According to the FTC’s lawsuit, Vacation Property Services, Inc., made tens of thousands of unsolicited telemarketing calls to timeshare owners falsely claiming that they already had, or could quickly find, buyers for the owners’ timeshares. The defendants demanded that consumers pay a large upfront fee. The FTC’s complaint charged Vacation Property Services, Inc. and its manager and owner, Albert M. Wilson, with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule by misrepresenting the company’s refund policy and the existence of potential buyers. The complaint also charged the defendants with calling hundreds of thousands of consumers whose phone numbers are on the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry.
In May, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida held that the company deceived consumers into paying large up-front fees by claiming that it had buyers lined up or would find buyers to purchase consumers’ timeshare properties, and that it had violated the TSR by calling telephone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. The court held that there were genuine issues of material fact with respect to whether Wilson had sufficient knowledge of Vacation Property Services’ misstatements and illegal calls such that he could be held financially liable for the illegal conduct. The court also held that the company and Wilson failed to pay the required fees to access the Registry.
The settlement order permanently bans Mr. Wilson from all telemarketing and from participating in the timeshare resale and rental business. It also prohibits him from misrepresenting material facts about any goods or services, and from selling or otherwise benefitting from consumers’ personal information.
The order imposes a judgment of more than $4.2 million, which will be suspended when Wilson has surrendered $120,000, a 2002 Porsche 911, a Spectre Sportfish boat, and his interest in Vacation Property Services. The full judgment will become due immediately if Wilson is found to have misrepresented his financial condition to the FTC. Charges against the other defendants in this case were resolved in a settlement order announced in April.
NOTE FROM THE FTC: This settlement order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated. Settlement orders have the force of law when approved and signed by a District Court judge.