SPRINGFIELD, MO (October 31, 2017)
etter Business Bureau (BBB) is advising consumers to use caution when doing business with Escape Resolutions, a Springfield, Mo., timeshare liquidation company. In complaints filed with BBB, customers claim the business has failed to make good on money back guarantees, and they have had difficulty communicating with the business.
Complainants tell BBB the business guarantees timeshares will be liquidated within a year. In addition, consumers tell BBB the company did not meet the deadline, and requests for refunds were ignored by the company.
A Springfield woman told BBB she gave the company $4,995 in October 2016 to liquidate a timeshare her family had in Branson. The woman told BBB she has had little contact with the company.
“I leave messages, but no one calls back,” she told BBB in an interview.
Escape Resolutions is owned by Travis Dibben of Springfield. The business was registered with the Missouri Secretary of State on Nov. 3, 2015. The business has been the focus of 32 complaints filed with BBB, 24 filed since February 2017. The business has 12 pending complaints. Thirteen recent complaints were closed as unanswered and another was closed as unresolved. The business has an “F” rating, the lowest on BBB’s scale.
Dibben said the company’s complaints are the result of actions of a third-party closing company he said the company no longer uses. Dibben blamed the company’s communication problems on a new phone system.
“You miss one person’s call and all of the sudden you are seen as being a scam company in this industry,” Dibben told BBB in an interview.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said the company appears to prey on consumers eager to get out from under their costly timeshares.
“Trying to get out of a contract is never an easy process,” Corey said. “This business is selling a quick fix when there may not be one.”
Complainants told BBB the company markets its product by calling consumers and meeting them in small seminar gatherings throughout the United States. BBB has received complaints about Escape Resolutions from 20 different states.
BBB believes language in the company’s “Liquidation Service Agreement” may be confusing to the consumer. The agreement reads: “ER’s Money Back Guarantee. Owner understands if ER is unable to complete the transfer of the above stated timeshare or points interest within 12 months from the date of first available usage, ER will refund Owner the complete service cost within 5 business days. ER will not be held responsible for delays caused by Owner during the transfer process and may disqualify Owner from the Money Back Guarantee.”
Complainants have reported they believe based on their agreement with the company that their timeshares would be sold within a year of them signing a contract with Escape Resolutions. Dibben told BBB that the “first available usage” of any timeshare would not be until January of the following year from when the contract is signed. Dibben told BBB some customers would not qualify for the money back guarantee because of delays on getting paperwork to the company.
BBB spoke with Escape Resolutions customers whose timeshare liquidations were still in limbo. Many said they had to continue to pay maintenance fees on their timeshares while Escape Resolutions handled the liquidation process.
An O’Fallon, Ill., woman told BBB she paid the company $3,499 in February 2016 to liquidate a timeshare. She told BBB she was asked by the company to sign a transfer paper in July 2017 but does not know if the transfer took place. She told BBB attempts to reach the business in recent months have failed.
“It’s been a bad experience from beginning to now,” she told BBB. “We wish we would have never started this process with them.”
A Long Beach, Calif., man told BBB he paid Escape Resolutions $2,525 to liquidate a timeshare in 2015. He has had to pay $1,600 in maintenance fees during the liquidation process. He was told the process would take between nine and 12 months. It has been 22 months since he hired the company. The timeshare has yet to be transferred.
“This was the first time that I ignored the advice about not paying for something up front, but I was so anxious to get rid of (his timeshare),” the man told told BBB.
A St. Louis Park, Minn., man told BBB he signed a contract with Escape Resolutions in the fall of 2015, paying the company $4,900 to liquidate his timeshare. He was told it would only take a few months to complete the work, but he still has the timeshare.
“Stay away,” the man said. “Don’t go to the meeting. You feel slimy when you’re done dealing with them. They’re like every other telemarketer – they overpromise, overcharge and under deliver.”
Two customers told BBB that Escape Resolutions employees contacted them after they filed complaints with BBB.
A Brookline, Mass., woman who had paid the company $3,900 in October 2015 to liquidate her timeshare told BBB she was having trouble communicating with the company until she filed a BBB complaint.
“The person I spoke with said that if I dropped the complaint that this could get done a lot sooner,” the woman told BBB.
A Stewartsville, Mo., man who paid the company $8,700 in August 2016 to liquidate two timeshares told BBB he was contacted by Dibben after filing a complaint.
“He said, ‘I need for you say it’s okay and good,” the man said.
An Oceanside, Calif., woman told BBB she would “absolutely not recommend” the company even though she was able to get her time share liquidated. She gave Escape Resolution $5,009 in January 2016 and said the process was completed in August 2017.
“We were guaranteed that it was going to take less than a year and it took a year and eight months,” the woman told BBB. “Their communication was poor. Had we been told in the beginning that this was going to take two years to get done, we might have done things differently. It was not easy at all.”
On its website, Escape Resolutions said its goal it so help educate people so they “don’t fall victim” to scams.
“There are many scams happening in the timeshare, vacation ownership industry,” the website reads. “It’s hard to tell who’s trying to help you and who’s just trying to get into your pocket. Escape Resolutions helps people avoid being scammed and will help those who have already been scammed recover their money.”
Dibben also owns and operates Paramount Communications LLC, a telemarketing company in Nixa. His companies operate under W.I.T. Organization LLC, which used to be known as Travis Dibben Enterprises LLC.
According to Missouri court records, the Missouri Department of Revenue filed a tax lien of $42,400 against Dibben in August 2017.
BBB offers the following tips for consumers attempting to liquidate a timeshare:
- Research the business and owners carefully before signing a contract, providing any sensitive personal information or paying any money. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org or by calling 888-996-3887.
- Before paying anything, make sure you have a signed contract outlining what is to be done, a timetable and an explanation of what happens if the business or the consumer doesn’t comply with the agreement.
- Be wary of anyone claiming that he has a buyer for your timeshare or who promises to rent your timeshare, especially if he asks for an upfront fee.
- If you feel you have been victimized in a timeshare scheme, file complaints with BBB and the state attorney general’s office.
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PRESS RELEASE SOURCE: BBB