One of the most common inquiries Inside Timeshare receives is on the subject of claims for “misselling of timeshare”, it seems that no matter when or where you purchased, you have a claim. Even without checking the paperwork, the “legal consultants” on the phone will tell you that they can help you get your money back and the contract cancelled, or that your name has been included in a “class action”. Either way, the intention is very clear, they want your money.
You, the timeshare owner will be bombarded with information on E.U. Directives on Timeshare, that your contract is in breach of these “European Laws”, and as a result, you can take the case to court. Well, that is not quite true.
The E.U. Directives are just that, they are directives on how timeshare should be regulated, they are not laws that can be enforced in a court of law. The idea behind the directives was to unify and regulate how timeshare was sold and operated within Europe, it was then down to the individual states to place those directives into their own domestic laws.
Out of all the E.U. States, there are really only two that did and they also strengthened those laws to ensure the protection of consumers, they are Spain and Malta.
In Malta, the timeshare industry comes under the auspices of the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection. Maltese Law is very strict, it even has special provisions for the “ticket touts” or OPCs, licences are required with substantial deposits before issue. The regulations on how and where they operate are strictly controlled and the penalties can be very severe from fines to the deportation of offenders. The PDF below is taken from Maltese Legislation regarding OPCs.
But the most well known for implementing timeshare laws in favour of the consumer is Spain.
We see the results of these laws emanating from the courts on a daily basis, but as we stated at the start, not all contracts are claimable. There are many factors that have to be taken into account, and the only people who can give you a definitive answer are the lawyers, once they have examined your documents and case.
Inside Timeshare has many examples of “owners” being told they have a claim and will get their money back when in reality they don’t. One recent example is a timeshare purchased on the Costa del Sol, the resort is one of the many based at Miraflores, a huge resort that can only be described as a small town.
According to the many phone calls they have received, they have a great case, their timeshare contract is illegal, that is in no doubt as it is in perpetuity, longer than the 50 years allowed by law. Great news I hear you say.
Unfortunately, although he does have a case for an illegal contract, he has no case to take to court. In this instance, the company who sold the timeshare, a marketing and sales company that is legally liable, are not what you would call solvent. Yes, you could take the case to court and win, but you would not get anything back, you would have paid all those legal fees for nothing. It is not a “VIABLE” case.
Another case is a gentleman who has been in touch with Inside Timeshare for quite some time, and each time he says he has been told he has a case. Inside Timeshare has had his documentation checked and there is no case under Spanish Law.
He purchased with Marriott on the Island of Mallorca, he believed he was purchasing weeks at the Marriott Resort in Mallorca. He attended the presentation, was impressed and purchased. At first, everything appeared fine, that is until he was unable to make any reservations at his “home” resort.
After several cold calls which all said the same thing, he had a case, remember they haven’t even seen the documents, he decided that he would take legal measures and have his contract declared null & void and the return of his purchase price. But, he had a nagging suspicion that all was not quite right with the “companies” he had spoken with, so contacted Inside Timeshare.
Once we received copies of his purchase agreement we could tell that he had no case, but we would let our own trusted lawyers check the documents.
As we first thought, he had no case under Spanish Law, his purchase although it was made and paid for while he was in Mallorca, he didn’t have a Spanish timeshare. His contract was for a resort in America, the contract was processed at the Marriott HQ in Florida, payment was made through Florida and all contracts, taxes, maintenance and anything else came under Florida Law, all notarised in Florida. To all intents and purposes, he purchased a US timeshare not what he thought was one based in Spain.
He was informed of this and we heard nothing for some time, then out of the blue, he makes contact again, this time saying he has been told that provided he can prove he was in Spain he has a case in the Spanish Courts. After making the necessary checks we informed him that he was being told “porkies” again.
Just these two examples show how careful you have to be, yes you may have a case, your contract may be illegal, but is the company that sold it still operating or solvent?
Remember, these cases are against the company that sold it, not the resorts themselves, look at our friends Anfi, the cases are against Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts, the sales and marketing side, they are not against Anfi Vacation Club or the actual resorts.
As far as timeshare purchased outside of Spain, it really does depend on how the E.U. Directives were implemented in their domestic laws. We know that there have been very few cases in UK courts, UK timeshare law is not what you would call consumer-orientated. Although there are other measures which may just get you your money back, these are not as easy as they are made out. They also do not have your contracts declared null & void or even terminated. That is a separate issue.
As we have also stated in previous articles, especially the ones published recently, unless you have personally instigated a case in the courts, employed the services of a genuine lawyer who has prepared and filed the case on your behalf, you do not have or are included in any case.
Would you like to know if you have a contract that is illegal under Spanish law, is it a viable case and what are your legal options?
Please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.