On August 26, 2020, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc. (“Wyndham”) was served with class claims in federal court in the District of Delaware, alleging that its timeshare ownership program employed misleading sales and marketing tactics to fraudulently induce plaintiffs to enter into sales agreements for pricy timeshares.
In the complaint, named plaintiffs David and Thea Dubose allege that in its sales presentation, Wyndham intentionally and consistently makes omissions, such as failing to disclose all vacation options to prospective timeshare owners. Plaintiffs claim that instead of purchasing a Wyndham timeshare for around $21,000, individuals can often obtain equal or greater access to Wyndham resort destinations at an equal or lesser cost without buying timeshares. The plaintiffs point out that the same vacation properties available through the Wyndham Vacation Club are often available to the public to be booked at lowered prices on websites like TripAdvisor.
During intensive, high-pressure sales presentations that lasted up to seven hours, Wyndham stressed to vacationers that they will be saving money and gain added flexibility in choosing resorts if they purchase a timeshare. Plaintiffs argued that, during the presentations, Wyndham failed to disclose that timeshare owners often must book reservations one year or more in advance and that many destinations may not be available to them through the timeshare owners’ website. Further, the plaintiffs argued that due to increases in maintenance fees, Wyndham timeshare owners can end up with timeshare ownerships that have negative value.
The suit alleged that Wyndham’s timeshare sales policies and practices are consistently deceptive and misleading. The plaintiffs also argued that Wyndham’s business model is premised on the false assumption that Wyndham can make dishonest representations to consumers to entice them to sign confusing, vague and ambiguous boilerplate contracts and that because there exists a written agreement purportedly disclaiming all falsehoods, Wyndham has no liability for its untruths. These practices, say plaintiffs, are not lawful.
The plaintiffs seek to represent a class made up of all persons who signed Wyndham timeshare agreements in Florida on or after January 27, 2016, who attended a Wyndham sales presentation and who unsuccessfully requested a cancellation of their contract. The suit brings causes of action for fraud in the inducement through material omissions and negligent misrepresentation.
The case is: DuBose et al. v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc., Case No.: 1:20-cv-01118, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.
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