A Judge in Florida has dismissed part of a class action case against Marriott Vacation Club, accusing them of duping timeshare owners into purchasing invalid real estate deals. However, he has preserved the case’s primary claim that consumer deeds attached to the properties are void.
The case started in 2016, when the timeshare giant was hit with a class-action lawsuit lead by Anthony and Beth Lennen. The Lennens had purchased their timeshare at Marriott’s Crystal Shores Resort on Marco Island in 2013. They owned two weeks at the resort, one in January and another in August. However, under Marriott’s revised points system business model, the suit alleged that points amount to false real estate and is not attached to any physical property. Under American law, all timeshares are required to be a deeded real estate purchase. The suit also stated that Marriott was cheating its legacy timeshare owners by diluting the value of the genuine real estate. When the Lennens brought their timeshares it was to a specific week at their chosen resort, but when Marriott added that resort in its points network, a much larger pool of timeshare owners now have use of that resort, devaluing the Lennens timeshare purchase.
Since launching its points program, Marriott has successfully persuaded many of its legacy owners to also purchase points in its Vacation Club network. The Lennens, for instance, opted to buy points to supplement their two weeks because a Marriott sales rep persuaded them to do so. They were told that the points would give them greater flexibility if they ever wanted to exchange their weeks in Marco Island for reservations somewhere else. As a result, Marriott sold them real estate that isn’t really real estate because the points aren’t tethered to any specific property.
In his ruling, the Judge stated that the property descriptions contained within the consumer deeds alone, are indisputably inadequate. Jeffrey M. Norton, lawyer for the Lennens, said in an email, that because the Marriott Vacation Club consumer deed is the basis for the conveyance of purported timeshare interests in the MVC Trust, a declaration voiding the instrument would mean every conveyance is void and would entitle purchasers to rescission. Norton added. “While we are pleased with these findings, we are still assessing the order with regard to the claims the court dismissed and considering our options for proceeding.”
People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.