How it works: I received a phone call from Phil who said they had a qualified buyer for my time share which I had previously listed with Time Share Travel (TSI). The offer was extremely good. He was very businesslike, going over the details of our time share to verify his information. He had enough correct information that it appeared that he was working with TSI. He asked if I would accept the offer. I said you, send me the money. He said that at the close of escrow I would receive a refund of the $1,299 I had paid TSI as a listing fee for our time share. He then said that he would pass on my acceptance to Fitzpatrick who would be contacting me shortly.
Fitzpatrick called about 15 minutes later and explained that he worked for North Ocean Investment. They would be providing the financing for the buyer and would be working the sale through the closing of escrow. He explained how the sale would progress.
1 – They had received a signed offer and deposit from the buyer in the amount of $3,675 which they had put into an escrow account as earnest money.
2 – I needed to provide $3,000 as earnest money to insure that we go through with the sale. He explained that the risen for my check was to insure that we went through with the sale.
3 – Once they received my check they would open an interest bearing account in my name and file the necessary paperwork.
4 – They would have a courier deliver the closing package which would include the closing documents and a bank certified check for the full amount of sale.
5 - I was to deposit the check and once it cleared, sign the documents and call them so the courier could pick them up.
6 – The courier would return to pick up the documents and would return my earnest money and Phil would send my refund of the listing fee.
I requested that he provide me with the above in writing and that once I had reviewed the information I would get back to him.
Later in the day I received an e-mail from Robert Walshburger outlining the above.
I took a couple of days to try and check out North Ocean Investment and could find nothing. No web page, no Better Business Bureau listing, no Rip Off report, etc.
When I called Fitzgerald back I told him that I couldn’t find out anything about his company and he said that that was good because that meant they had had no complaints filed against the company.
I also asked why they could not handle the transaction like any other real estate sale (open an escrow, get all documents signed, close escrow and distribute funds from escrow at closing). He said that this was just the way they had always handled time share sales and that he would ask their legal counsel why a “standard escrow” couldn’t be done.
I said that unless we could do a “standard escrow” I wasn’t interested.
The next day I received a call from Phil who said that they had revised the program so the $1,299 I had paid TSI as a listing fee for our time share could be used toward our earnest money and that all I would have to put up was $600. He said that in doing the paperwork he had discovered that we had 7800 points in the bank for which the buyer would have to pay an additional $3,500 for. He also said to send a certified check FedEx, USP or USPS overnight and to call him with the tracking number so he could start the paperwork.
Despite my doubts, I figured that it was worth the $600 to sell the time share. A couple of days later when I hadn’t heard from either Phil or Fitzpatrick I tried to call them and got a phone recording that their cell phones were no longer in operation. That’s when I knew I was right in the first place, this was a RIP-OFF.
They will undoubtedly try this again using different names, etc. Be Ware!