Hilton, Wyndham in deal with AG over timeshare policies

Changes to companies' rules come amid rising complaints from customers

From left Eric Schneiderman, Wyndham CEO Stephen Holmes and Ian Bruce Eichner
From left Eric Schneiderman, Wyndham CEO Stephen Holmes and Ian Bruce Eichner

Two leading hospitality firms are making policy changes that will have a major impact on the timeshare industry.

Hilton Resorts Corporation and Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc. will implement changes that will “benefit and protect customers” after reaching agreements with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, according to a statement from the attorney general released today.

Hilton will stop using a clause that disclaims responsibility for representations made by sales people regarding the availability, hotel use rights, rental resale and buybacks of timeshare interests.

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Under the agreement with Wyndham, the chain will no longer offer reservation certificates to members who want to make a reservation at a timeshare hotel known as Midtown 45. Some of the timeshare members who received certificates thought that they were buying an interest in the Midtown 45 timeshare.

“The purchase of an interest in a timeshare can be a confusing and expensive proposition,” Schneiderman said in the statement. “I am pleased to announce that these two industry leaders have agreed to make policy changes that will benefit and protect consumers. With their cooperation, we are making the timeshare industry safer, more transparent, and more accessible to investors.”

The agreements come as the attorney general continues an investigation into Ian Bruce Eichner’s timeshare company the Manhattan Club, where Schneiderman’s office temporarily forbid sales in July. Eichner and his partners were asked to testify in court about alleged fraudulent sales tactics.

Before someone can offer and sell a timeshare, the seller needs to have and offering plan accepted by the attorney general’s Real Estate Finance Bureau under New York’s Martin Act.