Timeshare News

Florida Judge Rules Against Fraudulent Timeshare Exit Firm

June 17, 2019
Florida Judge Rules Against Fraudulent Timeshare Exit Firm

A judge for the United States District Court Middle District of Florida Orlando recently ruled against Mitchell Reed Sussman & Associates, a California-based timeshare exit company that deceived its clients, scammed them out of large amounts of money, and made promises they couldn't uphold.

The lawsuit was brought on by Westgate Resorts, a timeshare company headquartered in Orlando, Florida, with timeshare locations all across the country. According to a press release from ARDA, Westgate Resorts accused Mitchell Reed Sussman & Associates of "tortious interference with existing contracts and violating Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act."

According to the court order, Sussman claimed to be an expert in getting timeshare owners out of their timeshare obligations. He ordered timeshare owners to 1) end all payments on their timeshare 2) send demand letters to their timeshare developer and 3) record another owner on the timeshare property deed. Sussman didn't offer this advice without collecting a large up-front fee, one of the many red flags of a timeshare exit scam. Sussman then told timeshare owners they got off without penalty thanks to his skillful negotiations. Despite this "expert" advice, none of these steps actually release a timeshare owner of their obligations.

The court order also called out other timeshare exit companies, particularly Reed Hein & Associates, which was built on the unlawful, untruthful, and deceitful business model of Mitchell Sussman at Mitchell Reed Sussman & Associates.

VP of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel of ARDA, Robert Clements, stated "This is another case where timeshare owners were deceived into paying large upfront fees for services that the exit company knew it could not deliver."

"The court found the scheme didn't stop there. Owners were told to stop all communication with their timeshare company while the exit company kept them in the dark about the status of their matter. The final insult came when the exit company told the owners they were out of their timeshare, only to find out later that was false, leaving many of the owners in a worse situation with damaged credit, facing a foreclosure and no refund of the fees they paid to the exit company," continued Clements in the ARDA press release.

Westgate Resorts Chief Business Officer, Jared Saft, was concerned about timeshare owners being scammed and told lies in such a deceitful way. "Many of these consumers were long-term owners that had happily used their timeshare over many years and were lured into this exit scheme by false statements and misrepresentations, and in all cases were not aware of the fraud that was being committed on their behalf," said Saft.

In the past few years, Westgate Resorts launched The Legacy Program, which specifically addresses and discusses the needs of timeshare owners who are looking for a way to safely exit their timeshare whether that be to a family member, a resale, or back to the developer.

ARDA has also created a resource for timeshare owners to explore exit options, ResponsibleExit.com.

For more information from our source, click here. For more information on safely exiting your timeshare, click here.

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