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Lessons from the 2016 BlueGreen Vacations Class Action Lawsuit

In 2016, BlueGreen Vacations Unlimited Inc., a prominent timeshare company, faced a significant class action lawsuit. Plaintiffs Kyle Miles and Jasmine Miles accused the company of using aggressive sales tactics and misinformation to lure consumers into unfavorable timeshare contracts. Although the court ultimately dismissed the lawsuit, it still serves as a crucial case study that highlights the necessity for transparency and ethical practices in the timeshare industry.

Allegations of Deceptive Practices

Kyle and Jasmine Miles attended a BlueGreen timeshare presentation in Las Vegas, Nevada, in December 2014. According to their lawsuit, BlueGreen engaged in several deceptive practices to induce them into signing a timeshare contract. The presentation, originally scheduled for two hours, extended to over five hours, utilizing high-pressure sales tactics throughout.

➤ Misleading Financial Information

During the presentation, the plaintiffs were informed that the timeshare would cost $15,000 over five years with an interest rate of 15.99%. However, the actual contract presented to them was for $25,000 over ten years. This significant discrepancy between the promised and actual contract terms highlights the extent of the alleged misinformation. Such financial misrepresentations can trap consumers in long-term, costly obligations that they did not anticipate.

➤ False Promises of Contract Buyback

One of the critical selling points presented to the Mileses was the assurance that BlueGreen would buy back the timeshare contracts if they were dissatisfied. This promise turned out to be false, leaving the plaintiffs and many others stuck with contracts they could neither use nor sell back. The inability to exit the contract contributed to their financial distress and sense of betrayal.

➤ Increasing Maintenance Fees

BlueGreen also misled the plaintiffs about the maintenance fees linked to the timeshare. They guaranteed that these fees would remain stable, but in truth, the fees escalated annually, increasing the financial burden of the already expensive contract. This ongoing expense worsens the financial impact on consumers, who could face rising payments each year without receiving additional value or benefits.

High-Pressure Sales Tactics

After the lengthy presentation, a BlueGreen agent took the plaintiffs to a separate room and read the terms of the contract to them. The agent coerced them into agreement by repeatedly prompting them to say, “I agree.” The plaintiffs assert that the terms presented during this session differed from those promised earlier, intensifying their sense of deception. This high-pressure tactic may cause consumers to agree to terms they do not fully understand or may not have consented to under less coercive circumstances. Furthermore, BlueGreen pressured them to open two BlueGreen credit cards and use them to cover the $5,000 down payment. This tactic not only facilitated the signing of the contract but also tied the plaintiffs financially to BlueGreen, increasing their financial vulnerability and dependency on the company.

Legal Claims and Representation

The class action lawsuit asserted multiple claims, including violations of the Florida False Advertising Law, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, the California False Advertising Act, the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and California’s business and professions code. These laws aim to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practices, highlighting the severity of the allegations against BlueGreen.

The plaintiffs aimed to represent a class of individuals across the United States who entered into timeshare contracts with BlueGreen under similar false pretenses. They were represented by attorneys Todd M. Friedman and Adrian R. Bacon from the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman PC. Their legal efforts highlight the collective action taken by consumers to challenge deceptive practices and seek justice.

Case Dismissal and Reflection

Despite the serious allegations, the BlueGreen Vacations Timeshare Sales Tactics Class Action Lawsuit, filed as Kyle Miles, et al. v. BlueGreen Vacations Unlimited Inc., Case No. 1:16-cv-00937, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, was ultimately dismissed on October 21, 2016. The dismissal leaves unresolved questions about the extent of BlueGreen’s accountability and the broader implications for consumers affected by similar practices. The dismissal does not necessarily indicate that the plaintiffs’ claims were unfounded but may reflect the complexities and challenges of proving such cases in court. It serves as a reminder of the difficulties consumers face when seeking legal redress against large corporations with significant resources.

Conclusion

The class action lawsuit against BlueGreen Vacations Unlimited Inc. in 2016 serves as a vital lesson for both consumers and the timeshare industry. It underscores the potential for abuse in timeshare sales practices and the importance of consumer protection. While the case was dismissed, it highlights the need for stringent regulations to prevent deceptive practices and ensure ethical conduct in the industry. Consumers should remain vigilant and thoroughly investigate any timeshare offers to avoid falling victim to similar tactics.


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