Timeshare sales practices are in the spotlight, many companies are now facing lawsuits for their predatory sales practices, Wyndham are facing two of these in Tennessee.
These are just the latest in a round of complaints in Tennessee, they all have a similar story, elderly consumers being subjected to high-pressure sales tactics where the sales agent misrepresent the facts regarding their ownership. The point is to get them to make initial purchases or to upgrade their existing timeshare interests.
The complaints highlight the sales personnel forcing / coercing the elderly to attend “update meetings” which they are told will last 45 minutes but end up being around 4 to 5 hours of hard sell. They are also misled on key information regarding the benefits of upgrading, such as maintenance fees, rental income, and the ability to make better reservations. There is also pressure to get these consumers to take out huge loan refinance options.
It is also alleged that the sales agent pitch the “Pathways Program” as a buyback scheme for when they want to relinquish their membership, unfortunately there is a minimum points purchase for eligibility. In the terms and conditions of the contract they later learn that id allows for this relinquishment, but Wyndham are not obligated to repurchase the points.
According to the Better Business Bureau, in the last three years over 2000 complaints have been filed against Wyndham, with 700 in the past year.
Wyndham is no stranger to having lawsuits filed against them, in November 2016 a jury in California found in favour of an employee for wrongful dismissal and awarded $20 million for lost earnings, emotional distress and punitive damages.
Although there have been many cases filed against Wyndham, over a dozen in Tennessee alone in the past couple of years, many of the cases have been resolved with confidential settlements.
PDF link to the full Capitol Forum article published 24 January 2018.