Vacations promised to sell property but failed to deliver
Raleigh: A timeshare resale telemarketer that called North Carolina timeshare owners claiming to have found buyers for their properties must stop making phony pitches to North Carolina consumers, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.
“In this economy, deceptive telemarketing calls that promise to help you make money can be especially tempting, Cooper said. “People who own timeshares may be eager to sell, but charging them hefty upfront fees for sales that may never happen is no way to do business.”
Wake County Superior Court Judge Shannon R. Joseph granted Cooper’s request last week to temporarily ban Premier Timeshare Vacations, Inc. of Clearwater, FL, also doing business as Paradise Marketing Group, from making telemarketing calls to North Carolina residents. Cooper is seeking a permanent ban on the company’s telemarketing practices and is also asking the court to order Premier Timeshare Vacations to pay refunds to consumers and civil penalties to the state.
As alleged in Cooper’s complaint filed against the company last week, Premier Timeshare Vacations made unsolicited telemarketing calls to North Carolina residents who owned timeshare properties at various vacation resorts. Many consumers who received the calls had already tried unsuccessfully to sell their timeshares due to expensive annual maintenance charges and fees. The telemarketers regularly claimed that they had buyers lined up but that the timeshare owner must enter into a contract with Premier Timeshare Vacations and pay the company an upfront fee before the sale was complete. If the owner agreed to the sale, the telemarketer would transfer the owner to a verification department which recorded the owner giving permission to charge their credit card for as much as $5,000.
Premier Timeshare Vacations’ tactics are described in the affidavit of an 80-year old Jonesville woman which was filed with the lawsuit:
The owner received several telephone messages from Premier Timeshare Vacations’ telemarketers claiming they sold her two timeshares for $9,999 apiece even though she hadn’t entered into a contract with the company. Initially, she told the telemarketers to send her a contract to look over, but after she received the contract she contacted the company and told them she wasn’t interested. After much persuasion, the representative convinced her to authorize a payment of $5,000 charged to her Chase Visa credit card and to return the signed contract. Within a few days, the woman was warned by another timeshare reseller that Premier Timeshare Vacations and its telemarketers were scammers. She immediately contacted the representative to cancel but he became very angry and threatened to take her to court. Even though he claimed to have already sold the timeshares, he now said the sales were pending and that she should receive her money within 30-45 days. She never received any money and was unsuccessful when she tried to dispute the $5,000 charge with Chase because she had signed the contract and verbally authorized the charge.
“Telemarketing calls are more than just a nuisance when the person on the other end of the line tries to trick you out of your hard earned money,” warned Cooper. “If you’ve signed up for the Do Not Call Registry but telemarketers continue to call, hang up and call my office instead.”
People who’ve joined the Do Not Call Registry but still hear from telemarketers
can report them to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within the state or by filling out a complaint form
Contact: Noelle Talley, (919) 716-6413