Wyndham Vacation Ownership is being sued by a Nashville, Tennessee law firm in two mass action law suits. The suits allege an array of legal infractions by Wyndham, which it argues are tantamount to elder abuse.
The charges include breach of contract, fraud, and violations of the Tennessee Timeshare Act. The claim against Wyndham includes the accusation that the timeshare giant systematically targets elderly consumers, and identifies a pattern of inaccurate statements and fraudulent activity as a central part of the company’s sales program. These plaintiffs were apparently led to believe there was an urgent necessity for them to sign up on the spot and that existing members were pressured into obtaining more timeshares. The extensive contracts they signed, they say, also completely contradicted the things the salespeople had told them.
Over 500 senior citizens comprise the mass action suit, all of whom have been subject to one or more of the above alleged infractions. Every single one of them has additionally accused Wyndham of making it extremely difficult to book a reservation under the company’s system, which it alleges the company manipulates and controls internally. Timeshare points are an ‘illiquid benefit’ which have no after-market value. The plaintiffs say that this fact was never disclosed to them on signing, and they were led to believe they could resell those points, which are sold to them at very high prices.
The plaintiffs were allegedly not advised of their legal right to a cooling-off period (a specified amount of time after signing in which buyers are permitted to cancel with no further obligations). In order for a person to be eligible to attend one of Wyndham’s presentations, they must have an annual income in excess of $60,000 – however, this does not apply to those over the age of 55. This is a cunning and deceitful practice in and of itself, considering a significant proportion of members of this age group are considered to be vulnerable individuals.
About Elder Fraud
Unfortunately, the abuse of older members of our society is a common problem. This group of people are disproportionately those most targeted as victims of fraud. Elder abuse and fraud can take many different forms, many of which tend to be committed by trusted individuals such as family members, carers, or friends. However, there are many thousands of cases every year of older citizens being conned by strangers, and examples like the above case with Wyndham shows that certain unscrupulous members of the timeshare industry are known to be responsible for the crime.
One of the most common types of fraud aimed at seniors comes via the internet. Whilst the younger generation are wise to most of the scams floating around the web, those of us who haven’t had the net around for most of our lives have no way of knowing what lurks behind the clickbait. Email is perhaps the worst culprit for tricking people, with ‘phishing scams’ (where emails are sent to large numbers of people, often targeted at seniors, relating to topics like medication, financial support or investments, or offers of friendship or romance). It is not unheard of for these type of scams to involve timeshare, so be careful.
However, the risk of fraud for older people isn’t limited to the web. Unsolicited phone calls, mail, or door-to-door salespeople are also a problem.
For a full rundown of timeshare scams and how to avoid them, we have a selection of articles designed to help you:
- Beware “Double-Dip” Timeshare Lawyer Fraud
- A Brief Guide To Timeshare Resale Fraud
- What Is A Timeshare Ponzi Scheme?
- Hounded On Holiday: Timeshare Harassment And What To Do
- Beware of Phoney Timeshare Legal Firms
- Beware of Cyber Fraud and Timeshare
- 5 Useful Tips From Timeshare Law Experts
- US Timeshare Seller Breaks Law With Cold Calling Timeshare Scam
- The Timeshare Scam Legal Case Won With No Trial
- Bogus Bonus Timeshare Week Calls: How To Spot A Scam
- Beware FHA Marketing Cold Calling Scams
When it comes to timeshare salespeople hounding older people on holiday, it is important to spot the signs before you get drawn in. Some fraudsters still operate on the street, claiming you’ve won a prize which you can claim by attending a timeshare presentation. Some will act friendly at the resort and offer you the ‘opportunity’ for a free lunch or gift if you attend a presentation. At the word ‘presentation’, you must automatically say no. Getting you into the presentation is the first step towards pressuring you into buying a timeshare membership.
If you are concerned that an older loved one might be vulnerable to timeshare sales on their holiday, be sure to show them this article and to talk to them before they go away. Whilst your own parents might be savvy, others may not. It is important that we look after our older friends and relatives to prevent this kind of elder abuse and to keep them safe.