Marriott Vacation Club owns and operates more than 70 vacation club properties throughout the United States, Caribbean, Europe and Asia. They have more than 400,000 Vacation Club owners. Owners are able to exchange into other locations through the Interval International Scheme, a timeshare exchange company with over 3,000 resorts. Uniquely, owners may also exchange their ownership week into Marriott Reward Points, which can be redeemed for stays at Marriott Hotel Properties, or for travel activities such as cruises and guided tours with affiliated partners.
It is the latter arm of the organisation that sparked a class action law suit against the company, alleging Marriott Vacation Club hid the true cost of cruises offered to consumers in exchange for points allocated to them through the purchase of Timeshare memberships.
In 2014, Daniel Finerman and Donna Devino initiated a nationwide class action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and all others similarly affected, alleging that they were improperly charged cash for cruise fees that should have been covered by their previously purchased Vacation Club Membership Points.
Members were not told when booking their cruises using points, that their points would not cover the costs of the cruise and that they would be required to pay for part of the fare with cash, under the deceptive and misleading ‘port fees’ cost. It was alleged that Marriott profited from deceptive and inflated charges.
Timeshare vacation owners who wanted to exchange their points to use for a cruise, were required to contact Marriott ownership resorts, who booked the cruises through the Ocean Explorer program, ‘Cruise for Points’. Members were told that their points would cover the cruise fare and that a certain number of points would be required, depending on the type and length of the cruise.
The class action claimed that they were charged additional sums to cover the cost of their cruises. Marriott advised that these costs were ‘Port Fees’, ‘Port Charges’ or ‘Cruise Line Pass Fees’, although these fees should have been covered by member points.
After 3 years of litigation, three mediation attempts and 21 evidence statements, Marriott agreed to settle the Marriott Vacation Club Class Action Lawsuit, but deny any wrongdoing. Marriott settled the suit in order to avoid further expense and bad publicity.
Those who were eligible had until 20 June 2018 to submit a claim, after this date all claims made will be assessed and successful claimants will receive a settlement.
People who enter into timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract.
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 and these types of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you purchased a lifestyle or concierge service, a timeshare or a holiday points based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.
Tel: 0800 470 3900