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Welk Resorts to pay $3.5 M for misleading marketing, sales tactics

davidvel

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Attorney General Becerra and San Diego District Attorney Stephan have obtained up to $3,550,000 in restitution for consumers harmed by Welk Resort’s “misleading marketing and sales tactics,” according to a press release from the California AG’s office on Wednesday.

The settlement provides victims with the largest consumer relief package ever obtained by California for violations of California’s Timeshare Law.

Undercover operations conducted with assistance of the California Department of Consumer Affairs revealed that Welk was making false statements and misrepresentations in high-pressure sales presentations at its resort in Escondido, California.

That program allows consumers who previously submitted a written complaint with the option to (1) rescind their timeshare purchase agreement with Welk and obtain a full or partial refund or, (2) retain their timeshare interest and instead obtain restitution in the form of cash, a resort credit, or additional timeshare points;

Welk customers who have questions about the settlement or regarding their eligibility for relief under the settlement should visit www.welkresorts.com/resolution


 

CalGalTraveler

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It's too bad this only applies to consumers who previously submitted a written complaint. Should apply to all consumers.
 

davidvel

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It's too bad this only applies to consumers who previously submitted a written complaint. Should apply to all consumers.
It does. Details are in the article.

[ETA: I guess the article is a bit ambiguous if group 2 will have the right of rescission.]
 
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CalGalTraveler

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It does. Details are in the article.
That's good news. I was going based on your description "That program allows consumers who previously submitted a written complaint ..." and didn't have time to read the article (mea culpa).

Your Welk settlement article should be posted in the sticky about getting out of your timeshare in the buying,selling forum as this would be helpful to many cc @Grammarhero @TUGBrian
 

TUGBrian

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this is why we always suggest filing a complaint with your ags office!

the number of complaints is also how they base the amount of the fine/restitution!

sadly most folks feel that nothing good will come of it and dont bother to file a complaint :(
 

pedro47

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I just wish all the attorney general office across the United States would file a similar lawsuit to protect consumers.
 

PcflEZFlng

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I just wish all the attorney general office across the United States would file a similar lawsuit to protect consumers.
I agree. California has very strong consumer protection laws, and even then it took this long for it to happen.
 

TUGBrian

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have to get enough complaints in order for it to get enough attention to warrant the attention of the AGs office!

and even then you have many many months if not years worth of investigation before any suit is brought, especially in situations like these.
 

davidvel

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have to get enough complaints in order for it to get enough attention to warrant the attention of the AGs office!

and even then you have many many months if not years worth of investigation before any suit is brought, especially in situations like these.
Funny thing is that if any AG sent undercover officers posing as customers, they could likely find much worse. However, they may not themselves know the falsities if not well informed (like us!)
 

Larry M

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I just wish all the attorney general office across the United States would file a similar lawsuit to protect consumers.
Pedro, it is election season and attorneys general are elected officials. You can bet that a few (or more) will pile on--especially with the California precedent. About the only thing that could slow them down is the COVID distraction.
 

DEROS

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Any one know what the high pressure tactics used? I can image what there were but what actually did the Welk sale people say or do.

I've only been to the HGVC presentations and it felt pressured but I will tell you that they didn't really directly answer questions that could get them in trouble. For example, at my first presentation before owning, I was a Diamond Hilton member, I asked if I can get the complimentary breakfast when staying at the HGVC in Hilton Hawaiian Village (my favorite place). The reply was, when staying at the Hotel in HHV, you will get the complimentary breakfast. As a new person in timeshare, I didn't truly understand the connection between HGV and Hilton Hotel, so I took it as 'Yes'. Come to find out, the answer was 'No' because HGVC and Hilton Hotel are different entities. HGVC business relationship and not a ownership relationship. Did they lie to me? Not really, they just didn't elaborate on the question or answer.
 
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I bought from Welk in the timeframe that this lawsuit covers. Some of the lies I was told included:
1. Being told that I could rent out points I didn't use for profit. (Welk does have a rental program and I have used it and I did make more than my annual MF. However telling buyers this is illegal)
2. I was told that I could trade directly into Disney Animal Kingdom anytime I wanted. (This was false not just due to AK almost never turning up on RCI, but because Welk was not not affiliated with RCI at that time)
3. Being told we could easily refinance the loan from Welk as it was a "deeded property/title" and could be financed like real estate/real property. (we all know this is false)
4. There was the typical stuff, sell you the moon etc.

Welk's website says owers who are eligible for this will receive information in the mail about what our options are. I will not be getting rid of Welk but I wouldn't say no to some financial compensation. I still love my Welk ownership and recommend it but thanks to TUG, I only recommend buying resale.
I told ya'll the CEO came through and cleaned up the sales house in 2016. I think the fact that this settlement doesn't go beyond 16, proves that they've made big changes since then. However, newer owners on the now 475 strong Welk FB group, are still complaining of being mislead/confused and I know Welk has hired a few sales supervisors from Wyndham and I have spoken with one in Branson, did NOT like her.....
 

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2. I was told that I could trade directly into Disney Animal Kingdom anytime I wanted. (This was false not just due to AK almost never
 

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I wonder how high our maintenance fees will be raised to pay for this. Sigh. Of course, they'll call it "increased personnel costs."
 
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I wonder how high our maintenance fees will be raised to pay for this. Sigh. Of course, they'll call it "increased personnel costs."
I doubt very much at all. They've built two massive new buildings in Branson, renovated large parts of San Diego, are renovating Palm springs, added Breckenridge and the collections resorts options all since 2015 and our MF have stayed at a steady rate of increase.

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