Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc. faces yet another proposed class action lawsuit centered on hours-long sales presentations allegedly rife with intentional omissions, including the non-disclosure of the fact that buyers are likely to experience a frustratingly difficult time trying to book their timeshare.
The plaintiffs allege Wyndham “intentionally and consistently” leaves vital information out of its timeshare sales pitches. Among other details, the defendant fails to disclose to prospective buyers that they can obtain equal or greater access to Wyndham resort destinations at an equal or lesser cost through public websites without dropping the average $21,000 on a timeshare, the 26-page suit says.
In the same light, prospective timeshare owners are kept in the dark with regard to the fact that the properties they’ve actually spent money on “are likely to be unavailable” when booking through Wyndham’s owner website, the lawsuit states, claiming Wyndham also holds back crucial details on ever-increasing annual maintenance fees.
As the suit tells it, prospective buyers are intentionally left unaware that “it will often be cheaper to go to the same destinations without being a Wyndham timeshare Owner.” In all, the case says the reality of owning a Wyndham timeshare stands in stark contrast to what’s represented in the company’s sales presentations, which focus more on selling points rather than making accommodations available:
“Owners are locked into timeshare ownership that has limited availability of destinations, often requires that bookings be made a year or more in advance, and results in Wyndham Owners paying more for vacations than they would on public travel websites.
Moreover, due to increases in maintenance fees, Wyndham Owners end up with timeshare ownerships that have negative value.”
The picture painted by Wyndham in its six- or seven-hour-long sales presentations is far rosier than the reality experienced by timeshare owners, the lawsuit scathes. Not only are owners duped on the fact that timeshare ownership will neither save them money on vacations nor offer flexibility and resort variety, but they’re never adequately apprised of the fact that actually booking a slot in their timeshare less than a year out is exceedingly difficult, the case says.
Though Wyndham is able to sell timeshare points for exorbitant prices—sometimes ranging from $15,000 to $25,000—the same number of points can be bought on eBay for as little as $1, according to the complaint.
Broadly, Wyndham’s business model is built on the false assumption that the company can lie to consumers to get them to sign “confusing, vague and ambiguous” boilerplate contracts while effectively disclaiming within the documents any and all falsehoods, the lawsuit contends. Wyndham, the plaintiffs allege, will “say anything to get people to sign contracts,” and refuse to let them out after they realize they’ve been deceived. Such practices are particularly crippling for senior citizens and retirees, according to the lawsuit, given that segment of consumers “borrow[s] heavily” to finance their timeshare purchases and may stare down bankruptcy in attempting to escape Wyndham’s contracts.
Though a cottage industry of timeshare exit companies has sprung up thanks in part to Wyndham’s apparent business practices, many exit programs “are just as deceptive as the original timeshare sales pitches,” the case relays.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs were putative class members in a separate lawsuit against Wyndham in Illinois that was dismissed without prejudice after the company argued litigation needed to be filed in either Delaware, where the suit detailed on this page resides, or Florida.
The lawsuit looks to represent all individuals who signed Wyndham timeshare agreements in Florida on or after January 27, 2016, attended Wyndham sales presentations, and unsuccessfully requested cancellation of their contracts. The case stipulates the proposed class includes Florida contract signees not subject to class action waiver clauses.
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