On Your Side: Missouri attorney general announces judgment against timeshare exit company
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced the state obtained a consent judgment against Vacation Consulting Services, LLC; VCS Communications, LLC; The Transfer Group, LLC; Real Travel, LLC; and their owner Brian Scroggs for failing to let consumers out of their timeshare agreements.
Scroggs owned Vacation Consulting Services, a Missouri-based company that offered timeshare exit services around the country.
”One of my biggest priorities as attorney general is to enforce the law as written, and that involves holding fraudulent companies accountable for preying on Missourians,” said Attorney General Bailey.
“This consent judgment is a testament to the work that this office’s Consumer Protection Unit puts in every day to protect Missourians. We will continue to use every legal resource available to pursue justice for victims of consumer fraud.”
The state filed a petition against the Defendants in July 2020 for violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. After more than two years of hard-fought litigation, the defendants agreed to settle the case for $800,000. This figure includes $700,000 in restitution for consumers, $50,000 in civil penalties, and $50,000 to the Missouri Practices Revolving Fund, which will help pay for the State to pursue other future actions on behalf of defrauded consumers.
The judgment permanently enjoins Scroggs and the other defendants from marketing or selling third-party timeshare exit services in the state of Missouri. While the consent judgment sets the restitution amount, Scroggs has filed for bankruptcy protection. The attorney general’s office continues to pursue Scroggs in bankruptcy court in order to attempt to recover as much as legally possible for consumers.
The consent judgment can be read here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2023-01-06-consent-judgment(13807993-2).pdf?sfvrsn=207a25e6_2 Attorney General Bailey encourages Missourians who believe they may be the victim of any scam or unfair practice to file a complaint by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline at 800-392-8222, or by submitting a complaint online at ago.mo.gov.
Timeshare Exit Tips
- For consumers who want to get out of the timeshare contract, they should reach out to the timeshare directly to see if they offer a deed-back or exit program. If a program is not available, consult with an attorney for further legal advice.
- Beware of making upfront payments to timeshare exit companies for the work they promise.
- Written guarantees from timeshare exit companies may not offer the protection or promises that consumers expect.
- Do your research. Research the owners and the business carefully before paying any money.
- Check with the Attorney General’s office and BBB for complaints prior to doing any business with a timeshare exit company.
- If you believe you have been scammed, you can contact the Missouri Attorney General’s office Consumer Protection hotline at 800-392-8222 or visit their website at www.ago.mo.gov
General Timeshare Tips
- Look on the secondary market first. If you are interested in buying a timeshare, you may save thousands buying on the resale market. Be fully aware of what you are purchasing and from whom you are buying to ensure a smooth transaction. Make sure you have in writing the terms of the sale and what each side is responsible for paying at closing. Read the contract carefully and ask questions of the seller.
- Don’t bow to pressure. Take time to think about your decision. Ask the salesperson to send you written information about your possible purchase, including a contract that you can review. There is nothing that says you have to sign the first thing that is shown to you. Let the deal breathe before you figure out if it is right for you.
- Do your research. Compare travel savings with online travel services or local travel agents. Also, check out the company with the Attorney General’s office and the BBB.
- Act fast if you are not satisfied. If you sign a contract for a timeshare or travel club, you have a short window to cancel the contract if you don’t like what you purchased. Don’t wait until after you get back from your trip to take a second look at the contract and research the company you are dealing with or it may be too late. Also, always pay with a credit card so you can challenge the charge should something go wrong with the purchase.
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