Lawsuit filed against fraudulent timeshare exit schemers who stole over $113k
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Elderly Alaskan consumers were allegedly targeted in a timeshare exit scam, and now, multiple organizations and individuals are facing a lawsuit filed by the state of Alaska.
The lawsuit, filed June 23, 2022, by Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor, alleges that the defendants made false promises to get clients out of their timeshare contracts. This, in exchange for large upfront payments, many over $10,000, but the state says the defendants failed to follow through on those promises.
After a consumer complaint was filed, an investigation was launched. During examination, Taylor says scammers were operating under multiple names to lure timeshare owners to sales presentations. For showing up, the owners would supposedly receive $250 shopping cards, as well as information on how to eliminate timeshare maintenance fees, or legally exit their timeshares.
Assistant Attorney General John Haley said scammers will often target a certain demographic.
“Scammers are looking for people who feel desperate or upset already, and I think there’s a lot of people who are upset that it’s not easier to get out of their timeshare as it is, or they can’t get the amount of money that they spent if they are trying to sell it,” Haley says.
The department of law points to nine Alaskan consumers being targeted, with scammers saying they needed to get out of their timeshare commitments immediately, and if they didn’t, they were told they’d face higher fees and pass down fees to children and grandkids.
These nine individuals reportedly paid more than $113,000 to the scammers who claimed that these consumers needed to pay large sums of money right away to get out of their agreements.
“I think the big common denominator is they don’t want you to think, they don’t want you to talk to other people about the decision you’re going to make,” Haley explained. “They want you to do something fast and I think we see that over and over again.”
According to Haley, there’s not one easy solution and fines are not always easy to get back. In the complaint filed, two of the defendants are under a federal indictment and therefore the federal government is seeking money back from them. In this instance, more than $1 million is owed.
The department of law reminds residents to be vigilant and be wary of any companies that ask for upfront payments. Also, it says, understand that the timeshare market is saturated so it can be very difficult to resell your timeshare for the full price.
“An ounce of prevention is better then a pound of enforcement sometimes,” Haley said.
The defendants in this case have been served but no trial date has officially been set. According to Haley, typically in similar cases there may not be resolve for 18 months.
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