Fraud and Deception at Wyndham Vacation Ownership

Next Surf Safari
HI


MY TERMINATION DETAILS
Although there is a dark and tragic side to my story, particularly how Wyndham Vice President, Terry Nesmith, abruptly fired me on December 1, 2014, my goal is to warn prospective Real Estate agents about the dubious "bait & switch" nature of Wyndham Vacation Ownership sales position and give an insider's view about the high pressure sales tactics, deceptive methods, and false claims made to prospective future owners, and capture the humorous nature of modern TS sales and operations. I was excited for this opportunity to sell Wyndham products. As a professional athlete, I was fortunate to travel across the USA and around many parts of the world. I frequently told clients how lucky I considered myself to be. I went to high school in a small town in Idaho. I knew more about potatoes than the world. Travel turned me into a man and made the man a better person. I was sincerely committed to helping others realize their travel and vacation dreams. Unfortunately, unskilled management and a flawed business model got in the way.

I will begin by detailing how I was fired. In my opinion, how one is treated exiting the door reveals a company's true character. My first deal, a small package to an approximately 72-year-old woman from Alaska, who later rescinded the transaction, echoed this reality. This woman really didn't need additional vacation ownership; she sought friends and companionship. She bought from me simply because we made her feel special. This was genuine. I skillfully recognized her inner buying motivation and responded. I brought a handsome, deep-voiced and former EMT from Los Angeles to assist in the transaction. She was a retired sonographer. They hit it off nicely. We poured her endless glasses of POG, a local island refreshing beverage, and supplied plenty of cookies and pastries. She talked and laughed with us for hours. While we were selling TS, she was buying companionship.

After a marathon all-day session, she tentatively purchased the package. She returned the next day to rescind, but John and I again successfully pampered and entertained her. Both of us recognized what she really needed ... as we like to say, Wyndham provided vacation therapy. We were providing the therapy she needed. She was happy. She had lost her husband a decade earlier and was estranged from her daughter, her only child. She told me repeatedly the two "bumped heads." She decided to keep the package - although fully aware of the seven-day grace period to rescind.

My first deal held the following day. My senior client had a scheduled activity and didn't come in. I grew more hopeful the deal would stick. Yet the next day, my optimism was shattered. I was training with coworkers when staff alerted me she had walked in. All knew the intriguing story by this time. It was a SR rep who first spotted her and alerted me. She had been conducting some basic on-the-job training (trying to fill gaps in our flawed preparation Wyndham had provided). As I didn't have a table or desk from which to work, she offered hers. Wyndham didn't supply new agents with a desk. We sat on lonely chairs with no place to work or train, and shuffled around to stay out of the way of more SR personnel. It was a rude awakening. We had been promised support. All of us felt like maggots!

I asked my new owner to be seated as the SR agent moved her things. I offered some POG and snacks, which she readily accepted. I departed to get the requested items. I alerted John that our friend was back. He said he would stop by in a couple minutes. I refurned to find the SR agent in deep discussion with my owner. She asked my owner abruptly why she was back. And, she had assumed her famous "sales posture." She would sit close to the person, stare deeply and forcefully into their eyes, and tell them why they should be excited to be part of Wyndham. It was an effective approach. The only problem was the SR rep knew nothing about my client. She didn't know of my client's rocky relationship with her headstrong daughter. From my observation position, it was clear she had just shut down the new owner. She completely pissed off the older woman. The woman then said she wanted to rescind the vacation package. The SR agent responded, "Fine. Enough wasting time with this small deal. Scott, you get back to work. I'll take care of this."

And, the SR agent did. She processed my owner out in minutes. She took away the unused snacks and partially full cup of POG. I was too new to do or say anything. I was stunned. Upon leaving, the woman spoke with me as tears welled up in her eyes. She remarked that she didn't appreciate the treatment. I was with another client at the time. I simply apologized and said I would contact her after the tour ended. Which I did. I was able to smooth over the bruised emotions but not recover the deal. The happiness she had felt and been promised had been shattered.

And, that is how Terry Nesmith exited me from the Wyndham Sales Center on December 1st. He rushed me to collect my things and leave the area as though I had Ebola. The promises to me were now shattered. Welcome to the reality of Club Wyndham.

TERMINATION AFTERMATH
I been repairing my life after this decision. I appealed for reconsideration with Nesmith. He never responded. I heard only from HR director, Nieves. She asked me to respect their decision. In return, I asked her for information about my healthcare insurance and notified her I would challenge what I considered to be a wrongful termination. She refuses now to correspond with me. This exemplifies the professional character of Wyndham.

LETTER TO PRINCIPLE BROKER
Michael Aschenbrenner
December 5, 2014

Good morning and aloha Mike,
My last tour occurred on Monday, Dec. 1st. My manager was on vacation so I worked closely with Mr. C. It was a good tour. They liked Wyndham, would use it, but their Anyway dollars were low. They were retired, elderly, and had a three-bedroom timeshare unit. We qualified their unit for the PIC program, but they felt the additional cost was unjustified for their travel needs. Me. C and I politely thanked them for their time and passed the tour to Discovery. Ms. K was the agent who responded.

After she met with them, Linda came to me. She was visibly upset and claimed Ms. K had been extraordinarily rude to them. I apologized individually and on behalf of Wyndham. I asked her if she would like me to summon a manager. She said, No, they would simply like to leave. I again apologized; thanked them for meeting with Me. C and I; and complimented them for being such gracious people. We had enjoyed a pleasant tour and loved meeting them. I promised to report the inappropriate treatment. They both thanked me and left.

I followed up by reviewing their exit survey. I spoke with the admin staff; was told Discovery has a bad reputation of being negative and rude to tours. In their opinion, Discovery should be specifically rated in the survey, as they have a pattern of unprofessional behavior, which I witnessed repeatedly. They refer to tours as "moochers," "free-loaders," and other negative descriptors. I reported this to HR sirector, Nieves, about a month ago.

In one instance, Terry called me in for a corrective action. He claimed I had received a Poor evaluation on a tour. When he showed me the specific survey, the tour had scored me, the Rep/Agent, as Excellent. Yet as Terry claimed, they had rated the tour poorly. Terry's criticism of me was shocking. How could he be upset with me? I received an Excellent. He instructed me I was fully responsible for what happens on a tour. This was highly upsetting. I reported to him just recently the TO on my tour repeatedly referred to the woman as a "horrible mother." This brought the woman to tears and the TO simply got up and left me alone. Further, I didn't select the TO: Director of Sales, Mike Rackley, had specifically assigned the SR agent to assist. In another tour, the assigned TO was so abrasive and pushy, the woman started crying. This TO walked away, leaving me to mop up. Now, Terry was penalizing me - although I had received an Excellent review.

Thus, I paid particular attention to the comments my morning tour made about rude treatment by Ms. K. And, as I promised the couple, I reported the incident. Without a manager, I went to Terry. After he finished a meeting with Rackley, he asked me to come into his office. I reported the matter to him and another manager. After I finished my report, he pushed a paper to me. He told me he was terminating my employment. I was totally deflated. I had just finished working a tour, was full of energy, and although we didn't get a deal, it had been an invigorating and positive experience. Earlier that day, at our weekly Monday staff meeting, JT had given a rousing emotional talk about being positive, how important each of us are to Wyndham, how each of us represented the top 1% of the top 1%, how Wyndham had selected each of us for our unique and gifted talents, and that we would all be successful here in the Wyndham system.

In the subsequent team training, Suki (filling in for two missing managers) reiterated JT's comments. He added how professional JT was and how diligently JT had worked to give such an empowering training. All of us were buoyed by the positive and reassuring leadership. It was the perfect start to a great day and what all of us believed would be an exciting month. November had been difficult for many of us. As a group, we struggled with Cat7 - people who owned timeshare and were exchanging to get here with us. Similar to my tour that day, they generally had low Anyway dollars, liked Wyndham but couldn't justify additional costs at this time. From our perspective, only inhouse reps had a good month in November.

After this emotional and positive morning, after reporting this unprofessional behavior, Terry fired me. I was totally deflated.

Now, I am working to deal with my unexpected loss of employment - the financial and emotional repercussions of this decision. I asked Terry to reconsider. He failed to respond. I heard back only from Ms. Nieves, who informed me Wyndham was standing by the termination and asked me to respect the decision.

Professionally, I accepted her request. In response though, I informed Ms. Nieves I would challenge the decision legally and through other channels. I believe the termination is unjustified and wrongful. In part, you just asked me to renew my sales license and spend hundreds of dollars to continue my employment with Wyndham. Weeks after this, I am fired! Doesn't make sense!

Yet I have asked Ms. Nieves for some specific information so we can move forward. In particular, I have asked to know how I stand with my healthcare insurance. I am currently under care of my doctor and have follow up appointments. I do not know the insurance business. My wife works as a professional in this area and needs to know how we should proceed. Her refusal to provide this information is professional negligence. My wife was off work today and we needed to deal with this. She's extremely busy other days. I also asked for contact information for Wyndham counsel. I will need this going forward as well. It appears I am being denied critical information I need to act in a civil and respectful manner. To be clear, this is both childish and suspicious.

I complied with your staff's request I respect their decision. While I do not agree, I will respond professionally. On the other hand, it is my professional right to know of my healthcare situation and challenge this decision.

I am asking you now to assist moving us forward. Stand by your decision if that is what you all wish to do, but give me the needed information to allow us to progress professionally and civilly.

I would appreciate your response by the end of business today, Friday, Dec. 5th. This will allow my wife and I to work on my needs over the weekend.

Thank you in advance.