One of the recurring themes in the emails Inside Timeshare receives from readers is about maintenance fees, should they just stop paying them to get out of the timeshare? Well, as we have seen from some of the “exit” companies scams this is one of the tools they use to get owners desperate to be rid of their timeshare to pay their extortionate fees. So what is the truth behind this?
When you first purchased your timeshare you signed a contract with the resort that you would be responsible for and pay the annual maintenance or management fees. You are obliged to keep these payments up to date as you have signed and agreed to this in the contract. Failure to do so places you in breach of contract.
We have seen this subject discussed on many forums and there is a very marked difference of opinion, you will always find there is at least one who boldly states that is what they did and they have never been taken to court. Well, one thing is certain they have either been very lucky or they had a timeshare which just “repossess” after 2 or 3 years of arrears and puts it back on the inventory to be resold as new.
But there are many who have fallen foul of this, with many of them being told to stop paying by the “exit” company they paid to extricate themselves from the maintenance burden. It is usually around the 3rd year that the demands start to get stronger with the threat of legal action. The “debt” is then sold to a debt collection agency and it is now their debt.
Once this debt has been “passed over” that is when the real problems begin, high interest starts to accrue, late payment charges and of course the legal fees for the debt collection agency. If this is not paid either in full or agreed on instalments then the next stage is the County Court.
I think the answer to that is very simple, who is going to publicise the fact they have just received a CCJ for not paying their timeshare maintenance?
As far as the County Courts are concerned all they see is a debt which has not been paid and is subject to a signed contract. They are not interested whether it was mis-sold, illegal in Spain or any other reason for that matter, all they see is a contracted debt.
In most cases which Inside Timeshare has been in touch with readers, they have tended to pay it, rather than have a CCJ hanging around their necks.
It is a fact that timeshare companies do pursue unpaid maintenance, some more vigorously than others. Ona Group, for instance, has been issuing court proceedings for past owners of Cala Pi Resort in Mallorca. Several of these have been in touch with Inside Timeshare with the same story.
In all cases, they had handed back their timeshare weeks to the resort around 10 years ago and in one case 15 years ago. They have never had any demands for maintenance until Ona Group came along. Ona took over the management rights to Cala Pi some time ago, it then began to issue demands for all the arrears in maintenance fees. When questioned about this by those ex-owners they were told there is no record of them handing the timeshare back, the arrears stand and if not paid then court proceedings will follow.
The thing is the proceedings are being dealt with in a Barcelona court, once the court rules the debt will then be passed to a UK based law firm to enforce payment through the county court. This itself is going to add significant amounts to the final bill.
So, the answer is never just to stop paying your maintenance fees, if any company tells you once you go with them to stop paying, then that needs to be questioned. The advice of Inside Timeshare is to contact your timeshare company especially if you have been told to stop paying, they may have a very good surrender policy and other procedures in place for financial or medical problems.
Once again never take at face value what you are told by any company that calls you, do your homework first.