Fraud and Deception at Wyndham Vacation Ownership

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OMG!!! WYNDHAM (PRINCEVILLE, HAWAI'I) IS HIRING AGAIN ... DON'T BE FOOLED!!!
Reviewed CraigsList today (1.11.15) and found a Wyndham Worldwide, Wyndham Vacation Ownership job posting on the island of Kaua'i, Hawa'i, located up north in Princeville (below). I remember how excited I was to answer a similar post for employment and how thrilled I was to accept a position with Wyndham in a real estate career. I'm wiser today. There is a reason Wyndham advertises for real estate sales agents so frequently. Their employemt offer is disingenuous, and in my professional opinion, the offer is deceptive. Wyndham asks, do you "have the desire to sell dreams and live one too?" If your interpret this to mean a "dream career," you're living a pipe dream. Wyndham's offer is closer to a "nightmare dream."

First, the probability of selling $50,000 vacation ownership packages to uninterested people within a 90-minute, stress-filled window is extremely low. Director of Sales, Mike Rackley, reported Wyndham Vacation Ownership did about $2.1 billion in sales last year. Yet tellingly he added some 70% of these sales came from existing owners. You will be selling to non-Wyndham owners as a Front Line rep. These are much more difficult sales. InHouse reps sell to Wyndham owners. These are easier to close and amount to bigger deals. Wyndham claims "there is no cold-calling or out of pocket expense required by you." This is both misleading and deceptive. These may not be cold, but families are not interested in buying the product you are selling. Wyndham frequently notes ALL families have made a "pact" not to buy anything from you before attending the presentation. Maybe it's more appropriate to call these "frozen calls."

Further, you have many out of pocket expenses. If you want sales materials, you will need to produce these. Color copies? You need to pay for many of these. RCI gave us a fantastic presentation one day. We asked for slides and Rackley promised. He even said not to worry about taking notes. Yet he never provided any materials. Some people get cool fliers and marketing briefs; others don't. Depends on who you know. Wyndham also demands you "follow up" any sale. This means you should take your new owners to dinner, to an exciting local spot or shower them with cool island momentos. You pay! And, a significant number of your deals rescind. You not only pay out of pocket costs but lose the commission. One of my first new owners complained about the large number of (heavy) books they received with their deal; claimed they couldn't fit them in their luggage. My manager graciously volunteered "we" would mail them to their home. And, once my new owners walked out, my manager said to me, "Make it happen. Mail them!" He and Wyndham ran away and left me the bill. He actually got me in trouble for doing this. Although my manager gave me the directive; a more senior manager scolded me and said never do it again. Shit runs downhill at Wyndham.

As I'm an economist, let's do the Wyndham math about their "dream" job. Assume Wyndham produces 30 tours per day. This works out to about one tour per day for each of the some 20 Front Line agents and about 10 InHouse reps, which is around 25 tours per month. Rackley also reported the average group close rate to be 14%. InHouse closes at a higher rate, say 20%; FrontLine around 8%. Assume a $20,000 average per sale for Front Line. With an 8% close rate for 25 tours, you can expect to close TWO deals per month. This is about what I averaged and I observed this to be common.

At two deals per month, you will gross about $40,000. This falls shy of the first financial hurdle of $50,000 and far below the key bonus point of $80,000. Thus, you earn about 7% commission or a gross of some $2,800. Take home is about 2/3rds, $1,850, or a bit over $22,000. In addition, if a senior agent assists you, you split the commission 60/40. Your paucital $1,850 a month can drop to around $1,100. If Wyndham doesn't fire the agent, many just walk away because they can't afford this "dream." For FrontLine agents, it seems like a ponzi scheme: you bust your butt to bring the new owners into the family, but major and lucrative sales are made by InHouse agents down the road.

Second, Wyndham managers report that 90 pecent of sales agents won't last a single year. This is why Wyndham Vacation Ownership posts this real estate employment position frequently. I wasted a great deal of time and money on this quixotic pursuit.

Maybe most teling, I had an extremely difficult time finding a place to live. Landlords told my wife and I they are hesitant to rent to Wyndham real estate agents - because Wyndham Worldwide fires them so quickly. When discussing this position with Wyndham's recruiter, this was not the overview I received. In fact, just the opposite. Read this post below ... it suggests a "dream" job. There are countless FORMER sales agents who likely will tell you the Wyndham Vacation Ownership dream job is a nightmare!

One example of the subterfuge: Wyndham claims "compensation: Hourly + Commission." You receive hourly compensation, about $12/hr during the initial two week classroom training program. Then, hourly comp drops to about minimum wage for a few weeks. After this, you get only a "draw" off future commissions. One talented agent reported the day he quit that he made only $10,000 in nearly a year. Kauai's cost of living is 3-4 times that of the mainland.

Another subterfuge: Wyndham must bribe "customers" to meet with you. Nearly all are uninterested in buying your product. They simply want a $100 gift card or whatever Wyndham offers. That's not a cold call ... it's a cold and frozen fish. LOL

Another subterfuge: Wyndham claims they provide "PRE-QUALIFIED" appointments. This is kind of a joke. Nearly all dislike the concept of timeshare. One guy I met was 94 years old. Maybe a third of my "pre-qualified" customers were over 70. For timeshare to make sense, one must use it annually for about 20 years. Had many newly-weds. These generally are young people who are starting families. They have student loan debt, auto loan debt, recent wedding cost debt, beginner jobs, and hope to soon buy a home. Do you believe you can cajole them into spending $20,000 on a vacation package? Rare even most experienced sales staff could. But this job could be for you ...

Another subterfuge: Wyndham claims you will "Receive the industry's most respected training program." Not sure how Wyndham measures that, but the program is confusing. While in my second week of training, a senior agent warned us if we listened to and followed the provided training, we would soon lose our jobs. None of the agents in my training class lasted over 4-5 months! I followed Wyndham's model the first month and didn't make a single sale. If you are to be successful, it is likely you will need more than a few months. I believe this was their promise ... to provide the time and support to suceed. Sure didn't experience such treatment. I watched as a coworker, who was an excellent sales agent, received a TERMINATION WARNING minutes before she met her tour for the day and fired her on the spot the next. The manager walked her outside to give her the ax and returned with her to demand her Wyndham-issued iPad. Slam, bam, thank you, ma'am! When Wyndham Vacation Ownership VP Terry NeSmith fired me and demanded my iPad, I asked for a few minutes to transfer some of my personal notes. He said, "Sure. Why don't you email them to a personal account." This seemed to be professional. Not one of my emails came to me. Wyndham appears to have blocked my account and I lost all this information. Respectful work environment? Dream job?

ORIGINAL POST: Vacation Ownership Sales Agents (Princeville)

compensation: Hourly + Commission
Wyndham Vacation Ownership is seeking Sales Vacation Consultants who have the desire to sell dreams and live one too! Sell face-to-face to customers that are brought in by our Marketing Department for you talk to. There is no cold-calling or out of pocket expense required by you.

What to expect from Wyndham:
  • Work for the #1 Rated Hospitality Company (Fortune Magazine).
  • Never make a cold call; we set your PRE-QUALIFIED appointments for you.
  • Receive excellent benefits including medical, vacation, 401k and much more.
  • Have a work/life balance you will appreciate - no nights/no "on call"
  • Eliminate long escrows and enjoy weekly pay.
  • Sell a product that is flexible and unique, how do you think we became # 1?
  • Receive the industry's most respected training program.
*Hawaii Real Estate License (or ability to acquire one) is REQUIRED*