New York’s Attorney General has released a report concerning the illegal practices of the owners and employees of the Manhattan Club, which also comprises of 10 subsidiaries.
The owners of the Manhattan Club, at 200 West 56th Street, have been ordered to pay a staggering 6.5 million dollars by way of damages, in addition they have sustained a lifetime bar from the timeshare industry, are prohibited to sell to alternative parties, and have been informed they must remove all associated directors and officers of the Board of the Timeshare Association.
Manhattan Club, it’s owners and employees have all been required to acknowledge that they continually deluded timeshare owners about the booking process and fooled them into thinking that selling their timeshare back would be easy enough to do. The Attorney General’s Real Estate Finance Bureau has confirmed this is one of the largest settlements it has come across.
An inquiry into the Manhattan Club opened after the Office of the Attorney General received constant complaints from many of its timeshare owners, mostly that after purchase it was increasingly difficult if at all, to make a reservation at the club.
Owners had paid thousands of dollars for a “vacation ownership retreat [at a] residence-style boutique hotel for those who frequently visit New York City to enjoy Broadway theatre, fine dining, and shopping, [and] classical performances”.
Regardless of owners paying tens of thousands of dollars for their timeshares, the rooms were also rented to the general public, this was causing problems when owners tried to book and there been no availability, there was more cash to be had from the public and the owners where simply shunned to one side. This is a direct violation of their timeshare contract.
Upon investigation, it was exposed that the sales representatives were misleading potential owners from start to finish, continually telling them the reservation process was simple and easy to use, and how they could make reservations anytime without problems, also deluding them that the ability to sell back their timeshare would also be easy and non-problematic. In addition, it was also evident that the illegal practices began way before the purchase. Probable consumers were subject to high pressure sales tactics, even going as far telling the consumer that their timeshare ownership was “better than money in the bank.” The sales presentation consisted of more lies telling the potential consumer they would have full exclusivity of the timeshare (along with their co-owners) and that the timeshare was never available to Joe public, in addition they were fooled into believing the reservation process was easy and user friendly. The Attorney General found all these claims to be false.
The inquiry led to the discovery that the owners’ yearly maintenance fees had risen over two hundred percent during the last ten years, with the smallest units starting at 2,000 thousand dollars per year. The rise in fees is the most common reason owners must sell or give back their timeshares.
Thankfully, the Manhattan Supreme Court prohibited the Manhattan Club from using or withdrawing any monies from their bank accounts, trading and pursuing foreclosures on current members throughout the investigation.
“The owners of the Manhattan Club lured thousands of timeshare buyers with false promises and shady sales tactics that violated New York law,” stated Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “While timeshares can be legitimate enterprises, scams like this one are common. To avoid becoming a victim, always be wary of high-pressure tactics.”
For those interested in purchasing a timeshare in Manhattan, can request from The Attorney General’s office the brochure which they have composed, warning potential buyers titled ‘How to Avoid Timeshare Scams’, though, it does not seem to give any information regarding the steps or procedures if you feel you have been tricked and conned. Our advice would be seeking expert advice using a reputable Timeshare professional, filing a complaint with the local authorities could take years and you have no guarantees they will even pursue your complaint.
With regards to the timeshare owners of the Manhattan Club, they were informed they would be contacted by a professional claim’s adjustor upon investigation of the club’s complaints. The supporting evidence was key in their case and their endurance was finally rewarded. However, as we are all aware, not all timeshare owners are so lucky. Most are unable to support their cause due to financies or lack of evidence. Sadly some owners involved in the Manhattan timeshare lawsuit are still seeking compensation for the scam.