The Trump administration is planning to suspend routine examinations of lenders for violations of the Military Lending Act, which was devised to protect military service members and their families from financial fraud, predatory loans and credit card gouging, according to internal agency documents.
New York Times, August 10, 2018
The already weakened Consumer Financial Protection Bureauhas taken the next step towards becoming the Corporate Financial Protection Bureau.
If an active duty member of the military falls for a deceptive timeshare sales presentation, the aftereffects can include the loss of his or her security clearance. This is due to a foreclosure being reported on their credit report. One Marine lost his security clearance and his air unit command due to a timeshare foreclosure. It is not uncommon for a timeshare foreclosure to involve amounts of $100,000 or more.
According to the Federal Trade Commission's2017 fraud report, these figures include all travel scams,
Travel, vacation and timeshare fraud reported losing the highest individual loss amount and the report also stated the median fraud loss reported by members of the military were more than 44 percent higher than the general population, a median loss of $619 compared to $429 for the general population.
Unfair and deceptive trade practices are defined by Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Predatory and deceptive timeshare sales practices include high-pressure and aggressive sales, high interest loans, unauthorized opening of credit card accounts and unauthorized charges, and the contract perpetual with little to no secondary market.
If a timeshare is sold properly, it is of great benefit to a family, but if the timeshare is grossly oversold in terms of being an investment, or being easy to sell, the decision to buy can spell financial disaster. Accompanied by annual maintenance fees and the lack of a secondary market, the buyer can find himself stuck with a timeshare they don't want or can't afford.
Timeshare exit scams abound, so do not pay anyone upfront money to get out of a timeshare without due diligence. No one can guarantee a release from a timeshare contract.
Air Force First Sergeant John Kim and his wife Glory, of South Carolina describe their battle with Bluegreen Vacations. John made this YouTube hoping to warn others not to fall victim to high pressure same day timeshare sales.
"My wife Glory and I realized our mistake when we filed our 2017 taxes. We purchased about $60,000 worth of Bluegreen vacation points financed at 16.99%. We were told we could refinance as you would any mortgage," explained John Banks don't finance timeshares. In addition, John reports being told Bluegreen vacation points are an investment. "It was emphasized that we were purchasing deeded property (which it is not). We have learned Bluegreen vacation points are a right-to-use product. Managers assured us we were making a sound "financial investment" and in years to come, we would be able to sell for a profit. We were told we could deduct the interest from the loan on our taxes, as you could with any mortgage. This was not true," added John.
Bluegreen has ignored John.
Bluegreen previously reported nonpayment of timeshare loans as foreclosures, but no longer does so. Bluegreen and credit reporting agencies Equifax and Experian entered into a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by the Finn Law Group on behalf of Bluegreen owners that resulted in 11,000 former Bluegreen members' negative accounts being deleted from their credit reports. Bluegreen, Equifax, and Experian also agreed not to report foreclosures in the future for Bluegreen members. Some timeshare companies do report a loan default as a foreclosure.https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151222006023/en/Finn-Law-Group-Settles-Consumer-Class-Action
With no real regulation, John wants his voice heard, "Don't believe a word a timeshare sales agent says." John filed complaints with the Attorney General for the States of South Carolina and Florida, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, the Fraud Officer of Orlando Florida Police Department, Department of Defense investigative services for the Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard and the AARP Fraud Watch Organization. Nothing happened. John's message - buyer beware."