Bad News for Bluegreen Timeshares
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett filed lawsuits against Bluegreen Resorts, Bluegreen Corporation, Bluegreen Vacations Unlimited Inc. and Great Vacations Destinations Inc., charging the use of marketing practices that are illegal in the state of Pennsylvania. All four companies are Florida timeshare and vacation companies and part of Bluegreen timeshare.
The charges specifically accuse Bluegreen timeshare of marketing vacation packages with aggressive and deceptive timeshare sales presentations and offering airline tickets and other prizes, which the AG’s Office describes as “worthless”. The charges include advertising, real estate, and telemarketing violations.
According to the statement to the press released by Corbett’s office, prospective timeshare buyers were identified in malls, by phone, and at festivals and fairs. Bluegreen timeshare also operates full-time sales facilities in Hershey and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
“Virtually any consumer with a checkbook and a pulse allegedly qualified as a ‘winner’ in these promotions,” according to the Attorney General. “Unsuspecting consumers who believed they were contest winners were actually drawn into a high pressure bait-and-switch campaign designed to push timeshare vacation packages costing thousands of dollars.”
Prizes Promised in Timeshare Scam Not What they Seemed
The routine used was one that is all too familiar. People signed up in a contest to win a prize, such as a car, a vacation, or cash. They were then contacted with the news that they had not won the grand prize but had won a secondary prize, such as free airline tickets. Even people who did not sign up for the contest were sometimes told they were eligible for a prize.
‘Prize winners’ were told they would receive a free meal and free gas when they collected their prize if they attended a 90-minute timeshare sales presentation. Consumers who did attend the timeshare sales presentation found that the 90 minutes often stretched into as much as 5.5 hours. They also found that claiming the prizes they did win was fraught with caveats – receiving the promised airline tickets called for you first to pay for as many as ten nights in a pricey hotel in a limited number of cities. Free gas translated to coupons tied up with many restrictions; and in general, what was touted as free turned out to be ‘free’ but heavily wrapped in red tape.
Other charges involve Bluegreen timeshare’s alleged failure to properly inform consumers of their right to cancel their purchase as well as numerous violations of Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call List. Over 5700 Pennsylvania residents have purchased Bluegreen timeshare at prices that averaged between $20,000 and $40,000. Pennsylvania residents who have had problems with Bluegreen timeshare or any other timeshare company are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or online at www.attorneygeneral.gov
Criticism of Bluegreen Timeshare Sales Practices, Not of Timeshare Ownership
One last and very important thought about Bluegreen timeshares. These allegations all relate to the actions and practices of timeshare sales. There is not one mention that Bluegreen timeshare is anything less than a great vacation resort, nor do any of the charges relate in any way to problems or dissatisfaction with being an owner of Bluegreen timeshare. You always have an excellent way to bypass the ups and downs of new timeshare sales, by purchasing Bluegreen timeshare on the timeshare resale market where you skip the high pressure sales tactics and deal directly with the current timeshare owner.