Bluegreen claims a victory in battle against timeshare exit firms

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Offline TimeshareTalk

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Timeshare marketer Bluegreen Vacations continues to do battle with attorneys marketing their services to displeased owners of getaways in Orlando, Las Vegas, Branson and other tourist spots.

Boca Raton-based Bluegreen (NYSE: BXG) said Thursday that plaintiffs’ attorneys dropped actions on behalf of 175 owners seeking to terminate their contracts. Bluegreen issued a statement touting its “zero tolerance policy” on the issue.

Related: Five things to know about Bluegreen’s latest IPO

Bluegreen’s default rates have been on the rise, going from 7.5 per cent in 2016 to 8.5 per cent in 2017, even as its average buyer’s credit score and income is rising slightly. Bluegreen blames lawyers who promise to get buyers out of their deals.

“Timeshare exit firms’ television, radio and internet ads encourage vacation owners to believe they can walk away from financial obligations by simply employing the exit firms,” Bluegreen said in a statement. “But they don’t disclose that to obtain the exit firms’ services, vacation owners are typically asked to pay upfront fees of up to $5,000 or more and that the services they provide almost entirely consist of form letters asserting boilerplate claims that are meritless.”

Bluegreen’s average sale price last year was $15,365, the company said in its annual report.

The company has positioned itself on the low end of the timeshare industry. Its typical buyer has a household income of $77,000, compared to $90,000 for all timeshare buyers.

Bluegreen operates 43 resorts with more than 7,300 units. The company has 520 employees at its headquarters in Boca Raton.

Bluegreen has angered some consumers who accuse it of hardball tactics. In one suit, Anabela Bentzinger of New Jersey filed a suit in federal court accusing Bluegreen of calling her cell phone dozens of times after she signed up for a promotion.