Wyndham Vacation Resorts has been hit with a class action lawsuit from customers who claim that their sales policies and practices regarding timeshares are deceptive.
Plaintiffs AnnaMarie Deneen, Michael J. Deneen, Erin Munoz, Paul Munoz, and Nazret Z. Gebremeskel say that Wyndham makes misrepresentations to customers about numerous features in their vacation plans, ranging from the value of timeshare points to the cleaning services that are available to the vacationers.
“Wyndham’s business model is premised on the false assumption that you can lie to consumers to get them to sign confusing, vague and ambiguous boilerplate contracts and that because then there is a purported written agreement, you have no liability for the lies,” the Wyndham class action lawsuit claims.
The Wyndham class action lawsuit states that the hotel chain has been penalized in the past for their deceptive sales practices from state governments, including a $20 million verdict in a case involving a whistleblower.
For example, the plaintiffs state that in October 2003, the California Attorney General and the District Attorney in San Mateo sued the Trendwest (the predecessor of Wyndham) for unlawful sales practices and wound up settling for $4.3 million.
Also, in 2007, customers filed a class action against Wyndham, and the company agreed to cancel 22 million vacation credits and paid Class counsel up to $5 million in legal fees.
“After getting consumers to sign form contracts through deceptive sales practices, Wyndham then breaches its form contract entitled ‘Security Agreement – ClubWyndham Access Vacation Ownership Plan – Retail Installment Contract – Purchase and Security Agreement’ by not making destination accommodations available, by charging excessive fees not referenced in the contract, and by failing to provide promised ancillary services such as cleaning and housekeeping,” the Wyndham class action lawsuit claims.
The Wyndham timeshare model uses points, which are purchased by vacation goers, and can be used to stay at any Wyndham “or affiliated resort throughout the world.”
The Wyndham class action lawsuit claims that desired destinations are not available at the desired time and need to be booked as much as a year beforehand.
“The business practice of Wyndham is to focus on selling points, rather than managing the destinations and making them available to members. Wyndham members find that there is little availability. When they complain, Wyndham’s response is that they need to buy more points,” the Wyndham class action lawsuit alleges.
The plaintiffs also state that a sales pitch to purchase more points begins even before the vacation goer parks their car. Before they are given a parking pass, they are urged to attend an owner meeting update, which is just a sales presentation for Wyndham to purchase more points.
The Wyndham class action lawsuit claims that if members are able to get parking passes without attending a sales meeting, they are harassed with phone calls and marketing materials are placed under their doors to attend more sales meetings.
“These meetings last most of a day and do not conform to most consumers’ idea of a ‘vacation day,’” states the class action lawsuit.
Putative Class Members in the Wyndham class action lawsuit include: “All persons who entered into a ‘Security Agreement – ClubWyndham Access Vacation Ownership Plan – Retail Installment Contract – Purchase and Security Agreement’ (Agreement) with Wyndham or its successors in the last ten years and whose Agreements do not contain arbitration clauses.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Howard B. Prossnitz of the Law Offices of Howard B. Prossnitz and Adam Szulczewksi.
The Wyndham Timeshare Class Action Lawsuit is Deneen, et al. v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc., Case No. 1:19-cv-05499, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.