Following on from the article published on 1 December titled: Whistleblowers Expose Timeshare Sales Tactics, Inside Timeshare was sent an an article written by Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times. It is an interview with Patricia Williams, who recently won her case against Wyndham for unfair dismissal, the San Francisco jury awarded her $20 million for lost earnings, emotional distress and punitive damages.
In the interview which was conducted by telephone, Patricia explained how she was branded a “troublemaker”, because she pointed out and complained about inappropriate sales techniques she and other sales staff had to employ. The constant high pressure selling especially to the elderly, with upgrades along with loans or mortgages, in some cases credit card accounts were also opened for purchasers without their knowledge or permission.
Patricia had worked in the timeshare industry for over 15 years, she was also, as all timeshare sales agents in the US, a licenced real estate agent, so it is not hard to see the dilemma she was in. It is about personal integrity.
This trial has caused her considerable stress, she was unable to find work as a sales representative in any field, it also had a severe effect on the relationship with her longterm fiancé, resulting in a break up. She also admitted that it had caused her to start drinking heavily, and at times she had to “raid” her parents kitchen for food. The only work she could get was low paid, with the most recent being a hostess at a restaurant for only $9 an hour.
Patricia was finally asked if she would do the same again, even with the knowledge of the consequences of being a “whistleblower”, her answer was definitely, “Protecting these vulnerable elderly owners,” she added. “That was the main reason I was able to continue.”
It is such a shame that this case had to be brought, if Wyndham had listened in the first place, changing how their product is sold and the way sales agent are made to lie, timeshare would have a better reputation. This is not just the case in the US, Europe has also seen the same tactics employed. Sales staff saying anything to get the sale, the oral representation clause, if it was not written down it didn’t happen.
For the full interview and article see the link below.
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