The American Resort Development Association –Resort Owner’s Coalition (ARDA-ROC), representing over 1.5 million timeshare owners, applauded Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for filing a consumer protection lawsuit against Brian Scroggs, Bart Bowe and their Bentonville-based company Real Travel, LLC for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“Timeshare owners all over the country are being scammed by timeshare exit companies,” said Robert Clements, VP of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel of The American Resort Development Association. “The Attorney General’s lawsuit will help shed more light on these exit schemes that have operated in the shadows for too long. Until there is a greater understanding of these exit companies and how they operate, which the Attorrney General’s lawsuit will help expose, I fear the abuses will only worsen. We urge consumers who believe they are a victim of an exit company scam to report it.”
Owners who have been unfairly taken advantage of or defrauded by an exit company should contact their state’s Attorney General (ConsumerResources.org), the Attorney General in the state where the business is located, their local BBB office, or local law enforcement. For additional help contacting these resources, consumers can reach out to the ARDA-ROC Consumer Support Team at 1-855-939-1515.
The timeshare industry, which has over nine million owners and generates over 540,000 jobs and $10.8 billion in federal, state and local taxes in the U.S., has become a target for unscrupulous individuals and companies. As a result, the industry has increased its engagement with owners who want to understand safe timeshare exit options, often directly through their developer or property manager, which may be available for exiting their product. This information can be found at www.responsibleexit.com.
Red flags of exit and resale scams for timeshare owners to be aware of are:
- Calls or emails claiming to have an “interested buyer” for a timeshare;
- Caller claiming to be a representative of ARDA or ARDA-ROC. Fact: ARDA and ARDA-ROC only responds to inquiries from owners after an inbound request – there are absolutely no unsolicited calls, emails or communications;
- A company promises to modify, cancel or transfer an owner’s timeshare for a large upfront fee;
- A company requests an upfront fee, or the wire transfer of money for a “service,” “tax” or other “requirement” for the sale or transfer to be completed;
- If an offer sounds too good to be true, it likely is.