Troubleshooter: Time share costs

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson

February 18, 2011 4:31:09 PM PST
A Raleigh couple says they are out close to $5,000 after promises their time shares would be sold.Jerry and Patricia Brueggeman say they were looking for extra retirement money and thought selling their three time shares would bring them a nice chunk of change. Instead they're out a big chunk of change.

It started with a phone call that turned in to a sales pitch to sell the Brueggeman's three time shares.

"They said well we are selling time shares for people to corporate buyers and if yours qualifies we'll put you in the block and sell your time share," Jerry Brueggeman said.

Jerry Brueggeman says Royal Resorts USA offered him a special deal.

"We usually charge $600 for each one, but we'll charge you $1,200 for the three of them, but you'll get this money back at closing, after they're sold," Jerry Brueggeman said. "Why not give it a try? What's the risk?"

The couple paid the $1,200 marketing fee, signed the contracts and waited for the sale.

Instead of a sale, he says a rep with Royal Resorts USA called for more money, an additional $1,845 for a title search.

Jerry Brueggeman sent in the check, waited and then got another call from the company asking for another $1,875.

"That was for lawyers and all the other stuff they were going to have," he said.

Brueggeman says he was hesitant, but says he was reassured the sale of his three timeshares would go through, plus they would get all the fees back at closing.

"But this corporation is going to buy the 25 blocks, all 25 shares, yours is in the block," Jerry Brueggeman said.

He sent in the money, his wife says she had a bad feeling about Royal Resorts USA - especially since they now had $4,920 of their money.

"And when I said I'm hoping this isn't a scam, they'd reassured me and say, if this was a scam, we wouldn't call you back," Patricia Brueggeman said. "That makes sense to a degree, but every time we would talk, they would want more money."

"Then they came back and they said well the deal is all set, we have to have another $875 per unit for closing to complete the deal, and we said wait a minute," Jerry Brueggeman added.

The Brueggemans said they then wanted their money back.

"The money from the timeshares, plus the money we've invested, makes a big hole, you know, makes it very difficult," Patricia Brueggeman said.

But Royal Resorts USA denied a refund, as their contract states the fees are refunded in full once the timeshares are sold, but the Brueggemans say they don't think the company had any intention of selling their timeshares.

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson tried to get answers and worked with an ABC affiliate in Las Vegas, where Royal Resorts USA's home office is located.

The address listed on the contracts isn't on the company directory. Once at their office suite, while there's a secretary, no sign of Royal Resorts USA. She says it's only a virtual office - meaning they get mail there, but there's no representative for the company.

ABC11 made calls to every phone number listed to Royal Resorts USA and all the numbers were disconnected.

While the Brueggemans are out $5,000, they hope others don't fall for the same sales pitch.

"We'd like our money back, but we really want them stopped," Jerry Brueggeman said.

They say be aware whenever you get a call from someone offering to sell your time share. Have the company send you the information in the mail and look it over before paying any money up front.

When it comes to Royal Resorts USA contract, it's clear while the Brueggemans claim they were told Royal Resorts actually had buyers and would sell their time share for them, according to the contract they just market the timeshare and forward all inquiries about the timeshare to the owner to negotiate the sale of it.

As for marketing it, the Brueggemans says they never even saw their timeshares for sale on any of Royal Resorts USA's websites.

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