MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - A Nevada-based time share repurchaser has agreed to pay more than $120,000 in restitution and penalties to settle claims it violated Vermont law.
Apex Professionals, LLC, will pay more than $64,000 to 15 Vermont consumers and $65,000 in penalties and costs to the state over the alleged violations.
"If out-of-state companies offering an economic benefit to consumers in Vermont violate the state's consumer laws, they can expect strong enforcement and serious consequences," state Attorney General William Sorrell said.
Apex representatives began soliciting Vermont consumers in the spring of 2009 to transfer ownership of their unused timeshares to allow the original owners to be relieved of timeshare maintenance fees, taxes and other costs.
The Apex representatives met with consumers in March at the Courtyard Burlington Harbor in Burlington and in March and May at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier. The meetings were advertised in postcards mailed by Apex that stated, "Don't play the waiting game in this economy! If you accept our offer we will put your timeshare into closing immediately."
Consumers who went to the meetings with Apex went with the understanding that Apex would offer them money in exchange for their timeshares. Apex instead charged them a fee of several thousand dollars to transfer ownership of their timeshares, Sorrell said.
Apex representatives then told consumers that the several thousand dollar payment could be offset by filing for a federal income tax deduction for investment losses on their timeshare, the value of which was claimed to be equal to or greater than their payment to Apex. Sorrell says this claim was not true as consumers had purchased the timeshares for personal, not investment, purposes, which made them ineligible for a tax deduction.