(Middleton, TN) It's the height of vacation season. Many folks head to the beach for a little rest and relaxation. Some skip hotels and opt for condos or vacation homes.
The picture of a dream vacation isn't as pretty though, if you own one of those properties.
For example, selling a timeshare in this economy, can be tough. What's worse is that crooks know it, and they're hoping to cash in.
Imagine, a cozy condo or cabin nestled in the midst of the Ozark Mountains.
"It's a very decent place to take your family," says Hardeman County resident Yvette Mott. Mott invested about $10,000 for a timeshare in Branson, Missouri.
"I bought it in 2007, thinking that we were going to use it every other year." That didn't happen. Mott says she didn't want her family stuck with the upkeep, so she decided to sell.
She paid just under $500 for a company out of Atlanta, GA called Sharp Innovations, to market her time share.
"The contract said that if we do not sell your property within 12 months, you get your money back," says Mott. Then, she got a better offer.
"If I paid the closing costs, I would get over $21,000 for my time share," Mott explains. That's double her investment. However, Mott says after several phone calls and emails from Infinit Financial Solutions of Florida, who wanted her to wire more than $1,000 to seal the deal, she knew it was simply too good to be true.
"I realized right quick that this was not happening." It's good Mott went with her gut.
We did some digging for more details about Infinit. The company has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau in Orlando.
"People wire the money and in fact it was a bogus deal all along," explains MidSouth BBB President Randy Hutchinson. Infinit also has eight complaints with the Florida Attorney General's office.
We tried calling the contact listed on Mott's paper work, David Murray. Initially we didn't get an answer. A man who identified himself only as David did call back. When I asked him to tell me a little more about Infinit, he simply said "we just provide marketing and advertising" and then hung up on me.
WREG On Your Side Investigators also tried contacting Sharp Innovations, the company Mott currently has a contract with. We discovered complaints online from customers who say they never got that service fee refunded.
It's the reason they too have an F with the BBB in Atlanta. Plus, a spokesperson with the Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Protection confirms they have an "open investigation" into Sharp Innovations.
Hutchinson says scammers know timeshare resales are tough in this economy. His advice to sellers is, "Find out in fact if they're licensed to sell real estate in whatever market your timeshare is located in."
Sellers can also contact their resort developer to see if they're offering any resale programs. Another idea is to advertise the listing in your hometown or resort city.
"I'm very angry, adds Mott. The 73-year-old refuses to give up.
Mott filed an incident report with the Hardeman County Sheriff's office against Infinit.
Plus, she contacted authorities in Florida.
"How many over $1200 do you think has been emailed to that bank account? I want someone to catch this guy!"