Finality for Owners in Class Action Suit Against Bluegreen Corporation

Owners who participated in a class action suit against Bluegreen Corporation achieved a settlement in November of 2015. The allegations against Bluegreen, Experian Information Solutions, Inc. and Equifax Information services, LLC. stated that owners' delinquent accounts were reported by Bluegreen as foreclosures. The suit claimed that the reporting was in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Florida debt collection laws. 

In the suit (Best and Snapp, et al. v. Bluegreen Corp., et al., case no. 9:14-cv-80929, filed July 14, 2014 in the U.S., District Court, Southern District of Florida), the plaintiffs alleged that when owners were delinquent, Bluegreen sent a series of letters advising them of termination from the Bluegreen Vacation Club, and that the status of their accounts may be reported as foreclosures to the credit agencies.  Upon receiving the notice, many owners walked away from their timeshare only to encounter more problems according to Michael D. Finn, of the Finn Law Group, the firm responsible for the class action suit.

Credit Scores Drastically Reduced

Reporting the delinquent accounts as foreclosures drastically reduced owners' credit scores and credit worthiness. In a recent podcast of Timesharing Today Radio, Finn said that some owners who received the foreclosure report on their credit rating, were unable to refinance a mortgage on their primary home, or to buy another home. Now, as a result of the settlement, foreclosure entries will be deleted from over 11,000 owner credit accounts

Class Action Suits Complex and Difficult

The Finn Law Group is well-known for representing disputes in the timeshare industry. Mr. Finn mentioned that it's harder to file a class action suit because of the complexity of such a suit. It's often difficult to establish action for a fraud based case and courts don’t usually promote class action suits. In addition, clients in the suit are lumped together and each one has had a different experience making it difficult to come to a general consensus. 

Prior to filing the class action suit, Mr. Finn first went to Bluegreen Corporation and asked them to make a correction and they would not. He then went to Equifax and Experian who were also unwilling to make a correction because the creditor, Bluegreen, affirmed that the information on the foreclosures was accurate. Finn then proceeded with the filing of the suit. 

Finn said the action by Bluegreen was improper because it didn't meet the definition of foreclosure. Bluegreen timeshares are sold as a points program where the title is held in trust for the individual buyers by the timeshare developer. Since the recorded deed was never titled in the individual's name, the timeshare developer doesn’t have the right to report delinquencies or foreclosures to credit reporting agencies. 

No Admission of Liability

Though not admitting liability, Bluegreen, Experian and Equifax agreed to settle the lawsuit. The settlement provides in part: "For class members who did not opt out of the settlement and no longer have an active account, Bluegreen will request that Equifax and Experian delete the entire account that displayed a foreclosure; For class members who did not opt out of the settlement, but still have an active account, Bluegreen will provide information to Equifax and Experian showing that the accounts were paid for the months preceding their delinquency; and Equifax and Experian have agreed to implement Bluegreen’s request."

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1 Response
  1. Unknown Says:

    well, we are delinquent right now with Bluegreen and our credit score is ruined...We do not see a solution.....

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