Vacation pressure leads couple to sue Wyndham Resorts

Kelly Holleran Dec. 17, 2008, 3:55am

Wyndham Vacation Resorts is being sued by a couple who alleges they were misled into purchasing a vacation package they did not want.

Roger L. and Catherine A. Cole bought the package after taking Wyndham Vacation Resorts up on an offer of an essentially free vacation in Branson, Mo., in early 2007, according to the complaint filed Dec. 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

In order to receive the vacation, all the Coles had to do was listen to a 90-minute presentation outlining the benefits of purchasing a Vacation Ownership Interest from Wyndham, the suit states.

At the end of the May 7, 2007, presentation, the Coles expressed a desire to learn more about the offer, they claim.

When the Coles asked about the offer, Wyndham's employees began to engage in numerous deceptive acts and practices, according to the complaint.

For example, the employees immediately placed an assortment of contracts and other agreements in front of the Coles and pressured them to sign the documents, the suit states.

"In the event plaintiffs expressed hesitation, rather than giving plaintiffs any time and space for contemplation they were immediately introduced to a more experienced agent of superior rand and broader deal making authority," the suit states.

Employees also neglected to provide the Coles with any time to read and fully comprehend what they were being pressured to sign and failed to explain to the Coles several material items in the contracts and agreements including the points that the Coles would acquire were non-transferable except to others possessing a similar "Vacation Ownership Interest," or to approved guests older than 21, the Coles claim.

Other items that were not explained to the Coles included that even transferring under the terms came with a fee, points unused at the end of each annual cycle could not be transferred to cover the cost of monthly payments, the contracts bore only "a trace resemblance to the terms explained during the presentation," the Coles would not be allowed to rent their time share out to others unless they acquired 500,000 points and the Coles would only have five days to rescind their contract, according to the complaint.

Because of the employees' deception, the Coles purchased a Vacation Ownership Interest with "very little understanding of that which they were actually signing," the suit states.

Again in June, the Coles traveled to Orlando, Florida, on another solicited vacation to explore the possibility of buying another 192,000 points so they could rent or transfer their points and ease their financial burden, they claim.

Employees again engaged in deceptive practices by withholding from the Coles the fact that the Coles would only be able to rent in exchange for 40 percent of the ultimate rent amount, according to the complaint.

"Plaintiffs have been fraudulently deprived of honestly-earned income, a deprivation which continues as monthly payments continue to become due, in addition to maintenance payments," the suit states.

Wyndham has not allowed the Coles to be released from their obligation, they claim.

So, they have also suffered extraordinary mental anguish and have become liable for large amounts of money, according to the complaint.

In the two-count suit, the Coles are seeking $150,000, plus costs.

They are represented by Thomas Q. Keefe, III, of Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 08-L-632.

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