Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit on July 6, against Brian Scroggs and four timeshare exit companies under his control. 

In a press release, the office of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said the lawsuit alleges that timeshare exit company employees with Vacation Consulting Services LLC; VCS Communications LLC; The Transfer Group LLC and Real Travel LLC, solicited large sums of money from customers on the promise to either transfer or terminate consumer timeshare interests within one year or Scroggs’ companies would buy out the interests themselves. 

On numerous occasions, despite payments from consumers, Scroggs and his companies failed to provide the promised relief. These actions of the employees were conducted at the direction of Scroggs, according to the release.

In addition to promising consumers relief from their time share burdens, the lawsuit alleges that, at different times, Scroggs and his timeshare exit groups would instruct clients to cease making maintenance payments on their timeshares because the exit groups would cover the costs themselves.

However, Scroggs and the exit groups would not make those payments as promised and as a result, many customers found themselves in arrears with their respective timeshare holding companies, the release stated. 

In the press release Schmitt said, “The Missouri Attorney General’s Office is dedicated to protecting consumers, and whenever we can take action to hold those seeking to defraud Missourians accountable we will.”

In the press release, the office of the Missouri Attorney General also released the following timeshare exit tips to keep in mind:

–For consumers who want to get out of their 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 consumers expect.

–Do your research. Research the owners and the business carefully before paying any money.

–Check with the Attorney General’s office and Better Business Bureau for complaints prior to doing any business with a timeshare exit company.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office also released a few general timeshare tips residents should remember before making a timeshare purchase.

–Look on the secondary market first. If you’re interested in buying a timeshare, you may save thousands of dollars by 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 contact 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 Better Business Bureau.

–Act fast if you are not satisfied. If you sign a contact 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 anything go wrong with the purchase.  

Anyone who believes that they may have been scammed by Brain Scroggs or any of his timeshare exit companies – or another timeshare exit company – are encouraged to file a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or submitting a complaint at ago.mo.gov.

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