Another allegation hits the timeshare industry and this time it’s in the famous holiday destination of Gatlinburg and the Smokies. The area in Tennessee, USA is described as an area for outdoorsy people who enjoy hiking in the mountains and being close to nature. The area also boasts of an indoor waterpark, a two storey arcade and access to Ripley’s attractions. Certainly, the advertisements for the spectacular area could entice the interest of even the most jaded holidaymaker.
Very sadly a lawsuit in America has accused a Gatlinburg resort of mis-selling dream holidays in the beautiful area. Consumers are, in good faith, purchasing their new timeshare holiday, only to find when they come to book their holiday, the rooms are never EVER available and continue to be told time are time there is no availability at their prefered time.
The lawsuit is describing acts of mis-selling that are treacherous and dangerous to consumers and their hard earned cash. High pressure, fast-talking, smoke screening timeshare sales are not something that is unheard of however, the allegations in the lawsuit against the timeshare company in the Smokies are up there with the most shocking that we’ve heard.
The website for The Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa, promises you can “rest and relax” right in the heart of the Smokies, close to the popular tourist destinations of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The allegation has been made that those who do purchase the timeshares at the Westgate Resort never get to experience any of this for the money they have paid.
It has been said that “It’s part of a very complicated, high-pressure scheme, as we’ve alleged, to take money but deliver essentially nothing,” by attorney Mark Chalos with the Nashville office of Lieff Cabraser.
Mark Chalos is one of the few lawyers who is now suing the companies that own and run the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa. The 65-page suit has claimed Westgate salespeople are “encouraged to lie to customers in high-pressure sales pitches.” The lawsuit says that customers are never given a key piece of information. The lawsuit claims that the customers are never told that they will probably never get to use the timeshare that they have purchased.
Mark Chalos has said that “the problem is Westgate’s business model is to sell the condos not just once, but over and over and over again” He goes on to explain further saying that, “So, one unit, they may sell hundreds of times, and when people call to say, ‘I’d like to use a week,’ they’re not available,”
The class-action lawsuit currently names six clients, which includes a woman from Murfreesboro who has paid $18,000 for her timeshare and another woman from Goodlettsville who spent a staggering $30,000 on her timeshare. Both of them have alleged that they have never been able to book their timeshare since the purchase of it.
Another claim has been made in the lawsuit that there is something called the ‘secret pocket’.
The accusation documented in the lawsuit is that when consumers buy a timeshare at Westgate, the company makes it virtually impossible for the consumers to find the legal documents that make the terms and conditions clear and spell out their rights, which also includes their right to cancel the transaction.
It is suspected that there is a standard practice by the salespeople at Westgate, they use leather binders that apparently have secret compartments or pockets, that they appear to have used regularly to hide important information from the consumer.
Mark Carlos was questioned whether he actually thought that these pockets were used to hide important information from the timeshare customers and he was convinced with a categorical ‘yes!’
The group of lawyers are convinced that what they’re alleging affects a “substantial” number of families. They believe that there are certainly hundreds, and possibly thousands and of poor people who have fallen prey to these underhand, vicious and despicable business practices. The lawyers have their suspicions that these practices have happened for years at Westgate and this is why they believe that so many people could be adversely affected by this web of lies and deceit.
The Timeshare Consumer Association see that as a terrible tragedy for those who have been drawn to the area for its beautiful scenery and many attractions.
See our recent post regarding action fraud.
Posted on: October 1, 2018
For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email: info@TimeshareConsumerAssociation.org.uk