Timeshare Owners Sue Missouri Timeshare Exit Company for Fraud alleging they used Covid as an excuse to scam them for thousands of dollars.
An Ohio couple who owned timeshares through Holiday Inn Vacation Club has sued a timeshare exit company, Consumer Law Protection, LLC, its affiliate Square One Development, LLC, Consumer Rights Council, Inc. and two individual sales staff for Fraud and for the Practice of Law without a License.
The lawsuit stems from a meeting where the sales reps met with various timeshare owners to purportedly provide information on timeshare owners’ rights. The couple and other owners listened to the manager speak at a podium about the Consumer Rights Council, which he relayed was a consumer watchdog non-profit that has pushed back on the timeshare developers for abusive practices and has negotiated settlements en masse to provide relief from timeshare ownership.
The couple has sued, saying all this was a lie. The company provided detailed explanations of laws that they said were being violated by the timeshare companies and that their attorneys would sue the timeshare companies on the couple’s behalf for ten years of fees the couple paid to the timeshare company. The agents pretended to research the couple’s timeshare file and showed them a fiction where the couple and their children would end up having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in made up fees or taxes if they did not take this chance now to settle out with the resort.
The company convinced the couple that if they did not act now, there would never be another opportunity. They said that recently the timeshare companies agreed with the Consumer Rights Council that because of Covid hardships they would allow owners out through the Consumer Rights Council on the condition that the owner pays ten years of resort fees and they had only one chance to make a decision.
However, the exit company formed the Consumer Rights Council which has no actual business but to be a front for the exit company’s fiction. The couple did not actually want to exit their timeshare yet, they felt that they would have at least another five years of enjoying their vacations, but the exit company convinced the couple that it was now or never.
The couple made a habit of recording these types of meetings so they could recall what was said during the meeting if questions arose later. On the recording, you can hear every word of the web created by the sales reps but also the angst and fear the couple felt in leaving their sons with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, that was, as they learned later, completely a fabrication. It was because of this fear of financial ruin for their children that they made the decision to go ahead. The company presented the offer to exit at near $60,000, explaining the timeshare company demanded this amount as settlement in the same way as if you were buying out a lease you wanted to end early. The couple agreed to this, when the exit company said they could finance the payment from a sponsorship with Mastercard and Visa to help timeshare owners. In reality there was no sponsorship, but the sales rep merely applied for two credit cards in the couple’s names.
The exit company also told the couple the “good news” that their attorneys agreed to take the case against the timeshare company. They explained that the near $60,000 all went to the timeshare company but that the way they got paid was that, as a law firm, they sued and received 25% of the judgment they won. They explained that the expectation was that the couple would receive nearly all the money back they were paying today from the lawsuit.
In reality, the exit company knew that all the couple had to do was tell Holiday Inn Vacation Club they wanted out through the resort’s Horizons program. Essentially, if a timeshare owner wishes to give up their timeshare ownership, they just call the resort themselves and ask and it will be done for free. The exit company knew of this, because an agent of the exit company called the timeshare resort, pretending to be the owner. The exit company accepted this money knowing all the owner had to do was to call the timeshare resort and pay absolutely nothing.
There are many timeshare owners who need help, they might not understand what they own, they may have been lied to by the timeshare company when buying, or the timeshare company may not just accept the timeshare interest back when the owners do not want it anymore.
Joshua Neally from Neally Law is representing the couple in their suit against the exit company.
The case is Murchek et al v. Consumer Law Protection et al. case no. 20JE-CC00809 filed in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Missouri on December 15th, 2020.