Christian radio host Dave Ramsey is facing a $150 million lawsuit from 17 listeners who claim he played a role in defrauding them by promoting a timeshare exit company.
The lawsuit, filed in April against Ramsey and marketing company Happy Hour Media Group in the Washington Western District Court, argued that the radio host promoted Timeshare Exit Team to the financial detriment of his listeners.
The suit was first reported by Religion News Service.
Ramsey provides financial advice to millions of listeners on his radio show using teachings from the Bible. Listeners will call to ask for advice on managing their finances, with one couple in May seeking help on their debts of $760,000.
The suit said Ramsey was paid millions to advertise Timeshare Exit Team, operated by Kirkland, Washington-based Reed Hein & Associates. Lawyers say Ramsey was paid $450,000 a month by Reed Hein for his services, amounting to $30 million in total.
Reed Hein promised to get customers out of timeshare agreements, but often failed to do so, per the suit.
In 2017, timeshare operators began launching successful legal action against the company. In 2021 Reed Hein was ordered to stop its deceptive practices, Washington State attorney general Bob Ferguson said, and pay $2.6 million to be used for restitution for victims. The company later stopped trading.
Each of the 17 plaintiffs in the April lawsuit say they paid thousands for Timeshare Exit Team’s services after listening to Ramsey’s promotions. They say they were often advised to negotiate their own settlements with their timeshare companies, and usually found it impossible to contact Reed Hein.
Ramsey promoted Reed Hein between 2015 and 2021, and only ceased when the company stopped paying him, according to the suit. During that time, it’s claimed he received thousands of letters from listeners who said they were unhappy with the company’s services.
In the period Ramsey promoted Reed Hein, it’s argued the company received $70 million in fees from customers referred to it by the radio host.
Lawyers argue that as complaints mounted, Ramsey became increasingly combative about his links to the company.
“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 lawsuit stated. Those parties included timeshare companies and the Washington State attorney general.
“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,” lawyers say.
Ramsey and Happy Hour Media Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours. Religion News Service also failed to get responses from Ramsey or Happy Hour.