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An RV rental company in Anchorage suddenly closes, leaving hundreds of guests to suffer

An RV rental company in Anchorage closed abruptly Friday, leaving hundreds of guests stranded thousands of dollars and looking for a replacement during the peak summer tourist season in Alaska.

The closure came a day after the state filed a civil lawsuit accusing Alaska Motor Home Inc. for fraudulent practices.

The state alleges the company illegally took deposits from customers before picking up their RV, overcharged taxes and forged the signature of at least one customer, according to a complaint filed Thursday in Anchorage Superior Court.

The complaint named owner Peter Harkovitch and his son, Cole Harkovitch, as defendants along with the company.

The company made the decision to close with no intention of refunding customers, but it continued to accept reservations and payments through July, according to the complaint.

A spokesman for the Alaska Department of Law said authorities believe there are hundreds of victims in the case, given the company plans to have a fleet of 60 RVs this summer.

Other Anchorage RV companies reported a flood of calls this week from guests looking for last-minute rentals. Great Alaskan Holidays has received about a hundred inquiries from Alaska Motor Home customers, according to marketing director Bob Johnson.

“It started yesterday morning, right after we opened, and probably just in the last hour it started to calm down,” Johnson said Friday afternoon, adding that all requests had been granted.

At Alaska Motor Home’s South Anchorage offices on West 64th Avenue near C Street on Friday, two longtime employees expressed sadness at the sudden closure. One of the cleared RVs is still being returned by customers — workers said they expect more vehicles to be returned within the month — while another said it was transporting customers to cruise ships or to the airport to catch flights home to the Lower 48.

Cole Harkovitch removed his name from the company in May, leaving his father as the sole board member, according to the state’s corporate database. Cole Harkovitch declined to comment when contacted by the Daily News office on Friday, saying that “we are still trying to shut everything up. I’m just one of the people caught in the crossfire.”

In a Wednesday letter to the state Department of Law, a lawyer representing the company said it was ceasing operations on Friday because it was “impossible” to continue operating for several reasons, including the fact that Peter Harkovitch was in prison. The letter also cited issues with cash reserves, limited access to computer records and financing for 20 new RVs.

“As you well know, your office will receive many complaints,” attorney Terry Draeger wrote. He was out of state on Friday and could not be reached for comment.

This is the second time the state has filed a lawsuit against Alaska Motor Home alleging unfair practices. In 2019, the state sued the company and owners, citing similar problems.

A judge imposed a $110,000 fine in 2021, but this week the company paid only half, state officials said Friday. Customer complaints about Alaska Motor Home date back to at least 2014, when the company accused the Better Business Bureau of harassment, prompting a wave of criticism.

The state’s complaint also alleges that Peter Harkovitch, 66, “used the Alaska Motor Home property as his personal property” to pay off mortgages, credit card bills, pool cleaning and ATM withdrawals in Florida’s Las Vegas area. , Spain, Italy and other locations. The state’s complaint shows that his wife also managed to withdraw money from the company’s account.

Online sources indicate that Peter Harkovitch is currently incarcerated in the Pinellas County Jail in Florida. According to information available on the Internet, he is accused of assault with particular cruelty, threatening a public official and causing criminal damage. According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Harkovitch is accused of assaulting a family member in March, leaving him in critical condition. According to the affidavit, he is also accused of destroying the apartment where they lived and urinating on a police officer.

The complaint against Alaska Motor Home lists a number of customers reporting problems ranging from large fees charged to credit cards without authorization to contracts promising insurance the company did not offer and charging taxes in excess of the tax rate.

The complaint said Peter Harkovitch sent a Utah woman threatening messages and ultimately demanded an “unreasonable” amount of more than $20,000 as a result of a compensation dispute. A woman was unable to recover $7,500 in credit card fees because someone forged her signature on two bills.

Another customer heading to Alaska for the first time this summer told state consumer protection officials Tuesday that he paid $3,700 in advance to rent a camper and left several messages, but no one responded, according to the complaint.

Reynolds Holiman, a Florida engineer who owns property in Homer, said in an interview Friday that he paid $1,840 to drive a new camper from Indiana to Alaska. Holiman, however, said Alaska Motor Home placed an unauthorized $2,500 deposit on his credit card in March. Then, a few days before the trip was scheduled to begin in mid-May, the company announced that the camper was no longer available. He asked for his money back.

Holiman said he received about $1,400, and on Thursday the attorney general’s office told him the $2,500 deposit was illegal. He said he was glad he managed to get at least some of the money back.

“Fraud is a strong word, but if they charged me $2,500 it would mean the debt was not yet due on the RV that had not been paid for, it almost sounds like fraud,” Holiman said.

Under a temporary restraining order sought by the state, a judge requires Alaska Motor Home to notify customers of the closure, halt new reservations and protect the company’s assets and records.

State officials encourage anyone who made a reservation at Alaska Motor Home using a credit card to check whether they qualify for a chargeback and file a consumer complaint.

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