How did the Supreme Court Ruling come into place?
The story of Mrs Tove Grimsbo the Norwegian lady who´s case made legal history is a long and drawn out one.
It all began in 2001 when she and her late husband attended a presentation with ANFI Sales SL, they were persuaded to purchase and signed a contract for a timeshare at ANFI. They paid a deposit of 700€ by credit card on the day. Their contract was also in perpetuity which means it was never ending and would be extremely difficult for them to extricate themselves from it.
After her husband died Mrs Grimsbo was lumbered with the ever increasing maintenance fees, with no foreseeable way out of the contract. She went to the Lawyer Miguel Rodriguez Cabello, a native of Arguineguin who practices there. Sr Cabello along with other members of Canarian Legal Alliance researched the law and found that Mrs Grimsbo did have a case.
Miguel Rodriguez Cabello
The lawyers duly began litigation and won the case at the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas. Anfi took this to appeal, they lost the case at the High Court in Las Palmas. Once again Anfi contested the decision, taking it to the Supreme Court in Madrid. After much legal argument the Supreme Court unanimously found for Mrs Grimsbo.
The news of the ruling broke on 1st April 2015. Legal history had been made.
The court ruled that the taking of the deposit on the day constituted a breach of the timeshare laws, this in effect canceled out the 14 day cooling off period. The cooling off period was designed to give the purchaser time to read the contracts and consider if they wished to proceed. In most instances the purchaser is under the illusion that if they cancel they would lose the deposit. So very few people cancel.
The second part of the ruling was the in perpetuity clause. Under Spanish Law 42/1998 contracts signed after January 1999 could only last a maximum of 50 years. So the court upheld the ruling the contract was indeed illegal. ANFI then issued a statement that the Supreme Courts ruling was in error and wanted clarification. Then on 7th May 2015 the Supreme Court dismissed ANFI´s appeal for clarification and upheld the previous ruling, again unanimously. This left ANFI with no other course of appeal and they were ordered to pay double the deposit and all of the initial payments including costs and interest. This amounted to around 40.000€.
In all this one case took the lawyers from CLA about 6 years.
Again news came out in July 2015 that the Supreme Court ruled in favour of another CLA client that the contract was illegal therefore null and void. This placed the ruling into jurisprudence, which makes it enshrined in law, this will more than likely make another appeal very difficult indeed.
Then in August 2015, The High Court Number 5 of Las Palmas ruled another contract null & void, as per the Supreme Court judgement. It also ruled that the Floating Weeks and Points systems were illegal as well.
At last it seems that consumers have protection and a recourse to justice, it is only a matter of time before every state in Europe follows suit and enacts the same laws that now apply in Spain.
If you need any advice or information please contact insidetimeshare through the contact page. Other countries such as Portugal have not yet enshrined this in law but are looking to Spain as a precedent. If we don´t know the answer we will find it for you. This service is free and given to inform you of your rights.
(Sources: CLA; El Diario 31/3/2015; Canary News 16/3/2015; VG Norwegian Paper 12/3/2015; The Telegraph 30/5/2015)