Timeshare Companies are the Last Legal Fraud, Dave Ramsey Show, May 20, 2021
In a twist of fate, Dave Ramsey’s 2021 “Bring it!” taunt, intended for Michael Flaskey, former CEO of Diamond Resorts, was instead brought on by 17 former Dave Ramsey fans who say they relied on Dave’s endorsement of Reed Hein, aka Timeshare Exit Team, when seeking an exit from their unwanted timeshares. Attorneys representing Dave Ramsey filed a Motion to Dismiss and/or Strike Plaintiffs’ Complaint on August 10, 2023. The $150 million lawsuit was filed on April 28, 2023.
Celebrity endorsements are not unusual. Celebrities Steve Harvey and Laura Ingraham also endorsed Timeshare Exit Team.
Timeshare Exit Team Nationally Endorsed By The Steve Harvey Morning Show
Resort Release Nationally Endorsed by Laura Ingraham
Some plaintiffs allege that they were not aware that Dave was being paid to endorse. Dave was upfront in his 2021 rant about the timeshare industry. He states that Reed Hein was a Dave Ramsey Show advertiser in his May 20, 2021 comments: (beginning at 1 hour, 51 minute): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-RSvw-GRJc
If something gives you grief, we will try to help you with it. We don’t endorse things on this show unless we believe in them. I don’t put my name or my voice on something merely for money. The most successful endorsements we’ve done on this show are things to do with a problem you have – we connect you with someone that is an advertiser to solve that.
Timeshare Exit team is run – running out of money so pulled off our show because they could not afford to advertise anymore. That’s why you don’t hear them on the air here anymore.
Like Timeshare Exit Team, Resort Release was also gang-sued out of business. The strategy is backfiring. I have personally noticed a groundswell in no-name exit companies contacting me to offer “help” with my timeshare. A Diamond Resorts member forwarded the following offer he received to buy his Diamond points for $178,750 – points that have no resale value. No honest broker we’re aware of (those who do not charge upfront), will even accept a listing for Diamond points due to stringent secondary market restrictions.
The bogus offer: For your consideration on sale of points 8/11/23
1) In conversations with Diamond/Hilton Max the current point value is $8.00 a point and over. I need $5.50 a point to exclude commission. ($178,750) payable to Xxxx Xxxxx.
2) Transaction will have to be by bonded/insured Realtor and Title Company. Companies will be vetted by Diamond/HiltonMax, Ardaroc, and my attorney.
3) Diamond/Hilton Max legal will review transfer and approve transfer.
4) Payment will be by certified check and points will not be released by Diamond/Hilton Max until money is in the bank.
5) No upfront monies will be paid by seller at anytime. Buyer will have to pay Title Insurance.
6) All reservations will be honored. 2024 points will be rolled over to Hilton Honors. Sale will start with 2025 points
Who’s the Real Culprit?
If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that people need support, especially when default is the only option. Hal, a former Westgate Resorts owner, reached out to us because he and his wife could no longer drive long distances. Both had been diagnosed with cancer. I had read a Resorts Trades, article about ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit and corresponding website. Westgate was listed as one of the founders. I referred Hal to Westgate’s Legacy page, located on the website, and asked him to report back. Hal responded, “I was transferred to a supervisor who said, ‘We don’t take them back, and that’s not our website.’” Hal called into the Dave Ramsey Show (at 1:25 on May 20, 2021), explaining how he was eventually released only because he offered to be a witness in a lawsuit.
From the article: The coalition includes Club Wyndham, Diamond, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, Margaritaville, Marriott, Shell, Sheraton, Vistana, Welk, Westgate, Westin, Worldmark and Capital Resorts. Bluegreen and others are expected to join soon.
DEFENDANTS MOTION TO DISMISS AND/OR STRIKE PLAINTIFFS’ COMPLAINT
Italicized are excerpts from the lawsuit. Citations are omitted.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE Case No. 2:23-cv-00630-JLR
ANNA PATRICK, DOUGLAS MORRILL, ROSEANNE MORRILL, LEISA GARRETT, ROBERT NIXON, SAMANTHA NIXON, DAVID BOTTONFIELD, ROSEMARIE BOTTONFIELD, TASHA RYAN, ROGELIO VARGAS, MARILYN DEWEY, PETER ROLLINS, RACHAEL ROLLINS, KATRINA BENNY, SARA ERICKSON, GREG LARSON, and JAMES KING, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. DAVID L. RAMSEY, III, individually; HAPPY HOUR MEDIA GROUP, LLC, a Washington limited liability company; THE LAMPO GROUP, LLC, a Tennessee limited liability company, Defendants.
Hearing Date: September 15, 2023
Plaintiffs filed this case as a class action, seeking to represent a nationwide class of thousands of people who allegedly heard and/or relied on the Lampo Defendants’ supposed misrepresentations made on radio broadcasts and in other forums. It is clear from the face of the Complaint that these putative class members—who cannot be reasonably identified—heard different statements at different times and will have to prove individual issues of reliance and causation to prevail on their claims.
The proposed class should not and cannot be certified, as a matter of law, for several independently dispositive reasons:
- The proposed class is an overly broad fail-safe class that improperly bases membership in the class on whether a person has proven their case against the Lampo Defendants.
- The proposed class cannot establish that common issues will predominate over individual issues as a matter of law.
- The Complaint shows that a class action is not the superior method of litigating the issues in this case.
A class is impermissibly “fail-safe” if it is “defined to include only those individuals who were injured by the allegedly unlawful conduct.” (“A fail-safe class is one with a definition that aligns with the elements of the class’s claim such that finding no liability for the defendants would necessarily exclude all members from the class.”).
Defendants therefore request that the Court dismiss the class allegations with prejudice.
In addition, Plaintiffs’ claim of unjust enrichment must be dismissed because Plaintiffs have not pled—and could not plead—that they ever paid or otherwise gave any benefit directly to the Lampo Defendants.
Further, the claims of several named Plaintiffs are either entirely or partially barred by the relevant statutes of limitation and should be dismissed accordingly.
- The Unjust-Enrichment Claim Should Be Dismissed.
- The Court Should Strike the Class Allegations.
- Once the Class Allegations Are Stricken, the Complaint Should Be Dismissed.
- Several Plaintiffs’ Claims Are Barred by the Statutes of Limitation.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Reed Hein was in the business of “exiting” consumers from their timeshare obligations through various means, including by hiring attorneys who would negotiate with the timeshare companies. As part of the process, Reed Hein required its customers to make an upfront payment that it could use in its negotiations with the timeshare companies. Plaintiffs apparently admit this business model worked for Reed Hein and for consumers until six major timeshare companies began to resist Reed Hein’s tactics and harass their customers, creating a backlog of customers. According to Plaintiffs, despite these problems, Reed Hein continued to sign up, and take money from customers that it could not assist, resulting in harm to Plaintiffs and thousands of others.
Plaintiffs do not allege that the Lampo Defendants had anything to do with Reed Hein’s internal business operations.
Common issues will not predominate for the proposed class.
The Complaint also makes evident that even among themselves, Plaintiffs did not see or rely on the same alleged misrepresentations. Some of them allegedly heard Dave Ramsey promote Reed Hein on the radio but do not specify what exactly they heard or when they heard it, while others went to live seminars, and still others were allegedly induced by a Lampo Group website, or may have read something in a newsletter or heard a podcast.
This is complicated further by the fact that every Plaintiff and every class member had his or her own individual interaction with Reed Hein, independently and in addition to whatever he or she heard from the Lampo Defendants. And the Complaint explains at length that Reed Hein allegedly made numerous misrepresentations of its own that class members saw or heard.
After the Court strikes the class allegations, it should also dismiss the Complaint in its entirety due to a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
DATED this 10th day of August, 2023.
I certify that this memorandum contains 7,354 words, in compliance with the Local Civil Rules.
MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP, Attorneys for Defendants David L. Ramsey, III
By: s/ Damon C. Elder, WSBA No. 46754, Patty A. Eakes, WSBA No. 18888, Tyler Weaver, WSBA No. 29413, Andrew DeCarlow, WSBA No. 54471, Seattle, WA 98101
Why the Non-reliance Clause is Unfair in Timeshare Contracts
Our Beloved Lahaina and Rhodes
Thank you, Irene, for keeping us informed on this development, it is a very serious concern to consumers who do tend to rely on “endorsements” which come in many forms. The one thing they all have in common, are the “celebrities” who we believe and trust, most of the time the product or service they are endorsing is genuine, but there are many more that have turned out to be nothing more than scams.
In the end, it is down to responsibility, who is ultimately responsible, the celebrity or the company being endorsed?
We believe it is the person endorsing that is responsible, they are not doing so for free, they get paid to endorse, it is part and parcel of being a “celebrity” and making money from your name. It may be the celebrities “agent” putting the deals together, but it is the celebrity that signs the contract and agreement. It is their name that will be up in lights for all the world to see, should they not be responsible for ensuring their name is being used for genuine reasons, or is the temptation of “greed” too much for them?
Once again I will leave you the reader to answer.
That’s it for this week, we hope you all have a great weekend and please keep in your thoughts those who have lost everything, wherever in the world it is. Baby Dog has come around for a rest from his Hooman Cousins, Too much time down the park me thinks.