by: Bailey Strohl and Ivie Macy, Ozarks First
The owners of a local timeshare exit company are ordered to pay back more than $1 million to the people they scammed. Victims will be waiting on Wednesday, May 5, to see if they will receive nearly $10,000 in restitution.
Real Travel would scam people by convincing customers it would liquidate, cancel or transfer their unwanted timeshares. However, Real Travel wouldn’t honor its agreements with customers and leave them burdened with the ownership of their unwanted timeshares on top of associated costs and fees Real Travel would charge for its “services.”
During an investigation, the Attorney General’s Office found 88 consumers scammed by Real Travel’s timeshare scheme. Dan Reed is one of those 88 people.
“You’re invited July 2 and 3 for a complimentary meal for two,” said Reed. “Had a marvelous story. A good sales pitch.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said tactics like good sales pitches and stories are common among scammers.
“They were selling products and services that they had no intentions of delivering on,” said Rutledge. “Taking advantage of elderly, Arkansans and Missourians helping them to get out of a timeshare. A very confusing process.”
Reed said he wrote a check for approximately $9,000 and was promised Real Travel would take care of the rest.
“Then I started getting bills for my maintenance fees…what the heck is this?” said Reed. “So, I called down there, and I said, “We sold this thing,” I called down there for it with the phone number he gave, used the card that he gave us with Real Travel. Just a run-around. Nothing.”
While Reed waits for his restitution, he said he’s only glad the owners aren’t able to hurt anyone else.
“There’s nothing else I can feel but good about that because these guys are out now, crooks,” said Reed. “They’re liars, they’re thieves, they’re embezzlers, they’re whatever you want to mention. Jail time is not good enough for them.”
Real Travel and co-owner Brian Scroggs are now barred from doing any business in Arkansas involving timeshares.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against several timeshare exit companies, including Vacation Consulting Services LLC, VCS Communications, LLC, The Transfer Group, LLC, and Real Travel.