This fall, Westgate timeshare sales tactics have come under fire. In a class action lawsuit in Tennessee Westgate Resorts has been accused of misleading and deceptive sales practices. The case was filed as “a class action consumer fraud lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Tennessee.” Four different law firms are representing the lawsuit including Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.
Here is a link to the case filed in federal court: Long list of plaintiffs VS Westgate Resorts.
Westgate recently began filing motions to dispute jurisdiction and pare down the list of people in the lawsuit. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort is at the center of the controversial sales environment. The plaintiffs complain that they were pressured into buying timeshares, denied copies of legally required documents, and that the timeshare sales staff used “secret compartment” folios to hide key information.
Several local news channels covered the story and all of them mentioned the “secret compartment”. The allegation is that during the sales presentation important documents were hidden from the buyer. They also complained that the rescission period was not explained well or at all. They also allege that they were held at the negotiation table for hours without access to food, water, or breaks to discuss the deal between themselves. Other complaints include not being able to book vacations, outrageous upgrade fees, spiraling maintenance fees, and owners’ rights never explained.
Does any of this situation sound familiar? It should. Hundreds of thousands of timeshare buyers have been subjected to similar if not worse situations. And when attempting to cancel these deals, most have run into a brick wall.
In fact, Westgate is trying to break up the class action status of this lawsuit and deal with the individuals on a case by case basis. At that point the timeshare owners would be at the mercy of the multi-billion dollar law-firm representing Westgate Resorts.
Some of the stories of the plaintiffs are absolutely appalling. You can read their stories in the case file – linked above. This 65 page complaint gives a scathing overview of the deceptive and fraudulent practices of timeshare sales in general and Westgate timeshare sales tactics in particular. They cite numerous other court rulings against them and others for similar practices.
What strikes me about this case is that this is not a new problem. The timeshare industry has not taken steps to make uniform training and supervision of sales people a requirement. And no matter how many states pass their own Timeshare Laws, few of the timeshare developers take these laws seriously. All you have to do is search the web for “timeshare lawsuit” and you’ll see cases against Diamond Resorts, Westgate, Wyndham, and Marriott within the last year.
If you are fed up with your timeshare, sell it. You’ll be glad you did!
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