Hilton Grand Vacations is urging a court of appeal to drop a lawsuit alleging the Timeshare giant bombarded consumers with unwanted Robocalls.
Melanie Glasser brought the dispute to court and argued that Hilton Grand Vacations was a ‘classic telemarketer’ and alleged that Hilton made 15.9 million timeshare marketing calls during a six month period. She states that her suit is exactly the type of problem that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act was created for.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was adopted into U.S law in an effort to address the growing number of telephone marketing calls. The TCPA restricts the making of telemarketing calls and the use of automatic telephone dialling systems and artificial or pre-recorded messages.
However, Hilton Grand Vacations say the equipment they used to place the offending calls, lacked the necessary features to be considered an autodialler. And in September a Florida Judge ruled that the system the timeshare company used to call her required human intervention, meaning the technology HGV used, did not qualify as an automatic telephone dialling system.
Following the Judge’s ruling in favour of Hilton Grand Vacations, Melanie Glasser is taking her suit to the Court Of Appeal to reverse the decision. She says material facts were missing from the ruling about the functionality of HGV’s dialling system. This included whether the agents who send numbers to the dialling equipment, have any discretion about who receives the calls or how frequently they are called.
In 2012, Hilton Grand Vacations was in court facing a similar suit, and says since then they have spent considerable resources ensuring its systems and practices comply. According to HGV, their system is deliberately designed to be incapable of dialling any numbers automatically and a human being is required to initiate every call. The case continues, and the Court Of Appeal will now review the case.
Beware Of Unsolicited Timeshare Cold-Calls
A company may contact you out of the blue, but you have to be especially cautious when you receive unsolicited phone calls from timeshare exit companies. Under new EU regulations, it is now illegal to cold-call people unless they have specifically agreed to being contacted. Any legitimate company would not willingly break the law in this way and risk the financial penalties in doing so. How did they obtain your information without you giving to them? It was probably sold to them in an illegal manner, they will know all about your previous investments and your personal details, this gives them credibility when trying to sell their fraudulent services.
They make claims that sound too good to be true, unfortunately, they are. Anyone who claims to be able to re-sell your timeshare within a specified time period, or who has buyer lined up, is probably lying. The timeshare re-sale market is completely saturated and even if you do manage to make a sale, it will be nowhere near the price you originally paid for it.
They request upfront fees, they will ask for fees to be paid via a credit card, bank transfer or cheque. These fees are requested to cover registration fees, taxes or closing costs. Fraudsters may initially ask for a small fee but rely on the victims seeing this as a nominal amount worth paying if it facilitates the sale of the timeshare. Once paid, various excuses are made by the fraudsters to explain why the timeshare has not been sold yet. Subsequently, further larger amounts are then requested by the fraudsters. Needless to say, no sales ever materialise and no money is ever refunded.
Protect yourself from timeshare fraud.
Always check that the details of the organisation or company contacting you, such as the website, address and phone number, are correct as the fraudsters may be posing as a legitimate organisation.
Challenge all calls, letters or emails from people or organisations you don’t know or you have never contacted before. Ask how they have obtained your details and make a note of the call.
If you have been a victim to fraud in the past, seek independent advise before engaging with any organisation that is offering to help you. Callous fraudsters will often attempt to defraud people who have already fallen victim to fraud by offering to return what the victim has already lost.
People who enter into timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract.
There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry. These type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or simply want to end your agreement, get in touch with us today to see how we can help with a possible timeshare termination.