Jefferson County man tricked by timeshare scam

Jefferson County man tricked by timeshare scam

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Len Burnett, a Jefferson City man who was conned by a timeshare scammer, just recently was contacted again. Len Burnett, a Jefferson City man who was conned by a timeshare scammer, just recently was contacted again.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) - Thousands of people throughout East Tennessee own timeshares and from time to time, con artists like to take advantage of these owners.

A Jefferson City man who was conned by a timeshare scammer just recently was contacted again.

A promotional video for Palm Beach Shores in sunny South Florida touts the resorts various amenities.

"It's very nice. It's a five star. It's one of the best rated. It's just gorgeous," said Len Burnett.

Burnett can only say nice things about the timeshare he bought at Palm Beach Shores for just over $11,000.

"It's a complete condo. You have everything: balcony, living room, kitchen, bedroom, even closets," said Burnett of the timeshare he bought in February 2012.

He paid the unit off within a year, free and clear. Then last February, Burnett received an unsolicited call from a company out of Largo, Fla.

"They just wanted to know if I was willing to sell," he said. "[I told them] I was still using it. They told me they had a buyer right then and there on the spot. He was paying $23,000."

That was more than twice what Burnett paid for the timeshare. He then asked if the deal was legitimate. At that point, Burnett says he was told he could cancel the deal within 48 hours if he wanted.

The caller even gave his real estate license number, which Burnett wrote down.

"I had 48 hours to cancel. Everything looked legit with all the license numbers and everything. So I went ahead and did it that night," he said.

Burnett gave the guy named Tony his credit card numbers to use for closing costs.

"$2,300 was what they wanted to make me $20,000," said Burnett. "The next morning I called the timeshare and found out everything he was telling me was a lie."

Burnett wasn't the only one caught in the lie. In June of last year, the Federal Trade Commission and dozens of law enforcement agencies issued an injunction stopping the timeshare resale scam.

The FTC alleges thousands of people did not receive what they were promised and were denied their requests for refunds.

As a result of the legal action, Resort Solution Trust, the group that called Burnett, has been put into temporary receivership.

"I called the credit card company and disputed it," said Burnett, who eventually got his $2,300 back.

But then last week he received yet another similar call.

"Same scam. It was the same pitch almost letter for letter," he said. "They told me that they had a buyer for my condo, for the timeshare."

Just as Burnett asked for the company's name, he says the caller hung up.

"Anytime they want money, it's a fraud. It's that simple. If they're wanting you to put out money, it's fraud. Don't do it."

Since timeshare owners receive a title to their condo, information that is public record, that makes it easy for fraudulent timeshare resellers to look up a name and place their unsolicited calls.

Be aware of these con artists and their game. Don't be fooled by someone who wants money upfront from you before the sale.

Burnett said it was greed that led him to sell his unit without thinking. Greed is what these con artists thrive on.

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