In all of the eleven Wyndham lawsuits we have followed, or are still following, lack of availability is a constant theme. Former Wyndham executive Danielle Henderson provided a Declaration supporting the Kirchner plaintiffs in which she describes how inventory is manipulated so that the general public can book reservations easier than owners who paid thousands of dollars upfront to become Wyndham members.
Oversold inventory is a complaint often reported by timeshare members industry-wide. In 2017, The Manhattan Club (TMC) settled with the New York Attorney General for a slap-on-the-wrist fine of $6.5 million, admitting they oversold inventory. Over $100 million was paid in maintenance fees to a shell company with no employees. TMC Owners are still fighting. https://www.facebook.com/groups/285143193617063
One of the lawsuits we followed that alleged inventory manipulation, unrelated to the Kirchners, is EDNA ALLEN and VICKI ALLEN-HUGHES Plaintiffs, v. WYNDHAM VACATION RESORTS, INC., WYNDHAM VACATION OWNERSHIP, INC., Case No.: 3:18-cv-00259, This is lawsuit is number five of five in which claims of fraud were allowed to proceed. Following the Declaration are excerpts from the Allen lawsuit describing poor availability.
DECLARATION OF DANIELLE HENDERSON (unedited)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE No. 1:20-CV-00436-RGA-JLH, filed 07-15-2022
STEVEN ERIC KIRCHNER, ELIZABETH LEE KIRCHNER, and MARCIA RICHARDS, Individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs, vs. WYNDHAM VACATION RESORTS INC., Defendant. Case 1:20-cv-00436-RGA-JLH, 07/15/22
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746, Danielle Henderson declares:
l . I was Vice President, Resort Operations with Travel + Leisure Co. (T L), formerly Wyndham Destinations Inc., the parent company of Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc., until my departure from the company in April 202 (digit missing in document).
2. I was with T + L for nearly 19 years and served on the Club Wyndham Board of Directors before my position was abruptly terminated, I believe my position was eliminated because I brought an integrity concern to the CEO, Mike Brown, regarding the Executive Vice President of Human Resources Kim Marshall and General Counsel, Jim Savina. My concerns were validated by other colleagues prior to my addressing it with CEO Mike Brown.
3. To provide background, I was a top performer and respected leader within the company. Some of my responsibilities included overseeing multimillion-dollar budgets, capital spending, quality controls, policies and procedures, systems, process improvement, new technology for Resorts and insurance claim management for over 180 locations.
4. To date, I have not accepted a severance package and I revoked acceptance of an offer made by T + L in August 2021. I am not receiving any compensation for the information I am sharing with Plaintiffs in this case. Everything I am prepared to testify about is common knowledge and documented within the organization. I reviewed this lawsuit (which was public) and I believe that I can assist in explaining a very complicated business model which will validate the PlaintiffS’ claims. There are also documents, databases, reports, emails, PowerPoint presentations, standard operating procedures and training content that will validate my testimony.
5. I am prepared to testify that T + L improperly allocates and misappropriates owner inventory for its own financial gain, which severely reduces the availability of accommodations for owners. This is important because the Plaintiffs claim that they are unable to find availability on the Club Wyndham owner’s website, but they can find the exact same accommodations available when they search on a third-party website like Expedia. T + L strategically decides which inventory to make available for owners; it takes desirable inventory away from owners and gives it to other “channels” that are profitable to T + L and drives new owners to Club Wyndham.
6. I am prepared to testify that T L intentionally overbooks/oversells Resort accommodations, which results in a reduction of what accommodations are available for owners. Owners who have reservations for a specific unit type may not receive what they booked because it will not be available due to overbooking of the property.
7. I am prepared to testify that T + L misuses fixed week inventory by including it in its own inventory optimization strategy. It allows guests who are not the owner of the fixed week unit to occupy the unit during the owner’s fixed time. Legally, fixed-week units are to be held for the owner for the entirety of the stay. T+ L is not compensating the actual owner of the fixed week unit when they “borrow” their inventory. This is important because it demonstrates how T + L improperly manages the inventory and what is available for owners to use.
8. I am prepared to testify that CEO Mike Brown is aware of seven Customer Pain Points, onc of which is specific to inventory availability. Mike Brown created this initiative and is responsible for its content. This is important because it demonstrates T + L senior leadership is well aware of the availability issue and continues to force owners to remain in their contracts even while knowing that its business practices are the direct causes of the problem.
9. To my knowledge, none of the foregoing is disclosed to owners before they sign their timeshare purchase agreements.
Further Declarant Sayeth Not.
- certify under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed on this day of April, 2022
Excerpts from EDNA ALLEN and VICKI ALLEN-HUGHES Plaintiffs, v. WYNDHAM VACATION RESORTS, INC., WYNDHAM VACATION OWNERSHIP, INC., filed in THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE IN KNOXVILLE Case No.: 3:18-cv-00259, Dismissed due to settlement on June 15, 2021
The deposition of plaintiff Edna Allen does not establish that plaintiffs were denied reservations, rather simply that reservations were not booked because they were not available. Plaintiffs have not established that the ability to book a reservation when and where they wanted was guaranteed by any term of their purchase agreement.
The contract states that plaintiffs are “entitled to use Points to reserve the use of accommodations in the Club . . . on a space available basis”
Fifty-nine related cases were filed by attorney Donald S. Hackett on behalf of individual plaintiffs against Defendants. See, e.g., Buxton v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc., No. 6:19-cv-1555-Orl-37DCI (Doc. 62). For a just, speedy, and efficient determination of these cases, Mr. Hackett was directed to select five cases (“First Five”) to proceed, while the remaining fifty-four cases were stayed.
Excerpt from Memorandum Opinion March 31, 2021
The complaint otherwise refers to various general issues like plaintiffs’ inability to get reservations where and when they wanted, defendants failing to provide, changing, or eliminating material benefits and services and plaintiffs being denied access to the properties.
More specifically, plaintiffs state that defendants denied their requests for reservations or that the ability to reserve a unit was “severely limited to the point of rarely if ever getting reservations they desired” which made plaintiffs “unable to book where and when they wanted to,” even calling six to eight months in advance of a desired reservation.
Plaintiffs allege that reservation availability was limited because defendants only set aside a portion of the units for timeshare owners, thereby “denying access to the properties and benefits to which they are entitled under the terms of the contract.”
Archambeault et al vs Wyndham Vacation Resorts
Buxton vs Wyndham Vacation Resorts
Bedgood vs Wyndham Vacation Resorts
Kirchners vs Wyndham Vacation Resorts
Thank you, Irene, this situation is not unique to the US, in fact, it has been a recurring theme amongst timeshare owners in Europe for many years, lack of availability due to non-members booking through third-party platforms. It has also been noticed by members that the resort’s own websites have advertised availability to non-members, and at prices well below the annual maintenance fees. When asked about this the reply has always been the same, these are “marketing weeks”, and are not part of the members inventory, well that may well be true, but when it is a points based or floating week system, how do we know that it is truly “marketing inventory”?
It is a simple case of numbers, under a fixed week system, inventory is allocated and cannot be used unless the owner “banks” their weeks, and the number of members is limited to those weeks, with points or floating there is no limit to the number of members. For example a resort that has 150 units, with 51 weeks available in each gives us a total of 7,650 weeks available or a maximum of 7,650 members, with points or floating the number of members is totally unlimited. So it is obvious that with those systems not everyone can be accommodated, cap this with so-called “marketing weeks” reduces that availability even more.
All we can say is that it is pure greed on the part of the developers, who promise the earth but never deliver.
That is all for this week once again apologies for the lack of articles this week, unfortunately, personal events have not allowed me the time to work on them, hopefully, we can get back to normal soon.
Have a great weekend, Baby Dog is up to something, he is never this quiet when I’m at my computer.