Wyndham has recently been overwhelmed with what appears to be thousands of very angry Wyndham Timeshare Owners. Dozens of Consumer Complaint Forums are filled with too many posts to count. Each of them from irate Wyndham Timeshare owners that all tell the same story – they were coerced to buy more points because of Lies, Lies and More Lies. Here’s a small sampling:
Apparently Wyndham executives have turned their sales force lose on our senior citizens, letting them say anything to sell more timeshare points. Both the officers and directors will feign ignorance until some government agency finally decides to hold them accountable.
Many of these seniors have finally started to fight back, suing Wyndham for what is a companywide organized and intentional program to defraud the elderly. Approximately twenty five (25) lawsuits have been filed in Nashville, Tennessee alone. Each lawsuit recites very egregious violations of federal and state laws, including violations of consumer protections laws, securities laws, timeshare and vacation club laws, as well as intentional fraud and breach of contract.
There are also numerous news stories running around the country, but Wyndham still keeps on selling worthless points, hoping for a few more profitable quarters till they’re corporate greed is discovered.
Well, it’s about time someone starts holding Wyndham’s officers and directors accountable. After all, they’re the ones making millions from these poor elderly victims. Historically it’s been the little guy at Wyndham, the sales people, that get punished, even though the managers and officers in the back rooms of Wyndham encouraged and promoted such deception and coercion.
No – its time to call the officers and directors out – place blame squarely on Wyndham’s esteemed Board Members and Executives – the well-respected wealthy elite who quietly reap the big bucks from Wyndham’s organized fraudulent activity by selling more stock each quarter for hugely inflated gains.
Instead of blaming Wyndham’s lowly sales agents, its time to hold Wyndham’s leaders accountable for this despicable behavior, beginning with Wyndham’s Board of Directors: Stephen Holmes, Myra J. Biblowit, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James Buckman, Michael Wargotz, Pauline Richards and many more. We call on Wyndham’s officers and directors to do everything possible to stop Franz Hanning and the horrible sales schemes and scams that prey on our elderly parents and grandparents, and return the illicit gains to those seniors defrauded by your company!
We also call on all the attorneys at Wyndham to stop fighting against these poor elderly seniors that did nothing but rely on the misrepresentations of your sales people to their very destructive detriment. You add insult to injury when you drag out their administrative or legal claims – acting like the 5 Billion Dollar Wyndham is actually the victim. You should be ashamed! Therefore, Scott McLester, Gregory John Bendlin, Charles Bott, Thomas Alan, Ryan Morettini and all the other Wyndham lawyers need to start having some compassion on these poor people! You’ll find that becoming part of the solution and not the problem will always be in the best interest of your client – Wyndham.
NY attorney general cracks down on Wyndham’s “Misleading Practices”
Hilton Resorts Corp. and Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc. agree to separate actions that protect consumers from “misleading practices,” according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is cracking down on time-share operators in New York City.
After obtaining a court order this summer barring the Manhattan Club from selling time-shares, Mr. Schneiderman looked at how other time-share companies do business and convinced two big players in the industry to make some changes to their sales practices.
Mr. Schneiderman announced agreements Wednesday with Hilton Resorts Corp. and Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc., both of which agreed to separate actions that protect consumers from “misleading practices,” according to the attorney general.
“With [Hilton’s and Wyndham’s] cooperation, we are making the time-share industry safer, more transparent and more accessible to investors,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement.
Hilton, which operates at least two time-share properties in Manhattan, agreed to stop using a purchase agreement clause that disclaimed responsibility for specific representations made by salespeople.
Wyndham agreed to stop offering to people in its time-share exchange program certificates that can be used to make a reservation at its Midtown 45 property, located on East 45th Street between Third and Second avenues.
Wyndham has not received approval from the attorney general’s Real Estate Finance Bureau to sell time-share units in that building, said a spokeswoman for Mr. Schneiderman. Wyndham filed an offering plan with the bureau, but is still waiting for a response.
“We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman’s commitment to protect consumers by ensuring clarity throughout the process of purchasing our products,” said a Wyndham Vacation Ownership spokesman in a statement. “Businesses and regulatory agencies working together is good for our industry and good for the people of New York, and we are pleased to have partnered with the attorney general’s Real Estate Finance Bureau to produce this outcome.”
“We voluntarily agreed to change one brief paragraph in our owner contracts to provide more clarity and consistency on our verbal and written obligations with prospective owners,” said a representative from Hilton Worldwide. “The change was not made as the result of any formal complaint, investigation, settlement or agreement. Instead it resulted from an overall review by the A.G.’s office of the contracts of all timeshare businesses in New York, and we have fully cooperated with this review.”
The attorney general continues to investigate the Manhattan Club for alleged fraudulent sales practices that have resulted in numerous customer complaints.
[By Lisa Fickenscher – Crain’s New York Business]
Note from the editor: Notice that Wyndham was selling timeshares that essentially did not exist, and had never been properly filed with the State. This is unfortunately a problem throughout the country – Wyndham selling timeshares at resorts yet to be built, or failing to provide truthful disclosure documents PRIOR to the sale of the timeshare (as required by law). It’s ironic that the Wyndham Vacation Spokesperson seems thankful to the NY attorney general for pointing out their misdeeds. This thankful attitude is far from the truth about Wyndham. Wyndham leads the timeshare industry in underhanded and untruthful manipulation and fraud. Its time for the Wyndham Board of Directors to itself “crack down” on this organized corruption.
We call on Stephen Holmes, Myra J. Biblowit, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James Buckman, Michael Wargotz, Pauline Richards, and all Directors and Officers of Wyndham Vacation Ownership including Franz Hannng and Ryan Morettini. We are also calling on all the attorneys at Wyndham to stop fighting these poor elderly seniors that did nothing but rely on the misrepresentations of your sales people to their very destructive detriment. You add insult to injury when you drag out their administrative or legal claims – essentially calling parents like mine liars. Therefore, Scott McLester, Gregory John Bendlin, Charles Bott, Thomas Alan, Ryan Morettini and all the other Wyndham lawyers need to start having some compassion on these poor people! You’ll find that becoming part of the solution and not the problem will always be in the best interest of your client – Wyndham. We will not rest until you do the right thing and return these seniors life savings’!
Wyndham’s Board of Directors Must Act to Stop the Timeshare Fraud
The following is an excerpt from the lawsuit of Patricia Williams v. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, et. al. being litigated in the San Francisco County Superior Court. The facts set forth in the Complaint reveal what is widespread throughout Wyndham. The very same fraudulent sales schemes are being repeated at virtually every Wyndham Resort. These practices constitute an organized pattern and practice to defraud senior citizens in violation of numerous state and federal laws. Consequently, Wyndham’s officers and directors should be held accountable for what appears to be rampant criminal activity throughout its timeshare organization. We call on Stephen Holmes, Scott McLester, Franz Hanning, Ryan Morettini, Myra J. Biblowit, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James Buckman, Michael Wargotz, Pauline Richards to immediately stop this behavior and reform Wyndham’s timeshare business. We also call on the Board to voluntarily take steps to pay the defrauded seniors back – including settling the lawsuits brought by these poor elderly claimants. You now are on notice that this activity is occurring throughout your company.
Excerpt from Williams v. Wyndham:
“Ms. Williams attended training during the first few weeks of working in San Francisco. During the training, Susan Berstein indicated to Ms. Williams that illegal and/or fraudulent claims or promises were being made to sell timeshares. Mw. Williams immediately reported Ms. Berstein’s observations and the fraudulent conduct to Vice President Tara Dow. Ms. Dow did nothing except threaten to fire Ms. Bernstein .
When [Ms. Williams was conducting tours], Ms. Williams overheard other sales associates making illegal and false representations to various customers. It appeared to Ms. Williams that many of these illegal and fraudulent statements were being targeted towards seniors.
This conduct was also witnessed by co-workers. For example, owners were told that if they increased their points, they could do so at essentially no cost. For example, some owners were informed if they increased their points to the Presidential Reserve level, Wyndham would buy back the points or essentially refund the owners moneys if the owner waited at least eleven months to sell the points back. All of the Plaintiffs heard Anita Howell tell owners that they were going to have “guaranteed buy-back” if they were enrolled in Presidential Reserve. In reality, the program was something different and instead of a buy-back program, it was a “right of first refusal” program where the owner would first have to find a buyer and then Wyndham could buy the property instead. This fraudulent practice was widespread in San Francisco and Plaintiffs are informed and believe that it happens at other locations too.
Klaleh York made similar fraudulent statements to owners in an effort to induce them to purchase additional points. Other member services representatives falsely represented that they were going to be reducing the monthly payments for owners or that maintenance fees would be “capped,” when in fact such payments were actually being deferred or they were subject to increases. These “lower monthly payments” schemes in reality were simply a way to fraudulently induce customers into buying more services and borrowing more money.
Several associates also misrepresented the actual amounts the owners were currently paying for monthly payments so that they could be encouraged to purchase more points. Ms. Williams was aware owners were being billed through Bill-me-later when they were being told that there were not purchasing anything additional. Ms. Williams is informed and believes that the owners were billed through Bill-Me-Later so that the owners would not be able to ask for a refund of their money.
Ms. Williams was also aware of sales associates selling timeshares without a license, which she is informed and believes violates California real estate law. Ms. Williams complained to her manager Robert Parker, but nothing was done about the improper sales.
The fraudulent conduct was sanctioned by Wyndham as part of the process to drive sales. In fact, a technique was adopted where Anita Howell started to close deals for other sales associates using the same misrepresentations that Ms. Williams had complained about. In October 2010, Ms. Williams became aware that Ms. Howell was committing credit card fraud with some elderly clients by getting them to apply for more credit without their knowledge. It appeared to Ms. Williams that the fraudulent practices and misrepresentations violated California law and that Wyndham was illegally taking advantage of vulnerable seniors.
In fact, sales representatives were informed when older patrons would be coming in. They were encouraged by managers to target seniors and direct the “guaranteed buy Back” and “lower monthly payments” schemes at the older owners. Owners were also falsely promised rental income in case they wanted to avoid making their payments.
Ms. Williams was encouraged to engage in the illegal and fraudulent conduct in an effort to drive additional sales. She refused noting that the conduct was unethical and that it violated the California Real Estate Board regulations and that she believed it violated California law.
In August 2010, Ms. Dow hired a new manager, Steven, Savino, who had previously worked at the Williamsburg office. Mr. Savino started conducting training meetings in which he taught employees how to use unethical methods for selling timeshares, [and how to]manipulate customers [by going into] ethical grey areas.
In October 2010, Ms. Williams became aware that Anita Howell was committing credit card fraud on the elderly. She would have owners sign documents that were credit card applications but she told them they were papers to renegotiate their loans with Wyndham. The Ms. Howell would maximize the credit people had on their credit cards and use those funds to purchase additional timeshare points without proper authorization to do so. Ms. Williams became aware of the extent to which Ms. Howell was defrauding seniors who were owners. She would lie to owners about the fees that they were actually paying and deceiving them into purchasing additional products that actually increased their payments, when she was falsely claiming that their payments would go down. Ms. Williams complained about these practices to various managers in the San Francisco office.
Numerous supervisors and managers were aware of the fraudulent practices and targeting seniors. Among these were Robert Parker, Linda Tanner, Jim White, Steve Savino, and Vilen Kazaryan.
Ms. Williams confronted Ms. Howell about her fraudulent practices, and she asked, “how can you do this?” But Ms. Howell who was known as a “sales machine” responded that “you can’t have a conscience in this business.” Ms. Williams complained about Ms. Howell to the Director of Sales, but was told to “keep your mouth shut or you will be fired.”
“…the fraudulent practices were often directed at senior owners due to their perceived vulnerabilities.”
The very same fraudulent sales schemes are being repeated at virtually every Wyndham Resort. These practices constitute an organized pattern and practice to defraud senior citizens in violation of numerous state and federal laws. Consequently, Wyndham’s officers and directors should be held accountable for what appears to be rampant criminal activity throughout its timeshare organization.
We call on Stephen Holmes, Scott McLester, Franz Hanning, Ryan Morettini, Myra J. Biblowit, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James Buckman, Michael Wargotz, Pauline Richards to immediately stop this behavior and reform Wyndham’s timeshare business. We also call on the Board to voluntarily take steps to pay the defrauded seniors back – including settling the lawsuits brought by these poor elderly claimants. You now are on notice that this activity is occurring throughout your company. Failure to act in resolving this conduct would be a breach of your duties to Wyndham’s shareholders as well as Wyndham’s owners.
Also, we are calling on all the attorneys at Wyndham to stop fighting against these poor elderly seniors that did nothing but rely on the misrepresentations of your sales people to their very destructive detriment. You add insult to injury when you drag out their administrative or legal claims – essentially calling parents like mine lairs. Therefore, Scott McLester, Gregory John Bendlin, Charles Bott, Thomas Alan, Ryan Morettini and all the other Wyndham lawyers need to start having some compassion on these poor people! You’ll find that becoming part of the solution and not the problem will always be in the best interest of your client – Wyndham.
Wyndham’s Timeshare Schemes – Why Wyndham Timeshare Owners Upgrade – Pain v. Pleasure Tactic (Reprinted From Real Estate News)
When I first started researching the timeshare industry in general, and Wyndham’s timeshare division in particular, my reaction was similar to most – how could these people continue to buy such trash. Its one thing to be duped into buying the “Discovery” program, but these same people continue to upgrade (buying more points) against what they will confess is their better judgment.
When I was first told by Wyndham timeshare owners that Wyndham’s timeshare business was built on fraud and deception I was very surprised. After all, those of us who are not familiar with timeshares or Wyndham’s timeshare business know “Wyndham” to be a high end hotel brand. But when one looks more carefully at Wyndham, one finds some very interesting facts. First, over half of Wyndham’s revenue comes from its more controversial timeshare division. In fact, if you add to that its Vacation Exchange division, comprised mostly of RCI (an equally controversial timeshare exchange business), one finds that a small percentage of Wyndham’s revenue is actually generated by its higher end hotel division.
So that seems to explain why so many people, almost one million, would even consider purchasing a Wyndham timeshare – they walk in thinking they are being pitched by a reputable high end hospitality company. However, Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO), Wyndham’s timeshare brand, is run by a very different brand of people. WVO is run top to bottom by sales people – the types of sales “experts” that can sell the proverbial ice to the eskimo. Because that’s really what they do – they sell more and more timeshare points to people that already own plenty of timeshare points.
The following fact may surprise many readers. Over 70% of all Wyndham’s timeshare sales are to EXISTING timeshare owners. At first glance I thought this must mean that Wyndham’s members really enjoy owning Wyndham timeshare points – right? That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, Wyndham always quotes an old ARDA report that claims 83% of all timeshare owners are pleased with their timeshares. Wow – 83%. That almost seems impressive except for two facts. First, ARDA is the trade association (lobbyist) for the big timeshare developers like Wyndham – so its not exactly a neutral source. Second, Wyndham should actually be embarrassed by this statistic (they use this same study in every annual report apparently to evidence to their investors that their owners love them). Since Wyndham has about a million owners, this study reveals that at the very least 170,000 don’t appreciate being Wyndham timeshare owners.
But – it gets worse. After a little research one discovers that this ARDA data was actually submitted by their clients – the timeshare developers. One now has to wonder just how much this 83% was inflated. Take Wyndham for instance, their data comes from their very own client surveys – allegedly completed by timeshare owners following a purchase. But…that’s not all together true. Upon interviewing numerous current and former Wyndham sales representatives, one begins to hear the same sordid practice. The majority of sales people interviewed said that they, the sales person, actually complete the survey. Encouraged by their managers to ensure high ratings, the sales people fill out the customer surveys. Well, there we have it. The number of dissatisfied Wyndham timeshare owners is probably a multiple of the 170,000 (my guess is over 300,000 dissatisfied owners).
But, all this digresses from the purposes of this paper – answering the question of WHY Wyndham timeshare owners continue to buy more timeshare points. After all, these timeshare junkies know that timeshares are largely worthless – but they just can’t seem to stop themselves. This timeshare schizophrenia (failure to recognize what is real or false) is hard to understand until one really delves into the details of the timeshare system itself.
After researching Wyndham’s timeshare division, the reasons for this self-perpetuating addiction to timeshare upgrades slowly began to reveal themselves. This research will be presented in 10 parts, each designed to explain and support one contention. The following begins our findings.
Number 1 – Psychology of Pain and Pleasure – The first reason Wyndham timeshare owners continue to upgrade their timeshares are what we’ve entitled the Pain v. Pleasure Tactic. Every timeshare owner was asked why they would continue to subject themselves to the long and arduous high pressure sales meetings. Everyone’s response is generally the same – they are forced into these meetings every time they try to use the timeshare they’ve already purchased. In other words, these owners go to use their timeshare at a Wyndham resort and are coerced and badgered until they attend what is normally called an “owner update” meeting. I’ve yet to find an owner that says they in any way appreciate these update meetings.
These meetings have nothing to do with helping the owner use their existing timeshare, and everything to do with selling more timeshare points. In fact, these “meetings” routinely last hours longer than promised, using every sales manipulation tool in the text book to convince the owner they simply MUST buy more points. In the words of several owners, “they can make your vacation hell if you refuse to attend these sales meetings.” Remember, these owners are there to use their timeshare for vacation – the pleasure end of the equation. They resolve that they have to endure some pain (the sales meeting) in order to get on with their vacation (the pleasure).
Any Wyndham owner will tell you though that these meetings still aren’t that simple. We’ve been told by countless owners that the sales tactics used by Wyndham are far beyond anything they have ever experienced. What was amazing was how consistent each owner’s story was no matter where the resort was located. Whether in California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina or Missouri – the stories were strikingly the same. Many of the lawsuits against Wyndham attempt to list the numerous bait and switch techniques used by Wyndham sales people. One lawsuit, however, seemed to sum these techniques up the best – that Wyndham will simply “say anything to get you to buy more points.” In fact, there are recordings on YouTube of Sales Managers telling their agents just that – tell the customer whatever you have to get them to buy more points.
One particular technique is especially difficult to overcome however. These largely elderly owners are routinely shamed, intimidated and ridiculed into purchasing more points. Wyndham is the only company I’ve ever researched whose sales staff routinely put down other Wyndham resorts and sales representatives to sell more points. Owners are told that the last purchase really screwed up their accounts, and that the only way to fix things is to . . . buy more points. That in order to qualify for a “new” program, whether its Club Wyndham Access, Pathways, or some new VIP level, that just happens to fix everything wrong with that customers timeshare – is to upgrade.
In other words, Wyndham has become an expert at upgrading their own timeshares because what the owner was originally sold was simply wrong, inappropriate, not sufficient, etc. These poor owners are consistently told that the previous sales person really lied to them, and that the only way to fix things is to . . . buy just a few more points. So what begins as an owner update meeting normally ends with the owner signing another stack of 30 or 40 documents (usually over 100 pages that Wyndham is banking on the owner never reading till the rescission period expires) to purchase another 154,000 Wyndham timeshare points.
The Next installment of “Why Wyndham Timeshare Owners Upgrade” will be released next week. In the mean time – STOP BUYING POINTS!
Reprinted From Real Estate News.
Editors Note: We at Wyndham Litigation believe the fraud depicted in this article is a routine pattern and practice at Wyndham. Sales fraud has become inherent throughout Wyndham Vacation Ownership and needs to stop. It is time for the Board of Wyndham to take a stand against this corporate corruption. Failure on the Boards part to root out these practices constitutes a breach of their fiduciary duty to Wyndham’s shareholders, and in our opinion makes them culpable for the company’s fraudulent practices. Each of the following are jointly and severally liable – Stephen Holmes, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James Buckman, Michael Wargotz, Pauline Richards, and all Directors and Officers of Wyndham Vacation Ownership including Franz Hannng and Ryan Morettini.
Plaintiffs Patricia Williams and Steve Gutfield are former employees of defendants Wyndham Worldwide Corporation and Wyndham Vacation Ownership (together, “Wyndham”). Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) alleges that they were wrongfully terminated because they reported illegal business practices in Wyndham’s San Francisco office and asserts causes of action against Wyndham for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, violation of California Labor Code section 1102.5, unfair competition in violation of California Business and Professions
Jennifer Kraus. CBS News Ch 5
When you think of vacation timeshares, you may think of high pressured sales pitches.
But NewsChannel 5 Investigates found dozens of senior citizens who claim Wyndham Vacation Resorts goes way too far during its sales meetings.
Some of these seniors who are now suing Wyndham say they used to enjoy their Wyndham vacations, but then Wyndham changed its sales tactics.
Everytime they went on a trip, they were forced to attend what the company calls owners update meetings — and that’s when, these seniors tell us, their dream vacations and their lives turned into nightmares.
Among those victims: Mildred Folds.
“Nobody in my family knows — nobody,” Folds told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
That secret is that the 76-year-old widow is deep in debt and owes more than $175,000 after she claims she was repeatedly tricked and harrassed into buying ttimeshare points through Wyndham Vacation Resorts.
The company locations around the world, including here in Nashville, Crossville, and the Smokies.
“I won’t live long enough to pay it off,” Folds said.
Houston and Brenda Garvin said the same thing happened to them.
“If I had it to do over, I’d never do it again,” Houston Garvin said.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, “How much do you think you lost?”
“Over $600,000,” Brenda Garvin answered.
Both the Garvins and Mildred Folds are now suing Wyndham, the world’s largest timeshare company, alleging fraud, theft by conversion, negligent misrepresentation, along with violations of the Tennessee Timeshare Act and Consumer Protection Act.
They claim they were pressured into buying more timeshare points than they could ever possibly use or afford.
“So how many points did you end up buying?” we asked the Garvins.
“Two and a half million,” Brenda answered.
And Mildred Folds?
“3 million, 266, I think,” she told us.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked attorney Ben Gastel, “So why are they buying more points than they need?”
“I think that’s really the basis of our lawsuit,” he replied.
Gastel now has 70 clients with claims against Wyndham, including the Garvins.
“Certainly, most of our clients are elderly. There’s a substantial number of them that are on social security. Certainly, most of them are pensioners,” Gastel explained.
And every time his clients took a vacation at a Wyndham resort, he said, they were forced to attend high-pressure sales meetings that lasted hours on end.
Mildred Folds insisted those meetings were nearly impossible to leave.
“I’m sitting there literally like this saying, ‘I’ve got to go.’ ‘Well, just go ahead and sign this. Go ahead and sign this and then you can go,'” Folds recalled.
Folds also claims in her lawsuit Wyndham sales reps told her things to convince her to buy more points that ended up not being true.
“If I would just sign it, then they could lower the interest rates,” she stated.
“Is that in fact what happened?” NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked.
“No, no,” Folds replied.
She said Wyndham’s salespeople also told her the company would buy back any extra points she didn’t use. That too, she later found, wasn’t exactly as it had been explained.
“Were you surprised to discover that?” we asked.
“Very surprised!” Folds answered. “Not only surprised, but — he may need to bleep this out — I was mad as hell that they would pull this trick!”
And the Garvins described similar meetings.
“Every time you’d go, it was something different. They’d tell you, ‘Why did you do this? Why did you do that?’ Well, we did it because we trusted ‘em and thought they were telling us right,” Brenda Garvin said.
Every Wyndham rep, the Garvins said, recommended changing to yet another plan which brought with it, higher costs.
“Would you say these salespeople are saying and doing whatever it takes to close the sale?” we asked the Garvins’ attorney.
“Well, it would certainly appear that that’s what is going on,” Gastel answered.
In fact, a whistleblower lawsuit filed in California by former Wyndham employees claims that that’s exactly what Wyndham tells its salespeople to do, though the company denied the allegations in court.
“It done about broke us,” Brenda Garvin shared.
She and her husband recently had to simply walk away from their timeshare points, losing their entire investment, after they could no longer afford the $3,500 a month payment.
“It makes you feel bad when you think you’ve done something this stupid,” Houston Garvin said.
And Mildred Folds said, “Yes, I’m embarrassed that I let myself get caught like this and then I get so angry at Wyndham for putting me through this.”
Folds gets $2,300 a month from Social Security and her pension, yet her payment to Wyndham is a staggering $3,800 a month.
“How am I going to make it? What am I going to do next?” Folds wondered aloud.
She has resorted to selling her homemade jams and jellies as well as her mother’s secret recipe yeast rolls.
But it’s becoming clear to her that it’s simply not enough.
“Am I going to lose my home? Am I going to lose everything I’ve got?”
NewsChannel 5 repeatedly reached out to Wyndham to get some comment or statement. We started last week with the corporate office in Florida and even contacted their local attorneys here in Nashville.
So far, there’s been no response to any of our calls or emails.
Timeshare Investigation: Bridgeport Woman Says Wyndham Cheated Her
High pressure sales tactics have always dogged the timeshare industry, and one local senior says, she thinks they target the elderly on purpose.
She says, she also found it difficult to say no, and now she’s in the middle of a tug of war between Wyndham Vacation Resorts, and her money.
Mildred Folds of Bridgeport, Alabama says, she’s on the brink of bankruptcy in her golden years, all because of Wyndham, one of the largest timeshare companies in the world.
Now, this spry, 76-year old senior, is fighting back.
Mrs. Folds has always loved the visits to her timeshare property at the Wyndham Resort at Fairfield Glade near Crossville, Tennessee, except for one thing.
“At Fairfield Glade,there’s absolutely nothing to do,” she says, “unless you fish.”
She began staying at the Wyndham Smoky Mountain Resort near Sevierville, Tennessee and that’s when her ordeal began. She says, salespeople were always after her to buy more timeshare points to be able to stay. “You’ve got to buy more, you have to buy more,” she remembers from the meetings, “to do what you need to do and want to do.”
She tried to resist, but says the sales people kept pushing to get her signature for more points. “30 or 40 times, everything that you have to initial or sign,” she says. “You don’t have time to read it.”
Before she knew it, Mrs. Folds had more than 3 million timeshare points, and a world of debt. Her monthly income is $2,300 dollars from Social Security and a pension, but she owes $3,800 dollars a month to Wyndham.
She’s so embarrassed that she has not told her family about what happened to her. “I feel ashamed that I led Wyndham literally talk me into these things,” she says.
Mrs. Folds is suing Wyndham, charging theft by conversion, fraud and violations of Tennessee’s Consumer Protection Act. Her attorney, Judson Phillips, says she’s not alone.
“How many people are out there like Mildred?” he says, “I wish I could give you an answer. Actually, I can give you an answer. Far too many.”
Phillips says, he has not heard one word from Wyndham’s lawyer, but we did. Attorney Gene Podeska told us “this is on-going litigation and I am not permitted nor interested in making a comment to you at this time.”
Lori Ford with Wyndham Vacation Resorts thanked us for reaching out to them, but was, “unable to comment on pending litigation.”
Mrs. Folds has canned goods stacked up in one corner of her living room, ready for sale. She also has her knitted items good to go, too. She sells these items to support herself.. all because of her obligation to Wyndham Vacation Resorts.
“You don’t sleep well at night, I promise you,” she says. “You get up walking the floor wondering, how am I going to juggle to get everything paid?”
Adding insult to injury, Mrs. Folds could not stay at a Wyndham timeshare even if she wanted to. She says, all those three million points are going to maintenance fees.
Maintenance fees for a timeshare, she cannot use.
The purchase of timeshares and the sale of timeshares, both generate a lot of complaints at the Better Business Bureau. The agency says, evaluate your own needs when meeting to buy or sell points for a timeshare, and do NOT let sales people dictate what your needs are.
If they try high-pressure, get up, and walk out.