(September 13, 2013) — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced yesterday the settlement of a major timeshare consumer protection case involving Jonathan and Christine Gibbs of Olympia, who owned the timeshare transfer company We Collect Timeshares. Ferguson’s office filed a civil complaint against the couple in June, 2013, for unlawful conduct.
The Gibbs claim to have handled over 30,000 timeshare transfers across the nation. At least 1,500 Washington consumers were victims of the Gibbs’ timeshare and travel schemes.
The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has recovered $1.2 million from Jonathan Gibbs. This will cover full restitution for Washington state victims, between $1k-$20k, and all attorneys fees.
“This large, complex scheme involved unfair and deceptive business practices that harmed hundreds of victims locally and thousands nationwide,” said Ferguson. “This settlement will assist Washington consumers and sends the message that if you don’t play by the rules, we’ll hold you accountable.”
As part of their layered schemes, the Gibbs offered to transfer timeshare ownership from people who no longer wished to own their timeshares. The couple would then facilitate a ‘transfer,’ but would not pay the underlying obligation or maintenance on the properties. Without telling consumers, they transferred timeshares to their own businesses, or paid people to have their signatures put on title documents.
Following the lawsuit, Christine Gibbs cooperated by agreeing to facilitate the return of timeshare properties throughout the United States. In exchange for her significant assistance, she is dismissed as a party. She denies any wrongdoing.
Jonathan Gibbs denies any wrongdoing, but agrees to not sell or buy timeshares or travel-related products.
This settlement provides timeshare resorts throughout the United States that were also duped by the Gibbs an opportunity to obtain titles to timeshares. These titles were transferred by the Gibbs’ into their numerous shell companies, or are held in the names of individuals that were paid for their signatures on timeshare deeds. Resorts that want to avoid the costs of foreclosure or default proceedings on these timeshares can determine if the return process in the settlement is a quicker and less costly method for them to regain timeshares or timeshare points.
Washington victims will be contacted by the AGO for refund information. Resorts will be contacted by representatives of the Gibbs for information on how to return timeshares. Contact for both consumers and resorts will occur in the next 30 days.
To see the entire complaint please go to: Complaint against Jonathon and Christine Gibbs (PDF file)