SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - In a federal class action, investors say a timeshare company "sells false dreams" by charging thousands of dollars in hidden fees after luring in customers with false promises.
The lead plaintiffs claim they spent $14,000 on Shell Vacations "club points" that they later saw members selling on eBay for $1.
Lead plaintiff Megan Putnam sued Shall Vacations LLC dba Shall Vacations Club, Shell Holdings and SVC West.
Putnam and Medina claim Shell Vacations describes its timeshare memberships as a "fixed cost," though prices continually increase. Putnam and Medina say they paid thousands of dollars in maintenance fees.
"Although plaintiffs purchased 2,500 points for approximately $14,224 (and thousands in hidden fees), there are numerous Shell Vacations members selling their Shell Vacations points on Ebay, as many as 9,700 points, for $1," the complaint states.
"Plaintiffs and the class members are not provided the exclusive or priority access to the timeshare resorts they were promised. Rather, defendants, among other things, attempt to sell reservations to the timeshare resorts to non-members at a profit. As a result of this practice, the number of reservations available to members is significantly depleted, leaving fewer and less desirable timeshares for members to choose from and redeem their club points toward."
The plaintiffs say an Internet search show "endless complaints nationwide" against Shell Vacations.
"In the next 10 years we will be paying $50,000 to go on vacation 10 times, and that only covers the condo, not airfare, etc," one man wrote on an online complaint forum, according to the complaint. "How is that a great investment?"
Another customer complained of "one unpleasant surprise after another" and "many lies and conveniently concealed information."
Shell Vacations is a Delaware LLC that operates out of Northbrook, Ill., according to the complaint, which says its subsidiary, SVC-West, operates out of San Francisco.
The class seeks punitive damages for breach of contract, breach of faith, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, false promises, deceptive business practices and violations of the Vacation Ownership and Time-Share Act.
Their lead attorney is Robert Schubert with Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe.
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