BBB warns against using Branson business after customers report losing thousands to owner

Branson, MO. -- Getting out of a timeshare all together can be just as challenging as actually booking a stay in one. A Branson-based business promised to help a local woman out of hers for a big payment up front.

That woman is out about $5,000 and, according to the Better Business Bureau, the person responsible is still in business under a different name.

"Last Resort Fee LLC," Virginia Lautaret said. "They have no morals."

About three years ago, Lautaret decided she wanted out of her Lake of the Ozarks timeshare.

"We were told we could use it any time, any where you wanted to go. The sale, the big sales pitch, you know. It didn't happen," Lautaret said.

That's when she looked into Branson-based Last Resort Fee.

"Being as they were local, I thought, well, that's good," Lautaret said.

The company insisted that Lautaret pay up-front to get her out of the timeshare.

She paid $5,000, but says the company did nothing. Lautaret couldn't get through to them and never got the refund they'd promised.

"Nothing, because they went out of business and it's hard to get money out of somebody you can't find," Lautaret said.

Last Resort is now permanently closed, but according to the Better Business Bureau, Lautaret isn't the only person who lost big time. Customers reported more than $270,000 lost to that company.

"I think it's wrong and something ought to be done about it," Lautaret said.

However, now, the owner of Last Resort, Jeffrey Heith Shaver, has a new Branson-business. It's called Fountainhead Group Consulting Firm LLC, where the website says its services are "designed to help owners and members of vacation products reach their goals."

However, given Shaver's history, the Better Business Bureau urges people to think twice before doing business with Fountainhead.

"It's wrong that they can do that, that they can take people's money, close the business down, then start it up again and do it all over again," Lautaret said.

KY3 News did go to the business address for Fountainhead Group in Branson to get their side of the story. The person who answered the door said the owner was unavailable. Mr. Shaver has not returned the reporter's request for comment.

The BBB says people looking to exit a timeshare should contact their resort first before entering into an agreement with a third-party company that demands an up-front payment.