Browse Tag

Courts of First Instance

End the Week: Another Fake Law Firm and Court News

Welcome to the end of another week with Inside Timeshare, even though we are not publishing as often as we would like due to personal reasons, the timeshare world continues to move on. Once again another “FAKE” law firm has appeared, this time they claim to be based in Barcelona. We also bring you the latest news from the courts with more defeats for Anfi in the High Court with awards totalling over 200,000€.

We begin with a warning of the latest “FAKE” law firm to materialise, Servicios Legales Barcelona. Not a name that can be checked easily on the internet, the reason is that many law firms in Spain use the term “Servicios Legales” in their advertising and websites.

The Home Page of their website, only a link to send an email.

https://servicioslegalesbarcelona.com/

When making a search the list is almost endless with the first main entries being “Ver Empresas Servicios Legales en Barcelona” and “Empresas de Servicios Legales en Barcelona”, which both translate as: “See Legal Services Companies in Barcelona” and “Legal Services Companies in Barcelona”. These are lists of Bona Fide law firms, in none of these lists do we find a law firm called  “Servicios Legales Barcelona” That fact alone gives cause for concern.

This particular “fake law firm” is using a similar method to convince you the potential victim to pay up.

Grupo Logra, which we highlighted at the end of October, is using a non-existent Official Brexit Form to convince you to pay, (link below). This lot is using what they call The Value Proceed Document, another “official” form that does not exist.

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-litigious-abogados-family-strike-again/

Along with this “official form” is sent an invoice, supposedly from the court, but when you actually see it you can tell it is just a fake and probably a word template. See PDF below courtesy of the TCA.

The amount is £2,450, the invoice does not actually state what this payment is for, which must be paid in “Sterling”, but we suspect it is for “The Value Proceed Document”. The biggest problem is where and who the money has to be transferred.

Now considering that the “invoice” is from a Spanish Court, why is the bank account one with the Royal Bank of Scotland, with the account holder being one Patrick Gaughan?

A Spanish Court with a Scottish bank account in the name of a private individual who does not even have a Spanish name, come on, if that alone does not set your alarm bells ringing, what will?

Once again, this highlights how very careful and meticulous you must be before engaging with any company, especially in timeshare, that cold calls you with news of winning a court case of which you had no knowledge, or, that a court has awarded you as a “victim of fraud” a significant amount of money.

If you receive a call out of the blue with any news such as this then please do your homework first. If you require any help in determining the authenticity of the call, then please use our contact page and let us know.

Moving on to the High Court of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, another three appeals by Anfi have been once again dismissed and rejected by the High Court Judges.

All three cases were originally heard at the Courts of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, where the courts ruled the contracts null and void plus the return of the full purchase price.

The first case was also appealed by the client’s lawyers as the initial ruling did not take into account the payment of double any payments made illegally during the statutory cooling-off period. In this case, the appeal judges ruled a further payment of 15,861€ in respect of illegally paid deposits. This brought the clients total payment to 40,016€ plus legal interest and costs.

The second appeal which was dismissed and the original sentence endorsed, the clients were awarded 72,000€ plus a further 40,155€ for illegally taken deposits. This brings the total award to 112,115€ plus legal interest and costs.

In the third case, the original sentence ordered Anfi to repay the client 65,963€ plus legal interest and costs. This amount included double the amount taken as an illegal deposit, which came to 28,000€.

The three clients who hail from England, Norway and Germany respectively, will now have their cases filed with the Mercantile Court to be added to the growing list of creditors. These cases were prepared and executed by Lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance, the proverbial pain in Anfi’s backside.

The Anfi Resort, the dream of Bjorn Lyng

It should also be pointed out, the one thing we have noticed is the amounts paid by our Norwegian friends for their “membership” to Anfi, they do seem to have paid and purchased more than others. We suspect this is due to the “loyalty and trust” given to Anfi by the Norwegians because of Bjorn Lyng. A trust that has been well and truly destroyed by the controlling group of Sanatana Cazorla.

If you purchased a timeshare membership in Spain since January 1999, you may have an illegal contract, if you would like confirmation if this is so and what your legal rights are, please use our contact page and inside Timeshare will get back to you.

That is all for this week, have a great weekend and remember beware the cold callers and do your “HOMEWORK” first.

The Tuesday Slot: Legal News, Silverpoint & Anfi

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot and yet another public holiday in Spain, this one is called Fiesta Nacional de España or Día de la Hispanidad. This National Holiday has its roots in 1492, it was on this day that Columbus first set foot in the Americas. So as you will have already guessed, everything is going to be closed today, that includes the courts. But we do have some news from the courts, one item about Silverpoint and the other is important information regarding Anfi and the administration of two companies.

First Silverpoint, as we already know, although Silverpoint is in the process of liquidation with the Mercantile Court, there are still cases running in the Civil Courts, these will be Courts of First Instance and The High Courts.

These cases are going ahead as the aim is to release clients from their timeshare contracts and in many cases as “shareholders” in the “Company Participation Scheme” set up by Silverpoint themselves.

This scheme was designed from the outset to deceive, many clients who bought “shares in these companies” believing they were purchasing weeks or actual properties are now stuck in a very complex situation. They have no control over these companies but they do have all the responsibilities that go with them. In our thinking, this should not have been a civil matter but is clearly criminal in its intent.

The Court of First Instance Number 4 of Arona, Tenerife, has had the dubious pleasure of studying these contracts in the past, declaring them null & void as with other timeshare contracts. In this case, the Swedish Client has also had their contract terminated plus the return of over 650,000€, this also includes double the amount of illegally taken deposits.

This client will now have their claim processed by the Mercantile Court along with other clients which Canarian Legal Alliance is representing in order to safeguard their rights to payment and be confirmed as creditors.

Moving now to Anfi, following on from our previous news of Anfi Sales SL and Anfi Resorts SL being placed into “necessary administration” by the Mercantile Court, the Boletin Oficial del Estado, which is the source for official announcements, has now issued their bulletin on this matter. As soon as a copy is available, Inside Timeshare will publish it.

The newspaper El Diario, yesterday published an article by Ivan Suarez on the liquidation of these two companies, which are subsidiaries of the Anfi Group. Suarez reports that at the end of September Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts entered the process for “necessary bankruptcy”, this was at the beginning of 2020 and on the application submitted by Isla Marina SL, (a Lopesan subsidiary), the debt was huge and probably underestimated. This is maybe due to the fact that the court claims had not been factored in by the petitioner.

The Judge Alberto López Villarrubia, presiding at Mercantile  Court 1 of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, ruled in his order that these companies were insolvent, that they were unable to pay these obligations from their accounts or from any ordinary income, (remember our articles on the movement of funds?) placing them in the hands of a bankruptcy administrator, he will supervise their accounts, control expenses, negotiate the return of debts and, ultimately, attempt to prevent bankruptcy and full liquidation.

One of the entities that may just become the “main creditors” is the law firm Canarian Legal Alliance, which represents around 1,300 clients with claims at various stages of the legal process, with an estimated total value of over 56 million euros. That is an average of 43,000€ per client.

CLA Lawyer Eva Gutiérrez, who is the leading expert on Anfi and its accounts has been instrumental in the investigation of movements of funds, She is confident these resolutions will be ratified by higher authorities and is working to ensure that all clients are represented and have their payments secured.


CLA Lawyer Eva Gutiérrez,

Inside Timeshare has been informed that CLA is contacting their Anfi clients with all the latest updates and have already begun to prepare these claims. They also report that their legal team is time-limited on preparing their request for “credit recognition” and presenting it to the court-appointed administrator.

More on this story as and when it comes in, no doubt there will be plenty in the coming weeks.

If you have a contract with Anfi and would like further information as to its legality and on taking out legal action to have the contract declared null & void plus the repayment of your purchase costs, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you. Investigate now before it is too late.

El Diario Articles by Ivan Suarez

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/despacho-abogados-calcula-56-millones-euros-deuda-grupo-anfi-clientes-timesharing_1_8387739.html

An insolvent company or “a dream” for the banks ?: two experts draw opposite realities of the Anfi Group

English translation

https://www-eldiario-es.translate.goog/canariasahora/tribunales/despacho-abogados-calcula-56-millones-euros-deuda-grupo-anfi-clientes-timesharing_1_8387739.html?_x_tr_sl=es&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui

Translations

Danish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/the-tuesday-slot-legal-news-silverpoint-anfi/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=da&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui

Dutch

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/the-tuesday-slot-legal-news-silverpoint-anfi/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=nl&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui

Finnish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/the-tuesday-slot-legal-news-silverpoint-anfi/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=fi&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui

German

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/the-tuesday-slot-legal-news-silverpoint-anfi/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=de&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui

Norwegian

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/the-tuesday-slot-legal-news-silverpoint-anfi/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=no&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui

Swedish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/the-tuesday-slot-legal-news-silverpoint-anfi/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=sv&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui

Start the Week: The Layman’s Simple Guide Supreme Court Rulings

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, over the past few weeks the rulings of the Supreme Court have been mentioned in many of the articles. These rulings have been simply explained in several articles over the years, but it is worth going over them again and explaining the main points of the law, which is the basis for all the contracts being declared null and void. We are seeing the results of this play out in various courts around Spain.

When Spain passed the Timeshare Law 42/98 in 1998 (updated with Law 4/12) which then came into effect on 5 January 1999, it should have come as no surprise to the timeshare industry, after all, it was totally unregulated and a free-for-all. The EU issued directives on the use, sale of timeshare and the protection of consumers, with the purpose that the directives were to be placed in each member state’s own domestic laws. The idea was to unify the rules for the industry Europe wide, so no matter where a consumer purchases they are all protected equally.

As is always the case with any new law, there is always debate on the interpretation of those laws, the timeshare laws were no exception. The industry employed teams of lawyers, with the Industry Trade Body the RDO at the head, all looking at how they will be affected and more importantly how they can manipulate the interpretation of those laws to their own advantage.

In a way, they were very successful at the start, the law did allow for timeshares sold before it came into force for those contracts issued before that date to be legal under the “Deed of Adaptation”. With any law, it cannot be enforced retrospectively, so this “Deed” allowed the timeshare resorts to continue those contracts under the old regime.

However, all new contracts sold and issued after 5 January 1999 would most definitely come under the new laws, a point the timeshare resorts decided to ignore, probably on advice (we say this tongue in cheek) from their own (expensive) lawyers. They interpreted the “Deed of Adaptation” in a different light to what the lawmakers had intended.

According to their way of thinking, as the “resort” was up and running before the law came into effect, then the “Deed of Adaptation” would cover all new contracts sold. They believed that it only affected new resorts and not existing ones, Anfi is a very good case in point, this has been the main basis for all their early appeals.

Consumers Beware!

It should also be said that the industry trade body, the RDO, (Resorts Development Organisation) appeared to back up this belief, even today the RDO still believe that the interpretation of the law is wrong!

At first, the timeshare companies were successful in arguing their point before the courts, after all, it was a new law, there was no real direction for the courts and judges to follow. It was basically down to them to decide on the evidence and interpretations presented to them.

Consumers who tried to bring cases lost, the lawyers who they employed were not experienced in this field of law and had rings run around them by the experienced lawyers of the timeshare companies. What was put into place to protect consumers, was not working, everything was in favour of the industry.

The length of the contract, which was limited to a minimum of three years and a maximum of 50 years, was being defeated in the courts, the timeshare companies lawyers successfully arguing that the “Deed of Adaptation” covered this point.

Deposits being taken within the “statutory cooling-off” period were illegal but still being taken, this was hidden by various means, such as an “invoice” showing payment for accommodation, not linked to the timeshare sale. This was very common when the purchaser was moved into the resort to complete their vacation after purchase, usually as a way of consolidating the deal.

Tribunal Supremo Madrid

The very first case to make it to the Supreme Court was the Norwegian lady Mrs Tove Grimsbo, this was against Anfi. Her case began in the Courts of First Instance, and after many appeals to the High Court, it came before the Supreme Court which eventually made a ruling. Legal History had been made, the judges ruled her contract was illegal on this and other points, the “Deed of Adaptation” did not apply. Contracts over 50 years in duration were most definitely illegal.

The second important case to come before Spain’s Highest Court was Mrs Shirley Wilson and her case against Silverpoint /Resort Properties.

This particular case was one of the most difficult for the courts, there were many aspects that were unclear as to the interpretation of the law.

In the case of Mrs Wilson, she was sold “timeshare” as an investment, it was portrayed as not being timeshare but property or real estate. This would generate a rental income and a profit for her when finally sold, well, we all know the story of this particular scheme.

At first Silverpoint lawyers argued that she was not a consumer of timeshare but an investor in property, therefore the timeshare laws did not apply. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled that what she purchased was indeed timeshare and not property. A very significant win for all consumers who purchased from Silverpoint.

Another very important ruling, in this case, involved the use of the timeshare, there was no week number or apartment number attached and the consumer had no right of use of these timeshares. Basically, there were points attached for any use within the resort system.

The Supreme Court ruled on this, citing Article 1.7 of Law 42/98, this reads as follows (Translated from Spanish):

“The contract under which constitutes or transmit any right, real or personal, for more than three years and on the use of one or more real time during a specified or ascertainable period a year on the sidelines of this law shall be null and void, owing be returned to the purchaser or transferee or paid any income considerations, as well as compensation for damages suffered.”

All we can say is no wonder there was confusion.

Basically what it states is that a timeshare must consist of a fixed week with a week number and an apartment attached which is available each and every year to the “owner”. With points or floating week, this right is removed and is a “right to use subject to availability”. Not really what you have paid for.

This was the first ruling on points and floating weeks, it established the precedent that unless the timeshare was a fixed week, with number and apartment, then it was illegal under the law.

So these two cases set the scene for the situation we have today, 130 rulings from the Supreme Court, squarely placing the law into jurisprudence. This is being followed closely by the Courts of First Instance and the High Court as we have been seeing with all the cases we highlight.

There are many other laws that a competent timeshare lawyer may use as well as the timeshare laws, these may be covered by Consumer Laws and Mercantile Laws, but these are on a case by case basis, so may not apply to all timeshare contracts. It is certainly a legal minefield.

Despite all the rulings and rejections of appeals made by the Supreme Court and the dismissal of appeals by the High Court, in accordance with the Supreme Court Doctrine, we still see timeshare companies making appeals. This is something that baffles all lawyers, consumers and forums such as Inside Timeshare, leaving us with the same old question “WHY?”

The only logical reason we can think of is “greed”, they have your money and don’t want to give it back and any method to avoid payment will be used. A very costly strategy indeed.

Greed or Stupidity?

Did you purchase a timeshare in Spain after 5 January 1999, is the duration longer than 50 years, is it points or floating week based, this includes fractional, did you pay any deposit within the statutory cooling-off period?

If you can answer yes to any of these, then you may have a valid case. For further information on this or any other subject on Inside Timeshare, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Links to past articles

2016

https://insidetimeshare.com/supreme-court-rulings-simply-explained/

2018

https://insidetimeshare.com/spanish-timeshare-laws-simply-explained/

2020

https://insidetimeshare.com/spanish-legal-history-the-story-of-the-supreme-court-rulings/

Links to early CLA Supreme Court cases

https://canarianlegalalliance.com/?s=supreme+court+2016

https://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/tribunales/supremo-condena-empresa-variante-timesharing_1_1160134.html

https://insidetimeshare.com/supreme-court-rules-silverpoint-twice-one-week/