BP#12: Ethics in Sales

A whistle-blower for Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Patricia Williams, recently won a lawsuit against the company for improper practices. Because she created a problem for the company, they fired her and it became hard for her to find employment elsewhere. She is receiving $20 million for her lost earnings, emotional distress, and other coverages.

Among the complaints Williams raised was the routine deception about selling back unwanted ownership. Usually, employees would target older customers and tell them different false information that was different from that contained in the contracts signed for purchase.

Here is a pretty obvious example of a violation of one of Carson’s duties of salespersons not to lie or deceive. A major factor that contributed to the frequent lies was that the managers who oversaw sales representatives were compensated depending on the sales they made, which is an issue all management ___ have run into. Additionally, the sales department claimed the sales goals were set much too high for them to reasonably meet without deception. There is even a term for the practice: TAFT, and acronym for “tell them any frigging thing.”

Although the main issue is that the Wyndham company is seemingly fine with the practices of its sales departments, I would like to make one other point. After being fired, Williams found it hard to find work in the same career afterward. I think that this implies an issue with other companies as well. If she was labeled a trouble maker for raising complaints about ethical issues she saw and no other companies wanted her, it makes you wonder what similar practices may be going on within these companies. Instead they look for valuable employees who will help increase their profits, not a risky employee who airs its dirty laundry and cause its stock value to decrease.

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