A timeshare exit company has been permanently barred from operating and ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars back to customers it conned.
Owners Steven Martin did not show up in court when the ruling was made, however the judgement ruled against him and his company who were found to be charging clients exuberant fees for so called timeshare exit services.
The company first came to the attention of officials several years ago and in 2017 The Better Business Bureau issued a warning against the company as they had received hundreds of complaints from customers across the United States who had engaged the services of the company and paid money to them. The business complaints service repeatedly issued warnings that the company was targeting timeshare owners across the United States and eventually this came to the attention of the Attorney General, who looked into and investigated the company. They found that the company targeted desperate timeshare owners and took advantage of them by charging upfront fees with promises they would be free from their timeshare burdens. After taking upfront payments the company would then string clients along for moths on end and eventually start asking for even more money. They would tell clients they had to pay transfer fees, taxes and even fees for litigation against the resort.
Martin and his company offered clients a money back guarantee if they could not successfully negotiate an exit from their contracts. Most of the complaints to The Better Business Bureau were where victims had asked for their money back because the company failed to terminate their timeshare, but also failed to refund any of the money to people they scammed. To make matters worse for some owners who believed the company had successfully terminated their timeshare contracts, later found out from the resort that they were still in exactly the same position and liable to pay maintenance fees. Some victims even reported the scam having a negative impact on their credit reports because of it.
The company has now been ordered to cease operating and has to pay a huge fine to compensate the victims. In addition it is also liable to pay court costs and investigation fees for all the work put in by the Attorney General’s office. An official from The Better Business Bureau made a statement following the ruling: “We applaud the Attorney General’s Office and its efforts to help customers of this business. Consumers reported to BBB that they lost thousands of dollars after the business failed to deliver on its promises. It’s rewarding whenever we can see that we can help people, and whenever they can get restitution, because a lot of times, you know, these people are just out of luck.”
Spotting a timeshare scam, here’s what to look out for:
A cold-call Anyone calling you out of the blue claiming to be able to terminate your timeshare has probably got hold of your details illegally and will not be acting in good faith. They are cold calling you (which is illegal) for one thing and that is to get you to pay large upfront fees for services they have no intention of providing.
Don’t be fooled by a professional looking website, the cost of creating these sites is very affordable and easily set up.
Stay Safe Online Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered, you can check this by looking to see if there are any slight changes to a domain name.
Check paperwork you should check all your paperwork including receipts and invoices as well as terms and conditions.
There are far too many individuals and companies out there who are looking to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
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