Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, today we take a look at a case from the Court of First Instance of Marbella which, unlike many other cases we have been following, has been completed in record time. We have to ask the question why has this case only taken 10 months to go through the courts with the sentence issued and payment made to the court.
This case involved German clients who purchased two contracts with Marriott at Son Antem, with deposits taken within the statutory cooling-off period, along with a floating weeks system and contracts with a duration of more than 50 years.
The Court of First Instance Number 8 of Marbella declared both contracts null and void plus awarded the clients 49,084€ for the purchase. The court also in accordance with the Supreme Court rulings on the taking of illegal deposits ordered a further 32,124€ which is double the amount taken in illegal deposits.
In total the court has awarded 81,208€ plus the clients have also been awarded legal interest and the return of their legal fees.
In just two months of the judgement, Marriott has already voluntarily deposited the full amount with the court, making this one of the speediest cases we have seen for a long time. When we take into account the time to translate the documents, prepare the case, submit it to the court then the 8 months for the case to be heard once filed, we have a case that has probably taken just around 12 months from start to finish.
So why has this case with Marriott been so quick?
One part of the answer can be found in our articles published 2018 and again in March 2021, in these articles, we reported that Marriott, which is a public company, has to make a full report to shareholders and the Securities Exchange Commission. In these reports (which can be found on the links to the previous articles), Marriott admitted they are losing in the courts and especially the Spanish Courts.
Marriott also announced that it had set aside litigation expenses of $16.3 million in respect of cases in the US and Spain. We have so far not seen anything like this from any other timeshare company, let alone admitting they are losing.
This aside, there are also the tactics that are being employed by other timeshare resorts of causing delays with late filings at court, constant appeals, and arguments over minor points of the case. The main culprits using these methods are our old friends at Anfi and we have to say that even Club la Costa has used similar methods in the past.
What we have seen with these delaying tactics are the courts becoming very frustrated with the timeshare resorts, in many cases the High Court has increased the payment awarded, adding the legal fees where they had not been granted by the lower courts. These can be considered to be punishment by the courts and they are well within their rights to do so.
It should also be considered how much it must cost in legal fees to their own lawyers, to constantly appeal, counterappeal, and file representations as to why the case should not be heard.
Obviously, Marriott, having to report their finances to shareholders and the Securities Exchange Commission, having to justify any expenditure, and reduction in profits to shareholders is a major factor in what Marriott appears to be playing ball. All we can say is this is good news for Marriott members with cases at court.
Links to past articles