Q: My wife and I went to Las Vegas for vacation, and while we were there, we went to a time share seminar.

It sounded good, but we were not sure that we wanted to go all the way. So, the timeshare developer proposed that we could pay $195 at the seminar and then later decide whether to go forth with the timeshare purchase. If we decided to cancel, and not buy into the development, we were supposed to get our cash back. The deposit supposedly locked in a rate which allowed us to receive the promotional price.

Well, we decided not to do it and sent them a rescission letter asking for our money back. The timeshare developer and his salespeople keep giving us the run around with our money. They initially said the check was lost and they were looking into the matter. But now it has been two months.

What should I do next?

A: Perhaps the advertising slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” applies to your lost check. But while the dealer in this game still has the upper hand (since he already has your money) maybe you can stack the odds of its return a bit more in your favor.

Hopefully you kept a copy of the paperwork you signed and any receipt you were given for your check. By now you should also have a copy of the cancelled check, or can get a printout from your bank.

With a copy of your written documentation, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office in Nevada. The Attorney General probably won’t look too kindly on timeshare developers and their salespeople saying one thing and then doing another.

You might also want to forward a complaint to the Nevada Real Estate Division (www.red.state.nv.us), which regulates real estate developers and sales people in Nevada.

Be sure to copy the timeshare developer on this letter, so he and his salespeople are aware that you have raised the stakes in the game that’s being played.

For good measure, you should also file a complaint against the timeshare developer with the Better Business Bureau (bbbonline.org).

Finally, try to keep a sense of perspective. If you only lose $195 on this deal, it’s a cheap lesson. (I’m sure you lost at least that much at the gaming tables.)

Imagine how much it would have cost you if you had actually gone through with the purchase. And the next time you’re in Las Vegas, stick with the cheap buffet instead of the timeshare seminars — unless you leave your checkbook (and credit cards) in your hotel room.

Published: Oct 24, 2005