There seems to be no end to the problems that beset the timeshare industry, the latest is the news of a $20 Million award by a San Francisco jury to a former timeshare sales representative. She brought her case for unfair dismissal, after she complained about the way she was made to sell the product.
We all remember the old days, when reps would say anything to get the sale, the high pressure tactics and in some instances the intimidating placing of “security” at the exit doors. This may sound a little far fetched but it is well documented, fortunately in Europe this practice is in demise.
Most sales teams now operate in a more professional manner, although this does depend on the company involved. We have highlighted in many articles how timeshare has been sold, including the practice of financing consumers who would not have been eligible for a loan, had the normal credit checks been made.
Also it must be remembered that in the past there was no basic pay, everything was commission based, no sale no pay. This particular method will always lead to sales staff using heavy handed, pressure tactics and lies. It was also a very transient business, especially in Europe, where reps would travel from one company to the next, believing that the grass was always greener on the other side.
Now to the main story from Irene Parker.
Wyndham’s $20 Million Woes
Is Hyatt Next?
By Irene Parker December 1, 2016 –
November 18, 2016 Dolan Law Firm Press Release
A San Francisco jury awarded $20 million to Trish Williams, a former Wyndham timeshare sales representative, who was wrongfully terminated for reporting timeshare fraud on the elderly (San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CGC-12-526187). The verdict, read late on Thursday, November 17, 2016, followed a one-month trial in which Williams was represented by Chris Dolan of The Dolan Law Firm and Anne Costin of Costin Law Inc.
“Evidence presented at trial revealed that Wyndham employees engaged in “pitching heat,” high pressure sales tactics involving deliberate lies and misrepresentations to get people to buy more timeshare “points.”
Franz Hanning, head of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation’s timeshare division, has submitted his resignation.
Timeshare sales agents targeting the elderly to sign perpetual contracts, with little or no secondary market, in a same day “impulse” buy are nothing new. There are good timeshare companies and honest timeshare agents, but the overwhelming number of complaints voiced on the internet and on angry owner timeshare Facebook pages and websites are disturbing.
It’s a worldwide problem. The Canarian Legal Alliance in Spain has over 2000 timeshare cases pending. The selling tactics, resale scams, problems with limited availability and rising maintenance fees are pandemic.
Many timeshare victims struggle under the weight of rising maintenance fees. They cannot afford the cost of a legal defense or wait out a lengthy and costly trial. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman halted sales at The Manhattan Club in 2014 due to problems with availability. “The investigation is proceeding, and the motion to dismiss a currently pending class action suit has been adjourned to January 5, 2017 for now,” said Douglas Wasser, an attorney representing a number of Manhattan Club owners.
Two former timeshare sales agents talk about their experiences working at Hyatt. Whistle blower is a legal term, but I dislike using this term to describe those who come forward only to benefit others in order to stop harmful business practices. Both the former agents I spoke with would like to see the industry improved. They are in year five of a three whistleblower class action against Hyatt. Hyatt did not respond to my request for comment.
“I worked in the timeshare sales industry for approximately 2.5 years. What happened to Trish Williams at Wyndham is very similar to what I experienced at Hyatt.”
If you are a Hyatt timeshare owner who feels that you have not been dealt with honestly and fairly, Candace would like to hear your story.
You can contact Candace at: [email protected]l.com
Former Hyatt timeshare sales agents have testified that they were instructed by Hyatt to make certain false statements and omit certain facts when communicating to Hyatt owners and potential clientele in order to make more sales.
Specifically, they were told to tell owners that they had previously signed a document (a document that didn’t exist) that waived their right to upgrade.