“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.
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.”