Over the past few months, Inside Timeshare has been receiving many inquiries regarding contracts being signed with some rather disreputable companies for “legal services” such as “claims and exits”. According to our readers, once they have signed the contract they are then told that the deposit paid is non-refundable and there is no cooling-off period as they have paid for a “service”. As you will see this is not actually the case. We also report on the latest case involving Anfi in the courts of Gran Canaria and another expensive loss for them.
First, we have a look at the signing of contracts for “services” and the claim that the deposit is non-refundable and that no cooling-off period is required by law.
As many of you are aware there has been a huge proliferation in the number of companies emerging claiming they can get you a full refund or “compensation” for your “mis-sold” timeshare and also have the contract cancelled. These tend to come by way of “cold calls” with some of our readers stating they are receiving around 5 per week.
Some have been taken in by these “companies” and have then received a “Zoom” meeting to discuss their case with their so-called “legal consultant”. These “meetings” have followed the old timeshare sales technique of high pressure and urgency to sign up today.
One of our readers did fall for this and duly paid a deposit by credit card, fine, at least they were then protected under Section 75 or were they. More on this point in a moment. But, when they had second thoughts after the meeting and felt that something was wrong they began to investigate the company involved. They were obviously not happy with what they found out and duly contacted the company to cancel. This is where the problem started.
The company who we will not name at present but are working in association with several others informed them that the contract clearly states the deposit is non-refundable and that no cooling-off period exists as they are providing a “service” not a product.
Well, luckily enough for our reader, Inside Timeshare did a little checking and this claim is not true, there is a cooling-off period in UK law and also in Spanish law.
These regulations actually cover contracts that are signed in your own home or as we have seen due to the pandemic, signed on line. In the UK these laws stem from the old “doorstep” sales and now encompasses “cold calls” by telephone and internet video meetings. In Spain, they are part of the regulations to protect consumers.
These can be found at the following links:
Spanish Regulations From Citizens Advice Spain
The full Spanish Rules from BOE
PDF of the relevant BOE page and a translation.
After receiving this information our reader then contacted their bank who at first declined to intervene, after around 90 minutes, the bank has refunded the amount paid and is now set to retrieve the money from the company, well, good luck with that one.
On the point of paying by credit card, yes, you are covered under Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974, but, as always there is a but, you may not be covered under the “third party” rule.
This particular section is when you pay one company who then passes on the work to a third party and that party fails to carry out the work. For instance, you pay company A to exit your timeshare contract, they pass this to company B, this company does not do the job. You then make a claim with your credit card provider under Section 75 for goods or services not provided.
Your card provider will dismiss the claim against company A as they will state that they did their job by providing you with a company “experienced” in that work. It is not their fault that company B has not done the work. Claim denied.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
First, before signing any contract, which you should not do at the time of the call or zoom meeting, check the clauses, do they provide a cancellation period of 14 days and is the deposit refundable. If not, don’t sign the contract.
Second, check that the company you are dealing with is the company that will carry out the work, if they say they “contract” the work out to their associate and partner companies then don’t sign the contract.
These are the basic signs of a possible scam operation and these companies should be avoided at all costs.
Latest News from the Courts.
In another case brought on behalf of a German client by the law firm Canarian Legal Alliance, the Court of First Instance Number 5 of San Bartelóme de Tirajana, has declared yet another Anfi contract null and void. The court has also ordered that Anfi repay the client 33,911€ plus legal interest and legal costs.
In this case, the Court of First Instance also recognised the Supreme Court ruling that any payment taken within the statutory cooling-off period is illegal and is repaid in double. This is broken down as 16,249€ paid for the contract with an additional 17,662€ which is double the amount taken illegally as a deposit.
That is all for today, in tomorrow’s edition of Friday’s Letter from America we have an update from Tiffany titled:
Why the Buyer is Blamed if a Sales Agent Lies
STAY VACATIONED or else
The slogan Stay Vacationed is used by Diamond Resorts and is, to be honest, a bit of a joke, but more on this tomorrow.