Although today in Spain is the Feast of the Three Kings or Día de Los Reyes Magos, or most commonly known as The Epiphany, news arrived late yesterday of yet another case involving “Jurisdiction” of contracts. This is a very important decision from the courts and is following all other rulings made by various courts around Spain on this matter, that Spanish Courts do have “Jurisdiction” on any contract purchased, signed and paid for in Spain, regardless of the “clauses” in the contract.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen many cases being delayed due to this particular clause, with some of the very first cases being against Club la Costa with others such as Diamond following suit.
Once again it is an attempt to bypass Spanish Law by claiming the contracts fall under the jurisdiction of UK law and UK courts, which in the beginning they did succeed in doing. But through the tenacity of various lawyers who argued that consumers were entitled to the full protection of Spanish Law and that timeshare operators cannot decide which jurisdiction their contracts come under. By doing so they are taking away all the rights a consumer has.
The latest case involves Diamond Resorts (Europe) Ltd, a UK registered company which was operating sales of timeshare in Spain. Their contract stipulated that it was subject to “the jurisdiction of UK law and UK Courts” which is blatantly taking away consumers rights.
It should also be noted that under the RDO Code of Conduct, Part I, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.5 actually states:
“To comply with all laws, which apply to Member’s, business in the jurisdiction in which the Member operates.”
Obviously, the use of the “jurisdiction” clause is a breach of these rules as to comply with “all laws” of the country in which the member operates must be abided by. If this isn’t a breach of RDO rules then we don’t know what is!
As we have seen in all previous cases of this nature, the Judge immediately dismissed Diamond’s appeal on Jurisdiction, referring once again to the rulings of the High Court of Malaga. This court along with High Courts in other provinces have all consistently ruled in favour of the consumer that they (Spanish Courts) do and will have full jurisdiction on any contract sold in Spain.
In this case, the Judge ordered that Diamond repay the client 17,572€ plus legal interest and the return of all legal costs. The client will also receive a further 8,513€ in respect of original purchases and a further 9,059€ which is double the deposit taken illegally on the day.
The contract has also been declared null and void leaving the client timeshare and maintenance-free.
Once again we see the court’s ruling in favour of consumers and declaring contracts illegal, as we have said before, it is a problem of their own making, after all, the laws were enacted in January 1999 yet they continued to sell as they had done before believing they knew better. But now they are finding that was a very expensive assumption to make.
If you would like to know more and see if you have an illegal contract and what your legal rights are, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.