Maintenance Arrears and Debt Collectors.

Further to Fridays Article 10 June 2016, Inside Timeshare has been doing a little digging. The TCA published a list in August 2015 of timeshare companies that have threatened legal action to force payment of the maintenance fees. The first part of the list are those that have threatened legal action using either debt collectors or solicitors, in some cases even bogus lawyers.

tca logo

The above companies have made the threats, but as far as can be ascertained have never actually taken any case to court.

The following companies have taken legal action but what the success rate has been is at present unknown.

So where do you the owners actually stand?

It would very much seem to be who is chasing you.

As far as the debt collecting firms are concerned, there are very strict guidelines issued by the FCA (Finance Conduct Authority), and all must comply with them. These guidelines cover the behaviour of the company in regards to harassment, false representation of authority, communication and deceptive and unfair methods.

fca

https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/

On the harassment side this includes:
Contacting you too frequently or at unreasonable times.
Pressuring you to sell property or taking out more debt to pay.
Ignoring disputes about whether you owe the money.
Trying to embarrass you in public i.e using social media or threatening to tell a third party about your debts.

There are many other points that are listed, for full information on what they can and can’t do follow the link below to the National Debt Helpline, this is very comprehensive and clear information.

National-Debtline-logo

https://www.nationaldebtline.org/EW/factsheets/Pages/03%20EW%20Harassment%20by%20creditors%20and%20debt%20collectors/Default.aspx?gclid=CKb99LTopM0CFfUV0wodPL8LMQ#

You also have the option of complaining to the Financial Ombudsman at: complain

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/

On this point, the Ombudsman not only has the ability to fine the collection company but also the company that has employed them. These fines can be very substantial.

ombudsman

Having spoken to National Debt Helpline today with regards to Mrs B, it would seem that MacDonald Resorts can try to recover any debt in the UK as the head office is in Scotland. But also they did explain that the debt in their view should first have gone through the Spanish system, then under a reciprocal agreement be filed in a UK court. The reasoning behind this is quite clear, the purchase and subsequent signing of the contract as well as the resort to which any maintenance might be owed was conducted in Spain and is then subject to Spanish law.

So why are McDonalds using UK courts to collect so-called debts for Spanish contracts and resorts?

The answer may just be in recent Supreme Court Rulings. As many of these contracts are in perpetuity or are made of floating weeks or point systems, could it be that they would not be upheld in a Spanish court? As we know already the Supreme Court has ruled these contracts are illegal and therefore null and void. If the so-called debtor were to take out any litigation themselves against the timeshare company, the courts would rule in their favour, cancelling the contract and returning the original purchase price. As yet this protection is not afforded to owners in the UK, and the resorts use this lack of protection as a way of saying the contracts are legal. After all what does the County Court know of timeshare law or the EU Timeshare Directives. All they see is a contract to pay maintenance.

EU Judge

Many of these companies have used this tactic to recover maintenance for years, again frightening many into paying with the threat of CCJ´s. In my mind this is not only wrong it is downright criminal. I may not be a lawyer, but I do have a sense of what is right and wrong. To chase those in advanced years, ill health or unable or afford to pay, puts another very large black mark over an industry that sells itself as supplying your dream holidays and unforgettable holiday experiences. Yes, if you are in this situation it would be very unforgettable!

Could it be the case that if you are being pursued by debt collectors sent in by this unscrupulous industry, then maybe you could just look at your options to take legal action against them, especially if your purchase and contract was made in Spain. After all the laws are in place to help you and protect you, albeit only in Spain at present. But things are changing. There is one Law Firm that has brought about many of these changes, CLA (Canarian Legal Alliance), we have published numerous articles outlining the successes they have achieved at the Supreme Court. Only recently on achieving their Tenth Supreme Court Judgement.

If you have any experiences such as this, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you and share them with others, especially if you have had any success, tell us how. If you require any information as to whether you may be able to claim against your timeshare leave a comment and Inside Timeshare will get back to you. If we don´t know the answer we will find out.


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