Getting Rid of Your Bluegreen Timeshare
Bluegreen is a timeshare company with its roots in the real estate industry. In recent years, it has struggled to maintain profits and relationships because its employees misrepresented timeshares during the sales process. If you feel this has happened to you, keep reading to learn more about getting rid of your Bluegreen timeshare.
About the Bluegreen Timeshare Company
Bluegreen Corporation (NYSE: BXG) began as Patten Realty in 1966. After two decades of growing his business, founder Harry Patten’s hard work paid off. In 1986, just two years after he took the company public, its stocks quadrupled in price.
Unfortunately, the company has a history of fraud in real estate sales. In 1989, Patten Realty settled with the Attorney General of New York, to the tune of $6 million. Patten was guilty of deceiving buyers about “the availability of utilities, water, and sewage disposal.” The settlement involved four other states in which Mr. Patten’s company had misrepresented the land it sold.
George F. Donovan stepped up as the new CEO when Mr. Patten resigned in 1994, and refocused the company toward timeshares and homeowner communities based around golf courses. Notably, Mr. Donovan built his real estate career working at Fairfield Resorts, which would later become Wyndham Destinations. Mr. Patten then sold his remaining shares back to the company. His name was removed from its title, and Bluegreen Corporation was born.
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A Strained Relationship with Bass Pro
Under Donovan, the company entered a marketing partnership with outdoor gear retailer Bass Pro Shops. Though it was a winning combination at first, Bluegreen eventually came under fire for its high-pressure sales tactics. In 2019, under then-CEO Shawn Pearson, Bass Pro served Bluegreen with a lawsuit. Bass Pro shoppers claimed that employees at in-store Bluegreen booths practiced manipulation and misrepresentation during the sales process. Common issues we have seen from Bass Pro shoppers include:
- Being limited to a 10-day rescission period, while owners are not taught anything about how to use their ownerships for at least 30 days, often more.
- Promises that maintenance fees would never go up, when they actually increase every year
- Marketing calls claiming that clients “won” a prize. Reps took down their information, debited a mysterious charge to their accounts, and rewarded them with a vacation stay of little value.
- Bluegreen restricting resort availability, forcing customers to change or cancel trips at their own expense
Bass Pro responded to these allegations by suing Bluegreen. When BXG stocks dropped by nearly 50% in response to this, they were forced to recoup losses by entering into a settlement with Bass Pro, paying them nearly $40 million. Bass Pro ultimately ended up turning the other cheek, promising an “enhanced complaint resolution process,” and the partnership continues to this day.
Public vs. Private: Whatever Makes More Money
Bluegreen initially went public in 1986, but also moved between public and private status to suit their needs. Since 2008, competitor Diamond Resorts had been trying to buy out Bluegreen. However, they struggled to finance the deal. In 2012 Bluegreen rejected Diamond’s $197 million offer for a much lower one from privately owned BFC Financial Group.
Diamond CEO Stephen Cloobeck had about whyBluegreen accepted the $150 million buyout over theirs. He blamed Bluegreen’s “continued efforts to enter into an…insider deal and prevent its shareholders from considering our offer” for really driving the decision. They made a public offering again in 2017, but it seems that the Bass Pro lawsuit prompted the company to go private again in March of 2019. This may have been to avoid the high price that comes with being accountable to public shareholders.
More Bluegreen Troubles
This is deeply troubling, because we hear many complaints from clients about the dishonest sales tactics of Bluegreen employees. Now, with even less accountability to other people, Bluegreen doesn’t seem to plan on changing their sales practices. We have helped clients resolve complaints that have a lot in common with the class-action lawsuit served in 2018. Owners spoke of:
- Reps’ failure to notify them of the cancellation period, or provide paperwork that explains it.
- Promises that timeshares would increase in value, when this is not the case at all.
- Claims that owners could make between $300 to $500 by renting out their units.
- Contracts that were far too long to review in the time for closing.
- Hours of mentally stressful sales tactics.
- Difficulty reselling their timeshares, despite what Bluegreen reps told them.
At the end of the day, Bluegreen makes money from selling only one product. What’s more, the payment structure of this product is strongly in their favor. This is because Bluegreen depends on maintenance fees and loan payments for profits. Owners’ actual use and enjoyment of the resorts they pay so much for is not central to their business model. However, Bluegreen does not want you to cancel your timeshare with them. Then they couldn’t charge you those dues every month! Resolving customer complaints by cancelling a contract does not help them.
Bluegreen Attempt to Make a Stance
Bluegreen also announced a “zero tolerance policy” to reduce the effect of timeshare exit firms on the company’s bottom line. They claim that they will not negotiate at all with people making “abusive” or “false” claims about these sales practices. But what about the abuse their customers suffer because employees manipulated them into buying? Bluegreen’s lack of effort to address this problem before it’s too late for people speaks all too loudly.
It can be painful to realize that you are chained to maintenance fees and mortgage bills forever. Timeshare companies often rely on scare tactics to convince you to make payments on time, even if you are the victim of fraud. But there is a way out.Fill out our questionnaire today to see if we can help you. It is possible to break free of the debt and stress of your Bluegreen ownership.