Missouri Attorney General Files Suit Against Springfield-Based Timeshare Exit Businesses
SPRINGFIELD, Mo – A group of Springfield, Missouri, timeshare exit businesses that were the focus of an October 2018 Better Business Bureau (BBB) consumer warning and were prominently mentioned in BBB’s June 2019 study on Missouri’s timeshare exit industry are under scrutiny by the state.
In July 2020, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt charged Brian Scroggs with violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act while operating Vacation Consulting Services, VCS Communications, LLC, The Transfer Group and Real Travel LLC.
In its filing, entered July 1 in Greene County Circuit Court, the Attorney General’s Office said it received 103 consumer complaints and estimated consumers suffered over $700,000 in ascertainable losses.
The suit seeks a permanent injunction against Scroggs, prohibiting him from marketing, advertising, offering to sell timeshares or timeshare-exit services. It also asks for full restitution to all customers.
“BBB applauds the Missouri Attorney General’s action,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB St. Louis president and CEO. “Hopefully this is a big step in helping consumers regain their hard-earned money.”
The lawsuit is the second filed in recent months by Schmitt’s office against timeshare exit companies which BBB St. Louis previously had warned consumers. In February 2020, Schmitt filed suit against Martin Management Group, which was the focus of an October 2017 consumer warning. That case is pending.
“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,” Schmitt said in a press release.
At the time of the BBB’s June 2019 study consumers had reported more than $670,000 in losses to Scroggs’ businesses to BBB. Today, those businesses combined have received more than 200 complaints from consumers from across the United States.
A woman from Maplewood, Missouri, was among those who reported losing money to the company. She told BBB she paid Vacation Consulting Services nearly $25,000 to get her out of a timeshare holding in September 2017. The woman claimed the company did nothing for her.
“They just kept our money,” the woman said.
Missouri is the second state to take action against Scroggs. In August 2019, the Arkansas Attorney General filed suit against Real Travel LLC, claiming it had violated the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. That case is pending.
BBB offers these tips on how to exit a timeshare holding:
- Before paying any money, research the company and its owners. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at org or by calling 888-996-3887.
- Contact the resort that originally sold you the timeshare to see if it has a deed-back program.
- Before paying any upfront money, make sure you have a signed contract outlining what is to be done, a timetable and an explanation of what happens if the business doesn’t completely get you out of your timeshare within the specified period of time.
- Be wary of anyone claiming that they have a buyer for your timeshare or who promises to rent your timeshare, especially if they ask for an upfront fee.
- Pay with a credit card in case you need to challenge the purchase later.
- If you feel you have been misled, file complaints with BBB and the state’s attorney general’s office.
- For more information about the timeshare exit industry, refer to a study BBB released in June 2019.