Timeshare Woes for Luxury Travel Company Abercrombie and Kent

Travel company Abercrombie and Kent, has been around since the 1960’s and describes themselves as “the luxury safari specialists”.

Abercrombie and Kent is known for providing travel packages to the rich and famous. The TimesOnline lists Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Gene Hackman, Hillary Clinton, and Michael Crichton among A&K’s renowned clientele. Lately however, Abercrombie and Kent is making headlines for other reasons, problems brought on by their involvement in a vacation club-gone-bad, a type of timeshare deal.

According to Fox News, Abercrombie and Kent has been sued for allegedly duping people out of millions of dollars that the individuals investing believed were going into high-end vacation club memberships at resorts managed by Abercrombie and Kent.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 26, 2007 says that plaintiffs would not have invested in the clubs had they known the resorts weren’t operated by Abercrombie and Kent and it alleges intentional misrepresentation, negligence, and violation of the California unfair competition law. Members, according to USA Today, believed they were paying refundable membership fees for Private Retreats by Abercrombie & Kent, Distinctive Retreats by Abercrombie & Kent, and Andrew Harper’s Distinctive Retreats, a destination club. The first lawsuit included 96 plaintiffs. A second lawsuit, with 94 complainants was filed shortly thereafter. Membership in the timeshare travel club would have allowed timesharing of yachts, luxury resort residences, jets, and luxury automobiles.

Andrew Harper, is the pen name of an author who has for nearly three decades written Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, a newsletter targeted at the luxury travel market. Named in the lawsuits along with Abercrombie and Kent, Harper was quoted in USA Today as issuing this statement through his spokesperson, “We do not own Solstice and we are not in partnership with them, but we do advise them on destination sites for Solstice homes and assist them with marketing efforts.”

Only time will tell how this timeshare deal turns out. But rest assured, you do not have to pay high end prices (the vacation club owners in this lawsuit invested between $100,000 and $1.3 million each) to enjoy luxurious vacation ownership. Timeshare resales offer incredible—really incredible—opportunities to vacation at world-class destinations with fabulous amenities.