A group of Florida timeshare owners are suing a company for deceptive sales practices. Palm Beach Post reports that about 20 couples and other individuals have filed a lawsuit against Boca Raton-based Bluegreen Corp. The plaintiffs claim that the timeshares cost more and have fewer benefits than they were promised initially.
Palm Beach Post reports that the group’s lawyers are pushing for more than $5 million in damages. They allege that Bluegreen’s practices violate Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
A 2016 survey found that 66% of timeshare owners said that the “too high” maintenance fees were the reason they wanted to cancel or get out of their timeshare. And 46% said that these fees were their “most important” reason for leaving their timeshare. These fees are one of the main aspects of this case and so many other cases like it. According to attorneys Jason Whittemore and Todd Friedman, the annual maintenance fees on the timeshare units were higher than the company originally promised.
“These representations were false and [Bluegreen] would not permit plaintiffs to cancel or refund their timeshares, routinely doubled or tripled the represented maintenance fees, and did not roll over any ‘points’ between years,” the attorneys wrote in the lawsuit, according to Palm Beach Post.
The Bluegreen also promised that buyer’s points could be used indefinitely, even though they expired at the end of the year. The plaintiffs were also promised money-back guarantees, but were denied their refunds when requested.
The Bluegreen case is not the only example of the questionable innards of the timeshare world. Forbes reports that the IRS recently revoked the status of an organization that was taking charitable donations of timeshare internals, according to a private letter ruling.
“The difficulty in timeshare sales led to a requirement that the donors pay up front fees,” Peter J. Reilly writes for Forbes. “There was an argument as to whether the fees were for services to the donor, since that would undercut the position that the fees were deductible charitable contributions. Overall things were pretty ugly.”