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Bluegreen and Bass Pro Settle for $40 Million After Owners File Lawsuit

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In April of this year, 16 co-plaintiffs filed another amendment in their lawsuit against Bluegreen Vacations. Their reasoning surrounds fraudulent misconduct that includes misleading sales tactics, statutory violations and a failure to point out the owner’s right of rescission. The damages they’re seeking restitution for began after a routine trip to a local Bass Pro Shop. The plaintiffs and others never really knew the extent of their timeshare purchase and believe they’ve been intentionally manipulated.

Bluegreen’s Partnership With Bass Pro Shops.

For nearly 20 years, Bass Pro Shops has allowed Bluegreen to sell timeshare ownership in their stores. The agreement provides customers with store discounts and other promotional items in exchange for attending Bluegreen presentations. From 2016-2018, nearly 15% of the timeshare company’s revenue came from the retailer. But the relationship has become tense ever since Bass Pro Shops heard their customers were being treated unfairly.

How Bass Pro Responded to Customer Allegations.

In May, once the consumer lawsuit was made public, Bass Pro Shops announced they were banning Bluegreen Vacations from 69 of their stores. After voicing their concerns with “high-pressure or offensive salesmanship,” they took things a step further by announcing they were suing the timeshare company. While one might think it’s because of the damages customers incurred, it seems as though the outdoorsmen supplier is using customer complaints to their advantage. 

In the lawsuit, Bass Pro Shop claims Bluegreen has refused to pay them $10 million in commissions. Instead of standing for those suing, they decided to file their own suit. Although the contract between the two runs through 2025, Bass Pro knew they had the leverage. Bluegreen heavily relies on leads from their stores. Aside from refuted payments for “sampler packages,” Bass Pro also claims they’ve been shorted commissions when buyers defaulted on or decided to cancel timeshare contracts.

How Bluegreen Responded to a Voided Partnership.

Their decision to oust Bluegreen resulted in a 50% plummet of the travel company’s shares. In turn, Bluegreen had no choice but to mend the relationship monetarily. A few weeks ago, the timeshare company announced they will be paying an excess of $40 million over the next five years to Bass Pro Shops in order to resume selling fractional ownership in their stores. You could say they’re financially motivated to settle their differences. $20 million will be paid this month and $4 million will be deposit per year for five years.

President and CEO of Bluegreen, Shawn Pearson, had this to say: “We look forward to building on our 19-year partnership with Bass Pro, through which we have developed close to 700 units in our joint venture at three luxury resorts.” Bluegreen’s willingness to quickly fork over the cash shows how dependent they are on the retailer for revenue. 

Aside from these hefty sums, they also agreed to pay Bass Pro (which includes subsidiary, Cabellas, Inc.) $70k per year for each store they operate a kiosk in plus an additional $32.00 per vacation package sold less any cancellations and/or refunds. “We are excited about our ability to expand into Cabela’s locations, which will further cement our ability to grow and give store visitors the opportunity to make memories at our resorts,” said Pearson.

Since mending the relationship, Bluegreen has already seen a 35% increase in their shares. This tells us Bass Pro’s approval carries a lot of weight. It would have been nice to see them go to bat for their customers in this way but hopefully it encourages them to monitor sales more diligently. Either way, Bluegreen and other corporations have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to the way they go about selling fractional ownership.

Bluegreen Will Continue to Face an Uphill Battle.

Consumers who claim wrongdoing by Bluegreen state they have been harassed to attend high-pressure sales presentations, only to be sold overpriced, low quality timeshares. While timeshare developers will tell you they can’t please everyone, the fact of the matter is millions of timeshare owners are dissatisfied.

The problem is, most timeshare companies view upgrades or add-ons as solutions. A number of lawsuits claim that timeshare company’s solutions are meant to hold them hostage. The Pinnacle program, for example, is said to be “devoted to exclusively keep owners trapped in the resale market void.” Resale, income opportunities and a promised ability to cancel the timeshare are all primary reasons people decide to give timeshare ownership a try. But nearly every timeshare company doesn’t actually help them find relief in any of these ways. In reality, none of them even exist unless you contact a 3rd party company to help you legally get rid of a timeshare.

The lawsuit against Bluegreen and Bass Pro mentions this sense of misguided hopelessness. Part of the complaint in Case 3:19-cv-00054-HSM-DCP documented that “In addition to inducing purchases through fraudulent sales tactics, once Bluegreen convinces owners to purchase a time-share interest, it traps them in a valueless resale market, leaving them with few options but to continue paying their monthly mortgage and maintenance fees.” If buyers initially attended a Bluegreen presentation just to get a discount at Bass Pro, they have every right to be upset. 

Everything seems to revolve around bait and switch tactics here. It appears that Bass Pro decided to ignore the misconduct in exchange for a payment, which is troubling to say the least. “Bluegreen shares our commitment to providing our customers and its owners and guests a memorable vacation in the great outdoors,” said Bass Pro’s founder and CEO, Johnny Morris. “We look forward to this next chapter of our long running relationship.”

Lawsuits, settlements and partnerships like these should shed some light on how important consumer representation is today. Deception is a real problem in the travel industry. Hopefully our commitment to exposing timeshare related sales misconduct allows more consumers to make informed decisions.

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28 Responses

  1. I am trying to negotiation with then to come out from the contract which was sold to my son, and unfortunately, they are not complying,contract is stander and there is no explanation in how or when to be finish and penalty in case you decide to cancel.

    After making a payment for 2 years and no answer from there office is absolutely not acceptable.

  2. I upgraded 4 times as “the answer to not being able to find a place when and where we wanted to stay.” Now they have $88,000 of my money and I still can not plan a trip. I went through the Attorney General of Florida and Bluegreen never answered them. Bluegreen offered to let me out of the contracts admitting no wrong doing and keeping my money. I need a good lawyer.

    1. With that many points you can stay where ever you choose. You have to plan ahead and use the premier wait list for your desired place and time stay. Don’t be a last minute vacationer, with Bluegreen this doesn’t work

    2. I’m so sorry. We are in at 16 thousand and I’m in tears. Maintenance fees in collections saying we didn’t pay. Omgosh I wish I had money back. I told them no ..seriously about 100 times it was like they would send in a stronger salesman until 10 hrs later I signed to get out of there.

      1. Jane my name is Teri Franco I’m 100% disabled veteran and like yourself and all the other poor souls on here pretty much got FORCED into Big Bend Caspar lodge that since purchase in 2013 have NEVER been able to afford vacation after missing one payment they increased monthly payment and yearly Maintanace went from 5-6hundred to last time we paid almost 8 HUNDRED DOLLARS.

        So wandering if you ever got a resolution or lawyer that would take group class action suit?!

        Was contacted by lawyer today who is saying they can stop payment and Maintanace fees but said NOTHING ABOUT GETTING ANY OF THE ALMOST 20 thousand that started out as 9 thousand total! So need to know is this Big Bend Cedar trying to get owner contracts back without paying us the scammed anything back!

    3. We’re having the same issue. We want to go on vacation & there’s nothing available where we want to go. It’s crazy!

  3. The problem has been clearly identified. How and when can it be resolved. I am being held captive to payments I receive no benefit from.
    Very blatant on Bluegreen part. This is the USA correct?

  4. We bought our Bluegreen timeshare in 2007, we live in England. Flights were too expensive then the dreaded maintenance fees and management fees. They kept on increasing the fee by at least $100 each and every year. We managed to pay cash for our membership $23,000 £16,664. My retirement was in 2013, then we started to think about our outgoings, the maintenance fee was not on the list. We were once told by Bluegreen that our timeshare was worth $35,000 we of course did not believe that for even a second. We put our timeshare on the market with pinnacle for $5,000 together with 40,000 points unused. Pinnacle offered to take it off our hands for nothing, we went to our local Notery public and had the papers supplied via Pinnacle signed and stamped for £123, and this released us from having to pay fees. We are hoping that the European standard will be employed in the USA, that standard is that perpetuity is limited to 25-50 maximum otherwise the timeshare becomes illegal if it is longer. So now in Europe any timeshare that is for longer than 50 years is not allowed, and refunds are to be had, for all costs to all members. We want $35,000 for our compensation. We are waiting, and so will are kids and Grandkids. One day may be, I am hoping.

    1. I’m so sorry. We are in at 16 thousand and I’m in tears. Maintenance fees in collections saying we didn’t pay. Omgosh I wish I had money back. I told them no ..seriously about 100 times it was like they would send in a stronger salesman until 10 hrs later I signed to get out of there.

  5. We were misinformed at two owner meetings. We will never go to an update or owner meeting ever again.

    1. We were tricked intoi buying this fraudulent time share sign no good knowledge about it. Now we can’t keep up with the fees. I wish we can join hands and file a suit against them. I gout this law firm that promised to take on the case but will charge me 4000usd and promised to refund me if he doesn’t get me out of the contract.

      1. We have been with Bluegreen now for several years. We have been extremely unhappy and don’t know exactly what to do. At first they told us that it was dog friendly. We actually took our dogs the very first time we went for our presentation but since then we have been told that is no longer the case. We can never book a vacation when we are able to go but yet we still have those dues and maintenance expenses. What do we do? Please help

  6. I’ve tried to work with them multiple times, I’ve even offered to sell it back to them at a loss, they knew I was on disability before purchase. They told me we could sell it back in the future with no problem, they said I could refinance just like actual property because it was a high-interest loan, well I couldn’t and the payment was so high Id have paid back way more than it cost. So I used my retirement to pay off the loan and then tried to sell it.. that was a joke not even offered pennies on the dollar. I figured I get penalized for trusting them and a 40-50% penalty was more than fair. Even being this reasonable they wouldn’t do it, again they knew I was disabled and on a fixed income, I’m not normally gullible but when you cant afford nothing for your family and they tell you you can get it today and refi later no problem well I fell for it sadly, this works for people with money, not for those on a tight budget and lying is wrong regardless.

    1. Same thing happened to me as well. During selling, they told all false statements after purchase it is completely different. I lost about 24K by paying them. I am trying to get my money back, I have recorded some evidences how they cheat in our fourth visit. Need some inputs to get my money.

  7. Owner since 2007. Heard all the wonderful promises( actually lies ). They are money grubbers. The places are run down in some places. So I ask what is my club dues and maintenance fees going too. I got the blah blah blah. I asked how many units are given out as eye candy for future owners and got blah blah again like none of your business. I can barely or narry get a date I want. I have spent a lot of money to become a Silver owner so my family and I can have a nice vacation. Very disappointing. More like disgruntled and disgusted. Time shares.👎😤😵

    1. I agree 100 percent I hate that place dumps most places we got to stay. Maybe 1 vacation every 2 years. No vacancy blah blah..if you hear of any lawsuits against them please text me 4232084576 please!!!

  8. We’ve been BG owners for over a decade. We’ve gone to MULTIPLE owners updates. We have paid a total of $80k with original purchase plus maintenance fees. When we bought it, I looked at it as a long term investment/prepaid vacations at quality resorts. (We have the Brady bunch and now 16 grandchildren.) We too have experienced HIGH PRESSURE SALESPEOPLE and disappointment with scheduling. We also have met salespeople that have integrity..but unfortunately, I don’t think many of them last a long time in the sales culture. We have been able to experience wonderful vacations, most 3-4 days at a time but some international ones as well. My husband wants to sell, but I don’t think we will get near what we paid for it. I’m on the fence because we wouldn’t go “vacationing” nearly as often without it. (I’m bent on getting our money’s worth.) We’ve never sold any of our time but hear its an option to help pay the maintenance fees. I was determined to learn their booking system and have seen huge improvements over the years. The issue is not everyone knows how to work it…and I am a PLANNER! My husband is not and gets frustrated because we can’t always go when & where he wants. There’s a required flexibility element. It upsets me that people are convinced it’s a great way to invest in family time and then they are left to dangle… and it makes me outright angry that HIGH PRESSURE SALES TACTICS get rewarded. Overall, a timeshare is creative financing for the resort builders/operations/owners. They reserve a % of rooms for timeshare holders and sell the rest to places like Orbit, etc. (Sometimes I can find an availability on RCI exchange where it’s not available on the BG site.) There needs to be TRANSPARENCY (like every aspect of our nation needs) so that people can make decisions with their eyes wide open.

  9. OK, just got the message in an update meeting, this year has been very hard on our family with cover and everything, So Bass Pro promoted and this is where we bought in Bluegreen, been with them for many years, so the plan to get everyone to turn over the deeds so they could manipulate the deal this past year basically in the open was almost like a comedy, so after hip surgery and some other health issues my wife said we needed to attend an update meeting. So I went today 4/13/2021 and a young man started introduced himself and we chit chatted for a few minutes, he left for a brief moment came back and said his boss told him he had to where his badge which identified him as a JD representative, I responded what was up, we were there for an update, he proceeded to tell us what we had to do. I immediately told him I needed to contact my attorney, stayed for the hour and left. I feel like everyone needs to be told what this entrapment process is without legal defense, Beware from my experience this is not a friendly over and above operation when you have to staff lawyers to meet your clientele. Take your lawyer with you and see if they will still want to chit chat. I feel for all the families who are trapped in this sinking ship, my shopping at Bass Pro ends today. Nice play big guys, probably get away with it, but who knows there are always a few people who will take your business and serve the customers. I am going there with my dollars, see you later.

  10. We bought BG in 2015 , our family loves to travel so off the bat everything sounded beautiful. we only have 8000 point for a family of 5 our vacations are usually off peak (December -November) for 5-7 days vacations depending the resort, I am also a planner so I had no problems booking where ever we wanted to go, the only problem was the maintenance fees they were going up and up each year and one year tried to plan a vacation in the summer and it was impossible let alone out of the country it was really frustrating. on our last vacation(New Orleans) we went to one of the “TALKS” (we usually dont go) but he said if we purchase about 10k points the maintenance fees would be taken off “NO MAINTENANCE FEESSSSSS!!!!!! WOW” it sounded to good to be true but we didnt buy them because the guy was so pushy and he really annoyed my husband. but anyways those are just really my complains about blue green we have had amazing vacation and loved so far all the resorts until today, I got a call from an attorney saying that blue green is being sued and that i might be eligible to be added, and let me tell you guys the stuff i had no idea blue green did to us with out us knowing is crazzyyy for example they sold me this as deed (real state property) NOT TRUE, they never told me that my kids had the obligation to keep it when we pass and if they don’t they could hold assests, properties and bank accounts until they pay fees because guess what their names are on the deed( a deed that is not a deed becuase is not real state) they told me maintenance fees will never increase LIES, SO GUEST WHAT I HAVE AN APOINTMENT WITH AN ATTORNEY TOMORROW

  11. I have been an owner since 2004. I’m pleased with my ownership, now approximately $90,000 dollars invested. Unfortunately most people don’t take the time to know just what it is that they bought. It’s not perfect but if you take the time to understand what it is that you own it can be very rewarding! The vacations that I have taken with my family over the years would easily have cost me 3 times the amount that I have payed so far including maintenance fees. The problem is most people get excited, they purchase then don’t follow up with how best to learn about what they own. You may not always get what you were hoping for but it is important that you be pro-active in learning the tools that they give on their website. If you follow this advice you will come away with a better frame of mind about timeshare ownership and be less angry about buying. I will admit there is too much pressure from the sales people, there shouldn’t be. Bluegreen should be able to sell itself. One last thing. If you purchase and then do nothing with it other than rack up maintenance cost you only have yourself to blame. Just to make another point, I have no affiliation with this company other than owning deeded time share.

  12. I’ve been a member of Bluegreen since 2005 I started with a sampler package and move myself up to a platinum if you’re not happy with it it’s your own fault I’ve been happy with mine since 2005 I know how to use it I talk to other people and resorts when I go to and give them advice and they give me advice I never have a problem getting what I want so if you’re unhappy it’s your own fault

  13. I’m glad I stumble upon this website I have 5 day to cancel the contract the sales makes it sound so good you can book with in 48 hours to 11 Months sounds like you can’t from what I’m reading calling them asap

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