The Justice Department announced the results of its efforts to protect older adults from fraud and exploitation. The department also made substantial efforts to return money to fraud victims and announced that it is expanding its effort to combat scams overseas.
With the recent lawsuit filed by Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor against seven corporations and eight individuals who are alleged to have operated a fraudulent timeshare exit company, the American Resort Development Association-Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC) today reminded timeshare owners to always talk to their developer first when looking to exit their timeshare.
The Alaska Attorney General filed a lawsuit against an interrelated network of timeshare exit companies, including seven corporations and eight individuals, alleging they defrauded elderly Alaskan consumers. The defendants in the Attorney General’s complaint include Consumer Law Protection, LLC, Consumer Rights Council, Premier Reservations Group, LLC, Resort Transfer Group, LLC, Square One Development Group, Inc., Square One Group, LLC, Timeshare Help Source, Christopher Carroll, George Reed, Louann Reed, Scott Jackson, Eduardo Balderas, Sherrod Banks, Courtney Kirkpatrick, and Gary Adamson.
“Consumers should always be wary of companies that use scare tactics to create a sense of urgency,” said Attorney General Taylor, in a press release from his office on June 28, 2022. “A company that refuses to give you a few days to think over a big financial commitment probably isn’t the kind of company you want to do business with.”
“Continued actions by Attorneys General throughout the United States only emphasize how important it is that consumers remain cautious about engaging with unscrupulous third-party companies who require them to pay thousands in up-front fees and offer guarantees that sound too good to be true,” said Robert Clements, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel for the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). “If you have done business with one of the companies named, we encourage you to reach out to the Alaska Department of Law.”
The Attorney General’s office alleges that the entities solicited timeshare owners to get out of their timeshare contracts based on false claims and promises in exchange for large upfront payments. According to the Alaska Attorney General’s press release, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants:
- Targeted timeshare owners using a deceptive direct mail campaign, which lured timeshare owners to sales presentations at Anchorage hotels with false promises of a $250 shopping card and information on how to eliminate timeshare maintenance fees, improve their ownership experience, or legally exit their timeshare; and
- When the timeshare owners arrived at the sales presentations, the defendants used hard sales tactics, including telling the timeshare owners that their maintenance fees would skyrocket, that their heirs would be forced to pay the maintenance fees in perpetuity, and that the only way to exit their timeshare contracts was to pay for the defendants’ timeshare exit services.
Nine Alaskan victims, and counting, have been identified by the Department of Law, who paid the defendants a total of over $113,000. There may be additional victims who have not yet been identified.
The Alaskan Attorney General’s office has asked customers nationwide who believe they were defrauded by the companies to fill out a consumer complaint form here or file a complaint through the Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit at (907) 269-5200.
“This is exactly why we continue to remind timeshare owners who are looking to exit about the importance of going to their developer, resort management company or HOA first,” said Ken McKelvey, Chairman of the Board for ARDA-ROC. “Through ARDA-ROC, we also offer a safe exit resource, that is supported by timeshare developers, through the Coalition for Responsible Exit.”
ARDA-ROC encourages timeshare owners looking to exit to contact their timeshare developer, resort management company or HOA first. Timeshare developers also support using the Coalition for Responsible Exit as a safe exit resource, which offers free or low-cost exit options and can be accessed by visiting ResponsibleExit.com.