TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) – Two Illinois men are suing a time-share vacation exchange network over claims it misrepresented its timeshare membership program.
George Tuhowski and Arthur Schueler filed a lawsuit Dec. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against RCI LLC, alleging violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
Tuhowski and Schueler were members of a putative class in a lawsuit styled Barton et al v. RCI, LLC, filed July 20, 2010, in New Jersey District Court. Judge Peter G. Sheridan denied RCI's motion to dismiss in full, and in March 2014, Sheridan denied plaintiff Barton's motion for class certification, so Tuhowski and Schueler now individually assert their claims against RCI in this case.
In January 2008, the suit states, Tuhowski and Schueler vacationed at Blue Bay, a resort in Mexico. During this time, the two attended an RCI sales pitch for a time-share membership opportunity.
The RCI agent, according to the suit, pitched a membership opportunity that would allow members to purchase one-night stays in Blue Bay in exchange of point values that could be used for customized future vacations.
Purchasing thousands of nights at Blue Bay translated to millions of points in RCI's Points Program, as one night converted to 2,832 points.
Tuhowski and Schueler each decided to purchase 2,066 nights for $24,500, equal to almost 6 million RCI Points each.
Someone described as a "legal representative" presented Tuhowski and Schueler with two contracts to sign. The contracts confirmed what the sales agent told the plaintiffs about unlimited use of RCI Points, according to the suit.
A few months later, however, Tuhowski and Schueler were informed that a new 60,000 annual cap had been imposed on the exchange of points for future vacations, a cap that is insufficient to obtain the type of international and domestic airfare RCI promoted to the plaintiffs, the suit claims.
The plaintiffs allege RCI falsely represented the membership opportunity, and that if the annual cap had been part of the original deal, the plaintiffs would not have bought as many points as they did.
The plaintiffs seek actual and treble damages, restitution, interest, attorney fees and costs of the suit. They are represented by attorney William J. Pinilis of Pinilis Halpern in Morristown, New Jersey, and by attorney Jenelle Welling of Bramson Plutzik Mahler & Birkhaeuser in Walnut Creek, California.
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey Case number 3:15-CV-08396-PSG-LHG