Have you ever used your timeshare to book a cruise? This is an option that's available to many timeshare owners, either through their vacation club or via one of the exchange companies. It seems like a wonderful way to take a different sort of vacation for a change, but are you getting ripped off if you do this?
A new lawsuit charges just that.Booking a cruise with your timeshare can be a nice change
Deceptive fees for timeshare owners?
A Florida class action lawsuit filed by Daniel Finerman charges that Carnival Cruise Lines created deceptive and inflated fees charged to customers who booked a cruise using timeshare points. Here's the situation.
- Finerman and his wife booked a Carnival cruise vacation in the Caribbean, using timeshare points they had in the Marriott Vacation Club.
- Carnival charged Finerman a total of $566.17 in addition, which was to cover port fees ($159 each, $318 total), government fees ($114 each, $228 total), and a processiong fee of $19.95.
- He contacted his vacation club about the extra fees, and was told that those are not covered by points, and must be paid to Carnival Cruise Lines.
- Digging deeper, Finerman then went onto Carnival's own website, and went through the online booking steps to reserve the exact same cruise through that method.
- He said that booking through the Carnival website directly, the total government and port fees only added up to $253 for him and his wife, instead of the $566 he was charged when booking using his points.
- Both government and port fees are charged by outside entities, and should be the same for every passenger on a cruise, regardless of how the cruise was booked.
- Therefore, Finerman claims that he was overcharged $311 when booking a cruise using his points. He alleges that Carnival Cruise Lines charged him and other members of the class action suit deceptive and inflated government and port fees, in order to increase profits.
See Courthouse News Service article about the case.
Previous lawsuits by Mr. Finerman
This is not the first timeshare-related lawsuit filed by Mr. Finerman. In 2014, he sued International Cruise Excursion Gallery Inc. and Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. At that time, he alleged that both companies used bogus fees to overcharge members of a timeshare program.
Finerman later dismissed his claims against International Cruise Excursion Gallery. The charges against Marriott Vacation Club are currently pending.Are timeshare owners getting ripped off?
Could you be getting ripped off?
I don't know how much merit this case has, or what the outcome will be. I do know it will be interesting to see the results!
If it turns out that Carnival (or any other company) is charging timeshare owners inflated fees, then this lawsuit could be one step toward protecting the rights of timeshare owners, and reducing or eliminating (hopefully?) that practice.
Have you ever tried booking a cruise with your timeshare? Did you compare cost or fees vs. booking the cruise through other avenues? If you'd like to share your thoughts or experiences, please leave them in the Comments section below.