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Dave Ramsey demandado por $150 millones por antiguos fanáticos que siguieron su consejo de salida de tiempo compartido

Por Bob Smietana
dave ramsey timeshare
A group of former followers of Dave Ramsey has sued the Christian finance guru for endorsing a failed timeshare exit company that allegedly defrauded customers out of millions. (Video screengrab)

A group of former followers of Dave Ramsey has sued the Christian finance guru and radio host, along with his company and a marketing firm, for endorsing a failed timeshare exit company that allegedly defrauded customers out of millions.

Seventeen former Ramsey listeners filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington alleging Ramsey was paid as much as $30 million from 2015 to 2021 to endorse Timeshare Exit Team, a Kirkland, Washington-based firm that collected $200 million from clients — many of them Ramsey listeners — in exchange for a promise to free them from their timeshare obligations.

That promise came with a money-back guarantee.

But the company, which often collected more than $5,000 per customer, failed to live up to its promises. In 2021, Reed Hein & Associates LLC, which did business as Timeshare Exit Team, paid $2.61 million to settle a deceptive business practices lawsuit filed by the attorney general of Washington state and later went out of business.

The lawsuit alleges that Ramsey, Timeshare Exit Team and Happy Hour Media Group, a marketing firm with ties to Brandon Reed, one of the founders of Timeshare Exit Team, violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act by defrauding customers, committed “negligent malpresentation” and were guilty of “unjust enrichment” and conspiracy.

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A class-action lawsuit against Dave Ramsey, his company The Lampo Group, and marketing firm Happy Hour Media Group has been filed in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington. (Screengrab)

The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $150 million.

Plaintiffs allege they relied on Ramsey’s enthusiastic support for Timeshare Exit Team and his expertise in finance when they decided to do business with the company.

Known for his hatred of timeshare companies, Ramsey had boasted about his confidence in the expertise of the Timeshare Exit Team. In a 2018 segment of his show, a video of which remains on the YouTube page of “The Ramsey Show,” Ramsey told listeners he had looked for years to find a company that could help people get out of timeshares.

“I never could find anything until I found this company called Timeshare Exit Team,” he said in the segment, which touted the company’s money-back guarantee. “About three years ago, we started endorsing them and I’ve had so much fun pissing off the timeshare people.”

As previously reported, Ramsey stuck by the company, despite its legal troubles and allegations it had defrauded customers — claiming government officials, reporters and the timeshare industry had conspired against them.

“Instead of acknowledging the deception, Ramsey recorded a nine-minute radio segment in which he lashed out at anyone he felt to be responsible for Reed Hein’s woes,” the complaint alleges.

The complaint also details the tactics allegedly used by Reed Hein to defraud Ramsey’s listeners. After signing contracts with customers, the company would allegedly tell them to stop paying their timeshare fees and created fake property deeds aimed at convincing those customers they were free of their timeshares.

“When customers finally discovered the schemes and demanded their refunds, Reed Hein fabricated excuses not to honor the promises or stopped returning their calls,” the complaint alleges.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that Ramsey should have known better than to endorse Timeshare Exit Team. The complaint alleges the Lampo Group he runs, which does business as Ramsey Solutions, began receiving complaints about Timeshare Exit Team as early as 2016 and continued to endorse the company even after the Better Business Bureau warned consumers about Timeshare Exit Team and courts found the company had acted in a fraudulent manner.

Ramsey has gained the trust of millions of followers through his long-running radio show, conferences and “Financial Peace University,” a faith-based personal finance program taught in churches around the country. His expertise, the complaint alleges, should have made him aware that Timeshare Exit Team was not to be trusted.

“However, Reed Hein made many claims that any competent financial advisor with Dave Ramsey’s knowledge and skill would know to be false, and it engaged in many activities Dave Ramsey would have known to be illegal,” according to the complaint.

dave ramsey timeshare
An ad showing Dave Ramsey’s endorsement of Timeshare Exit Team. (Excerpt from court records)

The lawsuit also names Happy Hour Media Group, which the complaint alleges helped promote Timeshare Exit Team. Happy Hour was co-founded by Brandon Reed, who also co-founded Timeshare Exit Team. According to Washington state’s attorney general, Reed had been a rain gutter salesman when he founded Timeshare Exit Team and started the company after seeing a long line at another timeshare exit company’s booth at a trade show. He had no legal expertise or experience getting people out of timeshares.

The company’s sales exploded after it began to advertise on Ramsey’s radio show, according to the complaint. The company stopped advertising on Ramsey’s show in 2021, which Ramsey blamed on the cost of fighting “a massive set of lawsuits” against it.

Happy Hour did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Neither did Ramsey Solutions.

Among the plaintiffs named in the complaint is Greg Larson, a longtime Ramsey listener and shipyard worker who allegedly heard Ramsey’s endorsement of Timeshare Exit Team “hundreds of times” before contacting the company. Other plaintiffs include health care workers, retirees and others who had become Ramsey followers through their churches or the radio show.

The complaint details the relationship between Ramsey and Timeshare Exit Team, one of the “endorsed local providers” who rely on Ramsey for business leads. Ramsey Solutions would collect those leads through its church-based programs, the company’s website and newsletters.

Ramsey’s followers were not aware he or his company were paid for their endorsements or for referrals, according to the complaint. It was a profitable enterprise for both parties, according to the complaint.

“During the period Dave Ramsey was promoting Reed Hein’s scheme, customers referred to Reed Hein by Defendants paid Reed Hein in excess of $70 million in fees for timeshare ‘exit,’” according to the complaint. “Ramsey never returned any of the tens of millions of dollars Reed Hein and Happy Hour Media Group paid him from his own listeners’ hard-earned money.

“Instead, Ramsey has chosen to profit from his listeners’ money.”

For his part, Ramsey defended Timeshare Exit Team in public while distancing himself from the company behind the scenes. The Christian finance guru was subpoenaed by Washington state’s attorney general in its lawsuit against Timeshare Exit Team. His lawyers objected, saying he was too busy to be deposed and he was not responsible for the endorsement.

“While he has promoted Lampo’s endorsement of Reed Hein on his radio program and on social media, he is not responsible for the details of the Reed Hein relationship,” his attorneys wrote. 

The class-action lawsuit is the latest legal woe for Ramsey and his company. Several former employees have sued the company for discrimination, including one who was despedido after telling her boss she was pregnant and another who claimed the company tenido a “cultlike” environment.”

Though a private company, Ramsey Solutions is run like a church; employees are expected to maintain a “godly” lifestyle and attend regular worship services at work. The company was once named one of the best places to work in the country, but its reputation has taken a hit in recent years due to Ramsey’s outspoken objection to COVID-19 restrictions and the company’s “no-gossip” policy, which has often resulted in employees who complain being fired and fostered a culture where employees are encouraged to report on each other for rules violations.

Despite his legal troubles, Ramsey has remained defiant. His approach is perhaps best summed up in his 2021 defense of Timeshare Exit Team, even though the company was dropped as an advertiser. 

“Bring it,” he said. “You have done poked the wrong bear. You done pissed off the wrong hillbilly.”

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana es reportero nacional de Religion News Service.

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35 Respuestas

  1. i find it so entertaining when grifters, err I mean, financial wizards us flowery Christianly verbiage to use as the basis to believe them. I once bought tires from a company that used the Christian symbol to show their integrity. The tires fell apart and never got a refund. The more Christianly a business exudes the bigger the red flag. I never believed Ramsey and now along with his former employees are showing he is just another grifter making a fortune off of weak-minded people who assume “if its Christian it must be honest”. Have fun trying to get all your money back. If he was a true spirit filled Christian, he would already be writing checks and sending with an apology letter. Ok everybody hold your breath on that occurring in 3 2 1.

  2. So let me get this straight…. a person first got suckered into singing a contract for a timeshare… and then got suckered in again by hiring a Ramsey endorsed company to exit the Timeshare…. Wow…. the Evangelical-Industrial-Complex is growing by leaps and bounds…

    I would write more… but I have to head over to church for a Dave Ramsey Financial seminar……..

    1. I’ve always thought Dave Ramsey was a scam, and I still do. It’s just gullible or stupid people that would follow any of his advice.

      1. I don’t know a thing about Dave Ramsey endorsing timeshare companies (I would never buy into one) but I have followed Dave Ramsey’s “formula” for 25 years. I have been debt free for 20 years and have 1 million in liquid assets. How about you? By the way, I’m a school teacher.

  3. Griffters gonna grift.

    Grifters who use Jesus’ name will grift christians right out of their money, and in this case, make them feel bad about it all along the way.

    1. If Dave’s advice on Timeshares is solid. His advice on debt is solid. His advice on term life insurance over whole life is rock solid. What exactly is his major fault? If he’s found culpable, or financially responsible, (well we’ll see) but his reputation has sure taken a hit from this. It’ll all play out in court. I’m neither pulling for or against either side. The facts will be determined, and the law will be applied.

  4. If you muscle test him for negative trait you will get greedy , I will try to pray that away. This is usually caused by fear of being poor. It happens a lot and is hard to rid yourself of no matter how much money you have
    .

    1. This guy has made millions telling people to spend less than they make. No surprise he’s getting richer endorsing a time share scam. Any business using Christianity as a means to lure customers should be avoided at all cost.

  5. When I was on staff at a church in Nashville a lot of the spouses were on staff with Ramsey. It was well known that you were either on the in crowd or you weren’t. He was also known as an absolute tyrant and if “poked” would fly off the handle over the smallest of things.

    At that time, Dave was also know for having the most expensive house in all of Nashville as well.

    When it comes radio scams, it seems like all the alt-right guys are getting busted. It was Hannity for the Home Title Lock scam, actually I think it was him Clay and Buck, Ramsey was endorsing it as well. Now this, get out of your Time Share or your money back. These guys are scammers just like the ones they’re pointing their fingers at on the other side.

    1. I remember when gold and silver started going up in value and all these mail in cash for gold companies were poping up and Dave Ramsey had one he said was the best and paid the most. I felt it was very unprofessional on his part to do this just as I felt it was very unprofessional to hawk the time share company to exit a time share. Dave now’s the time to put your money where your mouth has been and reimburse every listener that followed your paid endorsements that failed. Jesus would not be happy with you at all and will not let you follows in the steps of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Remember he WAS a avid listener of the Dave Ramsey Show!

  6. The debt snowball process that Ramsey promotes is good…but it’s not his. It was copied from J. Douglas Edwards, a gentleman I was privileged to meet over 43 years ago. If Dave will steal ideas without attribution, I could not expect him to be honest in other areas of his life.

  7. Hmmm…. #NotSurprised

    ‘Prosperity Christianity’ is a MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER that causes simple minded folks to perpetrate their own misogyny, class warfare and ultimately racism.

    1. Excuse me…but as a hereditary bipolar(through my mothers ‘side of the family) I am sickened to listen to ignorant people engage in 21st century witch-burning! Evil is evil; it is not ’caused’ by your DNA. Very disappointed that no one at TRR calls out this.

  8. Christians need to return to following Jesus, instead of blindly following preachers, teachers or talk radio hosts. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    The condition for being set free is: continuing in the Word, THEN the part that everyone likes to quote: then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
    The problem is Biblical illiteracy. If Christians don’t know what God is truly like, they won’t recognize a false teacher.

    1. Thank you brother Mark for pointing all Christian commentors back in the proper direction! For those of you who aren’t believers, unfortunately there are many many Christians who give Jesus a bad reputation by the way they behave. I’m sorry because Christianity is all about God’s plan to restore His relationship with the human beings He created.

  9. Why should have to pay to give back the timeshare I’ve had for 23 years Worth alot more now. They’re going to turn around and sell it mean while they require you to give them f$6000 in order to get your name off the deed why doesn’t the government step in like the Attorney General ? This is clearly a racket had I’ve been told I had to pay to get rid of it I would’ve never signed up. This is clearly a racket.

  10. I was listening to Dave Ramsey radio show the other night a woman who couldnt pay something off in a short period of time to pay her rent 15 days late and she would have the money! He must be so far out of touch if he doesnt know how much late charves would be if you dont pay your rent on time!

  11. Who is it that said, “When people tell you who they are, believe them”? Ramsey talks like a man with a big ego and gobs of money, neither of which condition implies a life informed by Christian discipleship, by being a Jesus follower. So why, exactly, do church people turn to a narcissist and expect to get unbiased financial advice?

    1. This is awful, people are losing their life savings in situations like this! And Jesus is being used in churches, to pry people apart from their own money, often guilted into it by churches with connections to Mr. Ramsey, the ” Hillbilly.”. Yeah, it’s been unique to America,these crazy things, though it’s more spread out,thanks to cult activity,one can call it. I hope those who lost their money will contact their state AG, and local DA, and file to get everything taken returned.

  12. I just want all my ($5,000) money back, and that timeshare (Collection for $21,678) data cleared off my credit. This fiasco has ruined my life & credit! Whereas the timeshare people are still harassing me for payment since 2015.

    June 3,2023

  13. Mr. Ramsey teaches people to change the way they think about indebtedness. When a person has a good reputation others will try to latch on to use you. I don’t think less of the man, but he certainly got used.

  14. I was one of those who signed up for Time Share Exit Team.
    They charges us nearly 4 grand up front “for taking on our case” and after two years said they came to a settlement and needed another 2 grand to pay off the timeshare.

    They never got me out and after another year or two I ended up having to do it all myself.
    I received a refund of the 2 grand but completely lost out on the 4 grand BS fee and they never did anything for me except blow me off, make false promises, take months to return phone calls or emails and make excuses as to why Nothing was,ever resolved.

    1. I’m so sorry. I hope you join the class and win the lawsuit.

      I will enjoy seeing Dave Ramsey pay out millions to the people he scammed.

      What I truly don’t understand is why churches still promote his overpriced materials. Classes in basic personal finance are available for free. There’s no rocket science in anything DR teaches.

  15. There should also be a class action lawsuit against the Timeshare Industry for getting people stuck for life and no way out. I almost listened to D. Ramsey on Timeshares. Glad I did not…..DW.

  16. As a happy timeshare owner for many years, it seems all timeshares are not the same but to be ripped off twice is most tragic. Hopefully, this will make Ramsey better and less of a know it all.

  17. I saw it stated “Dave Ramsey is great for people who are bad with money, but he’s terrible for people who are good with money.”

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