Bluegreen Corporation / lies and deceptive sales practices
DaDavid E. Melton
Numbered statements are quotes straight out of Blueturds membership module word for word followed by the experience my family and I have had with Blueturd.
Twenty lies and deceptive messaging straight word for word from Bluegreens membership module. These can be used when consulting an attorney. This is in violation of the Lanham Act of 1946.
1. There are more than 35 Bluegreen resorts to explore.
Bluegreens gives potential purchasers the impression that it owns thirty-five or more resorts in which club members can chose from. But through attempting to secure vacation reservation in Alabama we were told that Bluegreen does not own resorts in Alabama but only has an interest in them. The sales module list thirty-six resorts individually with a 2-3 page description. Judging by a small indicator in the lower right hand corner of some of the resort descriptor pages it states ?A Bluegreen Vacation Club Resort.? Of the thirty-six descriptor pages listed fourteen has this indicator. So in my opinion, at the time of this module publication Bluegreen in reality owned fourteen resorts, not more than thirty-five.
2. In the meantime, you and your guest will have wonderful vacations at your choice of Bluegreen Vacation Club Resorts-because as a Club owner, you can create your own vacation, tailor made to your unique preferences.
It sounds and reads well but my family cannot have any kind of satisfactory vacation when someone else chooses where and when we spend our vacation time. Our choices were rejected four times, two rejections in Alabama and two in Florida. In our experience thus far with Bluegreen it works in this manner. We can choose a particular location where we would like to visit but not when we can visit. Or we can choose a particular date of which we can visit but not choose where to visit at that time. We have found that it is impossible to create your own vacation, tailor made to your unique preferences through Bluegreen program. We can choose when but not where or where but not when.
3. We believed if we just gave people the facts about what we were offering, success was inevitable. We were right.
How on earth does one address this claim? Through our experience with Bluegreen they are in fact very fact challenged. We did not discover the true facts of Bluegreens program until our initial attempt to utilize our membership. This was a full year beyond out purchase date and well beyond ridiculous ten day recessionary period of which you may reclaim your money for dissatisfactory service. It takes Bluegreen forty-five days just to process your paperwork. Nice timing on the part of Bluegreen and definitely in their favor.
4. We took the same approach we had back in the late sixties: be honest and deliver a great product.
Again how does one address such a statement? Bluegreen has been nothing but dishonest with us from the time we were approached on the streets of Gatlinberg and talked into this scam. We have received no product or service from Bluegreen and from our experience so far with Bluegreen we never will. We have however discovered that we have received much misrepresentation of facts and much withholding of important information by Bluegreen sales representatives in order in an obvious attempt to secure revenue for the company by whatever means deemed necessary at the time right or wrong.
5. When you're an owner in the Bluegreen Vacation Club (?the Club?) you can go anywhere within the Club network without paying an exchange fee.
This statement does have some truth to it. My family and I can go anywhere within the Bluegreen network but what we are finding out is going where and when we want is basically impossible. We can decide where without when or when without where. We can't apply both for one vacation. If we choose where and when to vacation we will have to go outside of the program and pay all of our own expenses plus Bluegreens maintenance fees and membership dues of which they are very adamant about receiving.
6. You can choose the size of accommodations that suit you.
This has some truth but it is a worthless option when incorporated with the fact we can't use it when and where of our choosing.
7. Flexible accommodations mean, when you want to you can travel with family and friends. Travel when you want to.
This has some truth to it, but if Bluegreen had been honest and not withholding pertinent information, a continuation of the statement would have read something like;
Flexible accommodations mean, when you want to you can travel with family and friends, but Bluegreen representatives will choose a resort location or the date for you.
8. For one thing, unlike most vacation ownership programs, you're not limited to specific vacation time at a specific resort. You've purchased ?Points? that can be used at any Bluegreen Vacation Club Resort.
Here again our experience with Bluegreen is if my family and I have a specific date in which to travel our choice of locations are very, very limited through Bluegreens Vacation Club Program. If we have a specific location we would like to travel the dates available to us are very, very limited or non-existent.
The following is probably one of Bluegreens best and most misleading statements used in the module and by sales representatives.
9. Going where and when you want can be as simple as picking up the phone and calling our Owner Reservation department at 800-456-CLUB (2582).
Going where and when is very complicated. Going where and when has turned out to be impossible for us through Bluegreen vacation program.
10. Essentially, you purchased a certain number of Points that are tied to deeded ownership. This means you own your vacation just like you own a house or a car.
Like you own a house or a car? No one drives or enters any of my vehicles unless I am asked first, unless of course they steal it. No one enters my house or stays in my house unless my wife or I first grant permission. Unless of course they break in or forcible drive us out. How can they claim that we own our vacation when we have little input on where and when it is used? If my family and I owned our vacation as described by Bluegreen in this statement my family and I would be staying at the Shoreline Towers resort in Gulf Shores, Alabama in June or July of 2007. We may own title to something for over fifteen thousand dollars spent on Bluegreens Vacation Club but we have little input in how we can use it.
11. Simply call and we'll roll out the red carpet.
At this point I just added this to humor myself as it is such a bizarre statement. I am not sure how they arrived or how they see their definition of ?roll out the red carpet,? but it doesn't match with any definitions of roll out the red carpet that we know of. It's more like ?we'll pull the carpet out from under you? or ?we'll pull the wool carpet over your eyes.?
12. Even though your Points are tied to a specific unit-week, you can use them to stay at any resort in the Bluegreen Vacation Club.
In our experience with Bluegreen thus far we are being allowed to use our points where, when and if at the discretion of a Bluegreen representative. I would rate our, ?stay at any resort in the Bluegreen Vacation Club? option as non-existent to extremely limited at best.
13. You can spend your Point balance any way you want.
I have a balance of fourteen thousand points. This should be equal to about two weeks of vacation time through Bluegreens program. Any way we want to me again would mean my family and I would be staying at the Shoreline Towers in Gulf Shores, Alabama in June or July of 2007. In reality Bluegreen makes the decision as to where we go or when we go. We have no choice.
14. Throughout the year, you can use your Points as you see fit.
Again if I were able to use my points as I see fit throughout the year, my family and I would be staying at the Shoreline Towers in Gulf Shores, Alabama in June or July of 2007. Our decision as to how we use our points is extremely limited to non-existent. Bluegreen dictates how we can use our points.
15. Remember that all reservations are made on a space-available basis, so it pays to think ahead.
We did think ahead. We attempted to reserve accommodations at four resorts along the southern coast of Alabama and Florida. We attempted to reserve accommodations using the maximum allowable time by Bluegreens rules of eleven months. We were turned down which led me to believe that these accommodations would never be available or were being saved in some way for possibly a more elite cliental under Bluegreens standards.
16. One of the best things about Bluegreen vacation club is that you'll never have to pay for resort accommodations again-your vacation is already paid for.
I will never have to pay for resort accommodations again only if I participate in the vacation club program which means a Bluegreen representatives choose where and when my family and I go for vacation. Otherwise we pay all of our own expenses and go where and when we want but still pay Bluegreen around six-hundred dollars annually for maintenance fess, taxes and membership dues. They are very adamant about getting their fees even though they don't feel in any way obligated to fulfill what they claim to have offered in their sales presentations.
17. Finally, it makes sense to own a vacation-just like you would a home or car.
Since this is a redundant statement it must be one of Bluegreens cherished axioms they like to repeat. It is also a ridiculous statement if you think about it. Using this analogy if Bluegreen were a automobile dealership and one purchased a vehicle from them each time before you drove that vehicle you would have to contact them to gat permission where and when you could drive it. Or if they were a realtor that sold you a home you would have to contact them to see when you could stay in it or who could stay in it.
18. Your Maintenance Fees are also used to pay property tax.
When we are billed for maintenance fees one line is described as maintenance fees. Below that line a description and additional charge of R.E. taxes. This in all likelihood is property tax. Which as stated by Bluegreen is supposedly paid from maintenance fees.
In discussing this issue with realtors in my area the way this statement is leads to the possibility of Bluegreen or some of the resorts they claim to own may somehow be double charging on taxes or passing a tax on to consumers that shouldn't be passed on. This needs some deep and serious examination and may need involvement from the IRS.
19. Part of the vacation experience is making it fun and easy to be an owner.
Fun and easy couldn't be further from the truth. For my family and me dealing with Bluegreen has been nothing but an unending nightmare.
20. If an owner calls with a problem, it is tracked until the matter is resolved.
I have been through the BBB (a waste of time), phoned, e-mailed and left messages to a variety of Bluegreen offices. I have gotten everything from construction problems, we are unaware of the specific of the matter, you signed these papers, and we've done nothing wrong and so on. From my own experience thus far in dealing with Bluegreen on this issue I have come to this conclusion. If a conflict can't be resolved in a manner that is in the best interest of Bluegreen they will refuse to talk. Right now I am being ignored by Bluegreen. They likely are taking the stance that in time the problem will go away. If one pushes the issue Bluegreen their recourse is to wave legal documents that have been signed by Vacation Club purchasers. To them this is conclusive to conflict resolution. This should be no protection for Bluegreen due to the fact purchaser's sign under false pretenses and verbal and literal communications are littered with an array of lies, deception, misrepresentation and a practice of sales representatives withholding very important information.
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