Welcome to the end of another week, today Inside Timeshare reports on how clients purchasing Marriott timeshares in Europe have been duped and how Marriott has circumvented the strict Spanish laws on the sale of timeshare. This has recently come to light as many clients have contacted Inside Timeshare to see if they have a case in the Spanish Courts.
As we know any timeshare purchased in Spain or any of her territories are subject to the laws of Spain, a very disturbing fact has now emerged. It involves the sales of timeshare at the Son Antem Resort in Mallorca.
From the many reader’s enquiries, we focus on just one, it begins in summer of 2007 when our reader was on holiday in Mallorca and was “invited” to attend a presentation on the Marriott Vacation Club at Son Antem. He attended the presentation and was duly impressed with the standard of the resort and the “benefits” of owning a timeshare membership with Marriott.
Our reader eventually agreed to purchase a membership to MVC believing that his home resort was going to be Son Antem. This belief was reinforced by the salesperson conducting the presentation and eventually by the manager when they decided to purchase.
When they first began their membership everything appeared to be going well, they didn’t have any problems with booking their holidays and do admit they were very impressed with the standards. But over the years things began to go wrong, maintenance fees began to rise and they now found they were having a great deal of difficulty in making any reservations for the times and resort they wanted. The excuse, as usual, was “no availability”.
Our reader had heard about other owners taking their timeshare companies to court and having their contracts declared null & void with the return of all their money. Making his enquiries he found that his membership was contrary to the laws of Spain and it looked as though he had a valid claim. His membership is a points-based system with a contract that runs in perpetuity. This contravenes Law 42/98 which makes points and floating weeks systems illegal and also limits the duration of a contract to a maximum of 50 years.
This particular reader was directed to Inside Timeshare and duly contacted us to see if he had a valid and viable claim. Unfortunately for him, the news was not good.
Emailing copies of his contract and maintenance bills Inside Timeshare found that his contract was not covered by Spanish law. All the paperwork was processed at Marriott in the USA and shows no Spanish entity. All the documents were stamped by a US notary and the deposit and payments were made through the US in dollars.
His annual maintenance bill was sent from the US and paid directly to Marriott in the US. Now we do know that many timeshares in Spain were sold with the timeshare companies using UK or BVI Limited entities. But the courts have ruled that as the timeshare was purchased in Spain and are based in Spain then Spanish law has jurisdiction and this was just an attempt to get around the law.
But this was not all, our reader actually believed (as he was told this by the sales department) that his home resort was Son Antem in Mallorca, but as Inside Timeshare pointed out all his paperwork shows that his purchase was with Marriott Vacation Club International with his home resort listed as The Manor at Ford’s Colony in Virginia.
Needless to say, he was very taken aback at this news, it also appears to explain why he was having difficulty in making his reservations at Son Antem.
This now leaves this particular client without a legal leg to stand on, his only option now is to relinquish and lose over $18,000 for a timeshare that has become a burden and is virtually unusable.
We do know that when on a presentation and then deciding to purchase, clients have very little time to fully read and comprehend the paperwork and contracts. It is also a fact that very few will ever read them in full even after returning home from their vacation, as with this particular reader it is not until problems arise and they seek advice that they found out they do not own what they thought. Had he known that his timeshare home resort was in the US and not at Son Antem, Mallorca, he would not have purchased it.
This story does show the need to go through documents thoroughly and to do so within the 14 days cooling-off period. If you find during this time that you have purchased something that you were not aware of then at least you will have the legal right to cancel.
Once again we see the timeshare industry finding ways to flout the laws of the countries that they are operating in, leaving purchasers with no legal rights and recourse.
If you own any timeshare interest with Marriott it is important that you check your documents thoroughly, if you are not sure what to look for then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will help you check.
That is all for this week, we wish you all a very good weekend and please join us again next week for more on the murky world of timeshare.