Our office has just been told by several Wyndham Employees that Wyndham has finally put an end to its latest deceptive buy back sales program called Pathways. We hope this change was brought own by Wyndham’s own guilt, but our better judgment tells us it was more likely the owners that were becoming better educated as to the clearly fraudulent nature of this poorly contrived sales program. No one doubts that Pathways was never a true redemption or buy back program, but a deceptive untruthful attempt to trick the unwary into buying more points.
The lawyers at Wyndham should have been deeply ashamed at ever approving such a horrible one page document (I say document because it was never a legally binding contract obligating Wyndham to do anything). The pathways “document” was a con from its inception. While being glad Wyndham has stopped the corporate swindle, its very existence begs another question. What type of people would concieve, approve and implement such a diabolical plan. What would motivate Franz Hanning and his minions to so obviously violate both law and ethics. The answer must once again be the one single thing that motivates all of Wyndham’s decisions – money. In order to keep up the Wall Street facade that Wyndham can do no wrong and its timeshare revenue will continue to increase – Wyndham’s insiders had to find more devious ways to sucker its existing owners into buying more worthless Wyndham timeshare points.
While Pathways was the latest iteration in this diabolical plan – we actually don’t expect this to be a true act of repentance. True repentance would mean refunding all of the money spent by thousands of people when conned into buying the pathways “dream.” To that end, we hereby challenge Wyndham (and especially who ever made the decision to end the Pathways graft) to refund every owners money that bought into Pathways. In fact, don’t stop there, refund every owners money that was defrauded into buying more points! That’s just too many people you might say – well that’s the bed you made so now you should sleep in it!
Stop fighting all these poor elderly people that cant afford to buy groceries because of your endless theft and pay them back what you deceptively manipulated from them – their hard earned money. This message especially goes out to the new legal chief at Wyndham Vacation – Ryan Morettini. You can chose to assuage the anger of all of us kid’s who have parents that have been defrauded by Wyndham by settling their claims, or you can continue in your arrogance and fight. Fighting will only make the problem grow worse, motivate more whistle-blowers to step out from the shadows, and cause more members to hire more lawyers. No – the better plan is to douse the growing flame by paying back some of the “B”illions you stole.
To those responsible for Wyndham - Myra J. Biblowit, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James E. Buckman, Michael Wargotz, Pauline D.E. Richards, Stephen Holmes, Franz Hanning and Ryan Morettini.
Wyndham would rather pay lawyers than its own defrauded timeshare owners. Wyndham has taken a strategy of using procedural loopholes and legal tricks to delay and dismiss legal actions. Countless elderly timeshare owners have bravely filed suit against Wyndham over the last year. These suits seek to obtain a refund from Wyndham for money fraudulently taken through high pressure coercive sales schemes.
Unless you have sat through a Wyndham sales meeting (called “owner update” meetings by Wyndham), it’s hard to understand how horribly difficult they can be on seniors. Wyndham’s overarching scheme is superbly simple. The timeshare owner enters the meeting unsatisfied with their current timeshare situation. Wyndham takes the position that since there is no way to get rid of the timeshare (and thus the monthly liability), seniors only choice is to upgrade the timeshare (buy more points). Every upgrade is then sold with the promise that it will fix their timeshare ills. Of course, that is rarely true, and the poor timeshare owner becomes part of the Wyndham grind of endless upgrades and program changes.
Many who fall victim to Wyndham’s endless upgrade scheme eventually find the only way to stop the madness is to challenge Wyndham in court. That’s when Wyndham adds insult to injury. They employ very high priced lawyers to make such litigation as painful as possible on these brave owners, eventually forcing them to drop their suits or settle for pennies on the dollar. These harsh, uncompassionate and expensive tactics have intimidated countless timeshare owners and lawyers from filing what are very valid claims against Wyndham. Thus, Wyndham believes it’s more profitable to pay lawyers money than to refund their ill-gotten gains to defrauded seniors.
So what can these elderly victims do? This is what they can do! Start speaking out loudly to everyone, certainly calling and writing regulators, government authorities, and the media – everyone who will listen. However, there is an even better way to get your voice heard. Wyndham is a public company designed for one purpose – to make money for its shareholders, the largest of which are Wyndham insiders and institutional investors. Those ultimately responsible for the company are its directors. Wyndham’s Board is made up of insiders (those also in management positions with Wyndham) and outside directors, reputable people who are really the only check or balance on corporate corruption by the insiders.
While we should appeal to all Wyndham directors, it’s likely that any inside directors (in this case only Stephen Holmes, Wyndham’s CEO) are very aware of the fraud being conducted and are either ethically accepting of such conduct, or have allowed their financial interest in Wyndham to overshadow any moral dilemma they may have.
However, while the outside directors likewise have a significant financial interest in Wyndham through lucrative stock options, they generally are kept in the dark about the micro day to day sales schemes that result in the lion share of Wyndham’s revenue. While they may review Wyndham’s quarterly and/or annual financial data, they are likely unaware of the policies, practices and methods that generate such significant timeshare revenue.
Interestingly, the case of Wyndham, all of the directors are outside directors save Mr. Holmes. Consequently, our proposition is that everyone begin a dialogue with Wyndham’s outside Board of Directors, those whom we hope and expect are wholly unaware of the horrible and unfortunate timeshare fraud being committed in the name of corporate profits. Pursuant to their fiduciary responsibility to the company, they need to know what is happening to our parent and grandparents. They need to understand the diabolical methods employed by Fran Hanning and his minions to generate such large returns from the timeshare division. It is our hope that with such knowledge, the directors will immediately take steps to both stop the illicit sales activities, and begin repaying those seniors who have lost their life savings to the whirl pool drain that is Wyndham Vacation Ownership.
The following directors should be contacted by everyone who has been victimized by Wyndham: Myra J. Biblowit, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James E. Buckman, Michael Wargotz, and Pauline D.E. Richards. Help these good people understand your plight and what is happening. It is our assumption than none of these honorable professionals would want their names attributed to such underhanded scams and secret schemes. If we all speak out to these people, it is our hopeful believe that finally positive steps will begin to take place – to reform the timeshare division of the company, and right the wrongs done to these elderly owners.
If you also want to make your opinion known to those more directly involved in Wyndham’s timeshare fraud, the following would be a good place to start: Franz Hanning (President and CEO of Wyndham Vacation) and Ryan Morettini (Vice President of Wyndham Legal Department). There are also a number of other in-house and outside lawyers who could be contacted.
Wyndham’s Board of Directors Must Act to Stop the Timeshare Fraud
The following is an excerpt from the lawsuit of Patricia Williams v. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, et. al. being litigated in the San Francisco County Superior Court. The facts set forth in the Complaint reveal what is widespread throughout Wyndham. The very same fraudulent sales schemes are being repeated at virtually every Wyndham Resort. These practices constitute an organized pattern and practice to defraud senior citizens in violation of numerous state and federal laws. Consequently, Wyndham’s officers and directors should be held accountable for what appears to be rampant criminal activity throughout its timeshare organization. We call on Stephen Holms, Scott McLester, Franz Hanning, Ryan Morettini, Myra J. Biblowit, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James Buckman, Michael Wargotz, Pauline Richards to immediately stop this behavior and reform Wyndham’s timeshare business. We also call on the Board to voluntarily take steps to pay the defrauded seniors back – including settling the lawsuits brought by these poor elderly claimants. You now are on notice that this activity is occurring throughout your company.
Excerpt from Williams v. Wyndham:
“Ms. Williams attended training during the first few weeks of working in San Francisco. During the training, Susan Berstein indicated to Ms. Williams that illegal and/or fraudulent claims or promises were being made to sell timesahres. Mw. Williams immediately reported Ms. Berstein’s observations and the fraudulent conduct to Vice President Tara Dow. Ms. Dow did nothing except threaten to fire Ms. Bernstein .
When [Ms. Williams was conducting tours], Ms. Williams overheard other slaes associates making illegal and false representatins to various customers. It appeared to Ms. Williams that many of these illegal and fraudulent statements were being targeted towards seniors.
This conduct was also witnessed by co-workers. For example, owners were told that if they increased their points, they could do so at essentially no cost. For example, some owners were informed if they increased their points to the Presidential Reserve level, Wyndham would buy back the points or essentially refund the owners moneys if the owner waited at least eleven months to sell the points back. All of the Plaintiffs heard Anita Howell tell owners that they were going to have “guaranteed buy-back” if they wre enrolled in Presidential Reserve. In reality, the program was something different and instead of a buy-back program, it was a “right of first refusal” program where the owner would first have to find a buyer and then Wyndham could buy the property instead. This fraudulent practice was widespread in San Francisco and Plaintiffs are informed and believe that it happens at other locations too.
Klaleh York made similar fraudulent statements to woners in an effort to induce them to purshace additional points. Other member services representatives falsely represented that they were going to be reducing the monthly payments for owners or that maintenance fees would be “capped,” when in fact such payments were actually being deferred or they were subject to increases. These “lower monthly payments” schmes in reality were simply a way to fraudulently induce customers into buying more services and borrowing more money.
Several associates also misrepresented the actual amounts the owners were currently paying for monthly payments so that they could be encouraged to purchase more points. Ms. Williams was aware owners were being billed through Bill-me-later when they were being told that there were not purchasing anything additional. Ms. Williams is informed and believes that the owners were billed through Bill-Me-Later so that the owners would not be able to ask for a refund of their money.
Ms. Williams was also aware of slaes associates selling timeshares without a license, which she is informed and believes violates California real estate law. Ms. Williams complained to her manager Robert Parker, but nothing was done about the improper sales.
The fraudulent conduct was sanctioned by Wyndham as part of the process to drive sales. In fact, a technique was adopted where Anita Howell started to close deals for other sales associates using the same misrepresentations that Ms. Williams had complained about. In October 2010, Ms. Williams became aware that Ms. Howell was committing credit card fraud with some elderly clients by getting them to apply for more credit without their knowledge. It appeared to Ms. Williams that the fraudulent practices and misrepresentations violated California law and that Wyndham was illegally taking advantage of vulnerable seniors.
In fact, sales representatives were informed when older patrons would be coming in. They were encouraged by managers to target seniors and direct the “guaranteed buy Back” and “lower monthly payments” schemes at the older owners. Owners were also falsely promised rental income in case they wanted to avoid making their payments.
Ms. Williams was encouraged to engage in the illegal and fraudulent conduct in an effort to drive additional sales. She refused noting that the conduct was unethical and that it violated the California Real Estate Board regulations and that she believed it violated California law.
In August 2010, Ms. Dow hired a new manager, Steven, Savino, who had previously worked at the Williamsburg office. Mr. Savino started conducting training meetings in which he taught employees how to use unethical methods for selling timeshares, [and how to]manipulate customers [by going into] ethical grey areas.
In October 2010, Ms. Williams became aware that Anita Howell was committing credit card fraud on the elderly. She would have owners sign documents that were credit card applications but she told them they were papers to renegotiate their loans with Wyndham. The Ms. Howell would maximize the credit people had on their credit cards and use those funds to purchase additional timeshare points without proper authorization to do so. Ms. Williams became aware of the extent to which Ms. Howell was defrauding seniors who were owners. She would lie to owners about the fees that they were actually paying and deceiving them into purchasing additional products that actually increased their payments, when she was falsely claiming that their payments would go down. Ms. Williams complained about these practices to various managers in the San Francisco office.
Numerous supervisors and managers were aware of the fraudulent practices and targeting seniors. Among these were Robert Parker, Linda Tanner, Jim White, Steve Savino, and Vilen Kazaryan.
Ms. Williams confronted Ms. Howell about her fraudulent practices, and she asked, “how can you do this?” But Ms. Howell who was known as a “sales machine” responded that “you can’t have a conscience in this business.” Ms. Williams complained about Ms. Howell to the Director of Sales, but was told to “keep your mouth shut or you will be fired.”
“…the fraudulent practices were often directed at senior owners due to their perceived vulnerabilities.”
The very same fraudulent sales schemes are being repeated at virtually every Wyndham Resort. These practices constitute an organized pattern and practice to defraud senior citizens in violation of numerous state and federal laws. Consequently, Wyndham’s officers and directors should be held accountable for what appears to be rampant criminal activity throughout its timeshare organization.
We call on Stephen Holms, Scott McLester, Franz Hanning, Ryan Morettini, Myra J. Biblowit, Brian Mulroney, George Herrera, James Buckman, Michael Wargotz, Pauline Richards to immediately stop this behavior and reform Wyndham’s timeshare business. We also call on the Board to voluntarily take steps to pay the defrauded seniors back – including settling the lawsuits brought by these poor elderly claimants. You now are on notice that this activity is occurring throughout your company. Failure to act in resolving this conduct would be a breach of your duties to Wyndham’s shareholders as well as Wyndham’s owners.
Also, we are calling on all the attorneys at Wyndham to stop fighting against these poor elderly seniors that did nothing but rely on the misrepresentations of your sales people to their very destructive detriment. You add insult to injury when you drag out their administrative or legal claims – essentially calling parents like mine lyers. Therefore, Scott McLester, Gregory John Bendlin, Charles Bott, Thomas Alan, Ryan Morettini and all the other Wyndham lawyers need to start having some compassion on these poor people! You’ll find that becoming part of the solution and not the problem will always be in the best interest of your client – Wyndham.
Reprint from Consumer Website:
Wyndham’s officers and directors have been making hundreds of millions of dollars from their stock options and excessive salaries while fleecing our country’s elderly with worthless timeshares and a fake buy back program called Pathways. Each of Wyndham’s directors is absolutely aware of what Wyndham does in fraudulently selling Wyndham timeshare points to senior citizens. They are part of a scheme that preys on our parents and grand parents to spend their savings on timeshare upgrades, while the Board members are issued more stock options. Each and every Board member of Wyndham (Stephen P. Holmes, Myra J. Biblowit, James E. Buckman, George Herrera, Brian Mulroney, Pauline D.E. Richards, Michael H. Wargotz, Franz Hanning, Ryan Morettini) should be held civilly and criminally liable for their corporate greed. Everyone should let their state attorneys general and elected officials know you want an immediate investigation into these people. The sick irony is that Wyndham’s corporate predecessor, Cendant, has numerous officers and directs sitting in prison today because of their greed! Its time for these Wyndham officials to join them in jail!
In short, its a fraudulent scheme to get existing timeshare owners to buy more Wyndham timeshare points. While its being sold as a “true buy back program,” the real truth is that its nothing more than a worthless piece of paper. As previously reported, the Pathway’s “contract” does not obligate Wyndham to purchase your points…in any way, at any time, at any price.
Second, the so called “contract” refers to itself, meaning that if Wyndham were pressed into purchasing some of your points, they will only pay you 20% of the price you paid to take part in the Pathways program (i.e. 20% of the new points you purchased to take part in the pathways program). Its a horribly dishonest scheme designed to take advantage of those who in desperation may need to sell their points (which are actually worthless and cannot be sold on the open market).
Finally, the Pathways “contract” isn’t a contract at all. Wyndham does not actually sign the document, and therefore does not ever legally bind itself to anything contained in the document. In truth, when you boil it all down, Wyndham is asking you to buy more points (105,000 or more additional points) so that you will have the right to “tender” those same points back to Wyndham for only 20% of what you paid for the points. Utterly Ridiculous. Its a lose-lose proposition every time. If you’ve become a victim of the Pathways program, call or email us today to discuss your rights! (818) 394-0347 or email@example.com.
Wyndham’s Pathways Program: Real Buyback or Sales Scam
The most recent addition to Wyndham’s vacation ownership (timeshare) offerings is the “Pathways Program.” The Pathways program is being touted as a “real” buy back program, providing timeshare owners with the right to sell their timeshare contracts back to Wyndham for a whopping 20% on the dollar. However, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that the new program is not a buy back or redemption program at all, but another Wyndham sales scam to sell more points.
First, the program requires the Wyndham owner to purchase additional points in order to participate. The Pathways buyers we interviewed stated that the price was twenty percent (20%) of what they currently owned. So if you owned One Million Points, you would presumably have to buy an additional 200,000 points to participate.
Second, not only is the program costly, but it never truly obligates Wyndham to purchase your timeshare points. A careful reading of the Pathways “Terms and Conditions” reveals that Wyndham does not actually promise to buy back your timeshare points. To the contrary, the supposed contract states that ” WVR has no obligation to purchase Owner’s eligible timeshare contract(s).” In Wyndham’s own words, it only has to purchase some or all of your timeshare contracts if it “elects to purchase” under the Program. The Pathways Program merely gives the owner the right to “provide Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc. (WVR) AN OPPORTUNITY to purchase the ownership interest,” an opportunity that it is never obligated to exercise. Consequently, Wyndham has once again hoodwinked its very own members into buying additional largely worthless timeshare points without actually offering anything of value in return.
The Pathways Program has numerous additional problems, the most obvious of which is that the Pathways ‘contract” is not a contract at all. A contract requires at least two parties to exchange promises. The “Pathway by Club Wyndham” document is cleverly only signed by the timeshare owner. Wyndham never executes the one-sided document. The document, therefore, is unenforceable against Wyndham.
In conclusion, the Pathways Program is a fraudulent scheme by Wyndham to sell more timeshare points. It promises absolutely nothing. Moreover, even if Wyndham was guilted into purchasing your points, the math will never work out in your favor. Our next article about Pathways will show you how the Pathways program is calculated to ensure Wyndham always profits.
The Terms & Conditions of Wyndham’s New Pathways Program
The following is an actual copy of the new Pathways Contract. Our attorneys tell us its not worth the paper it’s written on. Read carefully and see for your self .
Reprint from Consumer Affairs Website: See at http://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/wyndham_vacation_resorts.html
Marilyn of West Chester, PA:
We bought into pathways when we stayed at Alexandria, VA plus had to buy more points. The agent convinced us to change our home resort from Bonnet Creek, FL to national harbor Washington DC. That was dec 2013. Then in feb we went to Bonnet Creek for a stay. We were told we made a big mistake getting into National Harbor. Told us we needed add’l pts to be platinum which was the best level but we couldn’t be moved back into bonnet creek as our home resort. We were convinced to buy into a package that included many resorts.
Then in oct, 2014, we went to San Antonio. New agent, angela, had michael come to talk to us about pathways, which we already had. He was rude & arrogant. Kept saying we didn’t have pathways & couldn’t believe we didn’t want it. He makes $300,000 & he has it (pathways). His father has so why wouldn’t we want it. He said he wasn’t getting thru to us! He was the worse agent we’ve ever been exposed to. We are very stupid when it comes to timeshares. Wish we never started with them. I just wish we could get out of our pathways contract. Any help or information about this would be most helpful.
Zane from Little Rock:
We just recently ended a ten-year association with Wyndham Vacation Resorts. To sum it all up in one word… nightmare. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever had to hire an attorney. If you make the mistake of attending one of their presentations, usually under the guise of some free or low cost vacation, you will be subjected to high pressure sales tactics. They will promise you a 45-minute presentation, but you’ll still be there 2 or 3 hours later. During that time you’ll be passed around from high pressure to higher pressure if you resist their offer. If you do sign, you’ve made a deal with the devil. Your monthly maintenance fees, which seemed so reasonable during the sales presentation, will begin to increase almost immediate and they will never stop increasing.
The first time (and every time, thereafter) that you stay at a Wyndham resort, you’ll be subjected to more hard sales presentations, even if you request not to. They will bug you to come by your room with a little “gift”. The gift is a high pressure sales presentation. Just try to get out of a contract with Wyndham and see what hell is really like. There is NO ONE who wants to buy you out of your sucker contract. You can’t even give it away. Charities won’t touch timeshares with a twenty-foot pole. They know better. Wynhdam will ruin your credit and/or sue you for every penny they’re owed and if it bankrupts you in the process, guess what? You signed the contract and you’re gonna fulfill it. No mercy. If it’s not already too late for you, don’t go anywhere near Wyndham. You will regret it.