On Your Side: Missouri attorney general announces lawsuit against company going out

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) – Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced that the state had obtained a consent decree against Vacation Consulting Services, LLC; VCS Communications, LLC; The Transfer Group, LLC; True Travel, LLC; and their manager Brian Scroggs for failing to release customers from their time agreements.

Scroggs owns Vacation Consulting Services, a Missouri-based company that offers timeshare services abroad.

“One of my top priorities as attorney general is to enforce the law as it is written, and that includes holding fraudulent companies accountable for ripping off Missourians,” said Attorney General Bailey.

“This settlement is a testament to the work that the Consumer Protection Division of this agency does every day to protect Missourians. We will continue to use any legal resources available to pursue justice for victims of consumer fraud.

The state filed a complaint against the defendant in July 2020 for violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. After more than 2 years of intense litigation in court, the defendants agreed to settle the case for $800,000. That figure includes $700,000 for restitution to customers, $50,000 in civil penalties, and $50,000 in the Missouri Practices Revolving Fund, which will help pay for the state’s pursuit of more future actions on behalf of fraudulent customers.

The lawsuit enjoins Scroggs and other defendants from marketing or selling services outside of the state of Missouri. While the court is determining the restitution amount, Scroggs has filed for bankruptcy protection. The attorney general’s office continues to pursue Scroggs in bankruptcy court to try to recover as much as possible from the sellers.

The consent judgment can be read here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2023-01-06-consent-judgment(13807993-2).pdf?sfvrsn=207a25e6_2 Attorney General Bailey advises Missourians who believe they may have been the victim of a scam or unfair practice to file a complaint by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline at 800-392-8222, or by submitting a claim online at ago.mo.gov.

Timeshare Exit Advice

  • For customers who wish to exit the timeshare contract, they should reach out directly to the timeshare to see if they offer a deed-back or exit program. If a program is not available, consult an attorney for further legal advice.
  • Be careful about making advance payments to outsourcing companies for the work they promise.
  • Written guarantees from outsourcing companies may not offer the protections or promises that consumers expect.
  • Do your research. Research the owners and the business carefully before paying any money.
  • Check with the Attorney General’s office and the BBB for complaints before doing any business with an offshore company.
  • If you believe you have been misled, you can contact the Missouri Attorney General’s office Consumer Protection hotline at 800-392-8222 or visit their website at www.ago.mo.gov

General Timeshare Advice

  • Look first at the secondary market. If you are interested in buying a timeshare, you can save thousands on the resale market. Be fully aware of what you are buying and who you are buying from to ensure a smooth transaction. Make sure your deed contains the terms of the sale and what each party is responsible for paying at closing. Read the contract carefully and ask the customer questions.
  • Don’t bow to pressure. Take some time to think about your decision. Ask the seller to send you written information about your potential purchase, including a contract that you can review. There is nothing that says you have to sign the first thing that is shown to you. Try the deal before you know if it’s right for you.
  • Do your research. Compare travel savings with online travel agencies or local agents. Also, check the company with the Attorney General’s office and the BBB.
  • Quick action if you are not satisfied. If you sign a contract for a timeshare or travel club, you have a short window to cancel the contract if you’re not happy with what you bought. Don’t wait until you get back from your trip to double-check the contract and research the company you’re dealing with or it might be too late. Also, always pay with a credit card so you can challenge the payment if something goes wrong with the purchase.

To report a correction or error, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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