A Platte County man and his business have been sued by the Missouri Attorney General for allegedly defrauding citizens across the state.
According to a lawsuit filed in Platte City, Steven Martin and his company, Martin Management, told customers they would get them out of their time shares or get their money back.
“Martin Management would extract more money from its clients by promising that only one fee stood between them and final release from their time shares,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a news release.
According to the lawsuit, the attorney general has received almost 30 consumer complaints about Martin Management.
News-Press NOW requested those complaints, but was told by the attorney general’s office that they aren’t required to be released under open records law.
“Defendants regularly failed to perform by promised deadlines, failed to terminate consumers’ time share obligations, and failed to reimburse consumer deposits as promised,” the lawsuit alleged.
In the suit, Martin Management is alleged to have taken consumers’ money, and then allowed consumer’s time shares to be foreclosed on.
“Several consumers are in arrears with their time share holders over unpaid maintenance fees as a direct consequence of these misrepresentations,” Schmitt said in the suit.
Jason Gamel, the CEO of the American Resort Development Association, said consumers could get themselves out of time shares by failing to pay on their own.
Instead of using a “time share exit” company, Gamel said consumers should consult directly with their time share company.
“Our members often have programs where an (time share) owner can look to sell their time share or give it to a friend or family member,” he said. “These exit companies are really a third iteration of a time share scam.”
Gamel said consumers looking to exit their time share can visit responsibleexit.com, a website run by ARDA.
“There’s nothing in particular that these companies can do (that a consumer can’t),” he said. “On our website we often talk about not paying an up front fee for a service, especially if they’re taking two or three years to perform it.”