Today we take a look at the latest case involving Marriott, these cases are now hitting the courts on a regular basis, not only in Malaga but also on the Island of Mallorca. In all cases, the courts are finding in favour of the clients in accordance with the rulings and judgements of the Supreme Court. Marriott resorts are renowned to be among the best in timeshare, but the problem as with all timeshare is not the resorts but the way in which it is sold and the illegal nature of the contracts.
In this case, the defending parties are MVCI Holidays SL and MVCI Management SL, two Spanish registered companies. The case was heard in the Court of First Instance Number 4 of Marbella, Malaga. The case number is 1.275/19 with the sentence being made public on 22 February 2021.
The case was brought on behalf of an English client with the case being prepared and presented by the Lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance.
The client’s story begins in June 2004 when along with his wife and three young children they booked a holiday in the Elviria Marriott Beach Resort, which is known as the Marriott Marbella Beach Resort which is situated on Playa Elviria, Marbella.
During their stay, they were invited to the inevitable “presentation” which we know is nothing unusual when staying in any resort which sells timeshare.
After several hours of what we all know is a “high pressure” sales presentation, they were suitably impressed with what they were shown and what was on offer. Unbeknown to them at the time this was to be a very expensive “investment”.
They signed up to the Gold Package 3 bedroom apartment, these are not fixed weeks which are legal in Spanish law, but a points-based floating week system, which is forbidden by law and confirmed in rulings from the Supreme Court.
The contract was also in “perpetuity”, which does not conform to the law which clearly states that timeshare should be for a duration of a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 50 years. Perpetuity has no end date and is therefore illegal.
They also paid a deposit on the day of signing of £4,300, which is also illegal under Spanish Timeshare Law 42/98.
On returning home to England, they felt nervous about what they had done, but obviously, they did not want to lose the deposit they paid and agreed to pay the balance. This was done in two instalments of £8,450 in July and a further £8,450 in August.
During the presentation, they were informed that Marbella Beach Resort was their “home” resort and they would “always be able to book their chosen week”. Their chosen week is what is known as the “Spring bank holiday” in England which is usually around the last week in May and the first week in June and this coincided with the school holidays. So it seemed perfect for the family getaway.
Another reason they chose this resort was they also had family friends with apartments/villas close by which made for a superb family holiday.
According to the clients, for the first 7 years everything seemed to go as planned and promised, they holidayed the same week every year with their friends. Then things went sour.
Since 2013 they have been unable to book those weeks, at first, they were told they had left their booking too late and all the weeks had been taken. The following year the client’s wife called the booking office on the first day the following year’s dates were released. This was at 9 am, but they were told that all the weeks at their “home” resort had already been taken and there was no availability.
This is a point that Inside Timeshare has heard so many times with points and floating weeks, not just from Marriott members but other resorts as well, such as Anfi, Diamond and Club la Costa. Hence why these systems are not legal.
Since that experience, they have “banked” their weeks with Interval International each and every year.
In 2018, they once again failed to book their preferred weeks and were provisionally offered the 2nd week in November. A long way off the May/June weeks they initially used.
When trying to bank this with Interval International, they were told they had “too many weeks” in the system and were unable to “bank” them for that year.
When they initially signed up, their annual maintenance fees were 608€ per year, this has risen to 1,300€. Over the last eight years, they estimate they have paid around 10,000€ for their “home” resort, even though they have been unable to book or use it.
They also found what we have been saying in our past articles on “Independent Booking Versus Timeshare”, (see links below), that they would have been able to book the weeks they required in a 3 bedroom apartment online. As we have shown in our articles this is common and in many cases, the cost is well below the annual maintenance fee, especially when you figure in the purchase cost, paying maintenance fees for unused weeks and all the “exchange” fees which Interval International charges.
They then signed up with Canarian Legal Alliance to take their case to court, this was at the end of 2018. After all the translations of documents had been completed the case went to the lawyers for preparation and was finally accepted as a valid and viable case by the court in November 2019.
Now, just about a year later the court has issued their judgment, they agreed the contracts were illegal and declared them null and void. The court also ordered that Marriott repay 41,633€ plus legal interest and legal costs.
The lawyers at CLA have now begun the process of applying to the court for execution of sentence and the retrieval of the full amount. They are confident that Marriott will comply and that recovery will be expedited in a very short time.
On this point, we must also remind you that in July 2018, Inside Timeshare published the news that Marriott had admitted they were losing in the Spanish Courts and had set aside around $16.3 million to cover litigation costs. This was published in Market Exclusive and can be found on the link below.
With this in mind, we do expect a speedy resolution to this case and Inside Timeshare will publish when the clients have received the money into their own account.
If you would like further information on the legality of timeshare contracts in Spain and would like to know your legal position or if you have a valid and viable case, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.