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Marriott

Start the Week: News from the Courts, Marriott and Anfi Lose Again

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, we start this week with news from the courts with Marriott and Anfi losing in all cases and a payment to a client from Anfi. Last week we highlighted a new “cold caller” and website which we believe to be another “lead generator” for unnamed “claims and exit” companies. Inside Timeshare received an email from a lady who answered an advert for “telemarketing” staff and gave Inside Timeshare some more valuable information.

As we explained in one of the articles, many of the staff are just ordinary people answering an advert for staff, with the situation regarding employment any offer of a job is welcome. Unfortunately, it is these people who are also being taken in by the less scrupulous of these operators, being told what to say and how to get you the timeshare owner to pay up and sign with their company.

Luckily, this particular reader realised within a few weeks that something was not right with this company and found them to be “dodgy”, terminating their employment immediately. The information supplied regarding Independent Timeshare Assistance is rather interesting.

It would appear that a person by the name of Chris Wilson, a name that does ring a few bells, is the one behind it and is actively recruiting new staff with more adverts, these also seem to be based in Portugal.

According to our information, these “clients” are being sought on behalf of a “law firm” based in Scotland. Well we do have our suspicions on who these are and they are not law firms, but more companies set up by ex-sales staff and sales managers from Diamond and others.

Again this does show how careful you need to be, not just as a timeshare owner but also an employee answering adverts for “call centre” staff, you may believe that it is a legitimate job, but you could also be fooled into working for a scam operation.

In a case that has set new records for the speed for the case to go through the courts, Marriott has lost another case at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of Palma de Mallorca. This case has taken a remarkable 6 months to be processed through the courts, a bit of a miracle to those who know the Spanish legal system.

The German clients of Canarian Legal Alliance had their contract with Marriott Vacation Club declared null and void, with the court ordering the repayment of 21,150€ plus legal interest and legal costs.

This also included the repayment of double the amount taken illegally as a deposit within the statutory cooling-off period, in accordance with the law and the rulings of the Supreme Court.

The case was prepared and conducted by the CLA Lawyers Adrián Diaz Saavedra Morales and Christine Ihmann, with Claims Consultant Evi Richter assisting the client throughout the process.

In another case against Anfi at the Court of First Instance Number 2 of San Bartelóme de Tirajana, a Norwegian client of CLA has had their contract with Anfi terminated and declared null and void. They have also been awarded 102,576€ plus legal interest and legal costs.

Again the courts recognised the illegality of the taking of payments within the statutory cooling-off period and awarded double the amount as established by previous rulings and the law.

The case was prepared and conducted on behalf of the client by CLA Lawyer Eva Gutierrez with the client being assisted by Claims Consultant Caroline Castro.

We end today with the good news received by one English client of CLA and their battle against Anfi coming to a successful conclusion. They have now received directly into their own bank account the full award of 17,551€ Anfi were ordered to repay by the courts.

The original case was heard at the Court of First Instance Number 5 of SBT, where the contract was declared null and void and the repayment to the client was ordered, as was expected, Anfi once again filed an appeal with the High Court.

The lawyers are now well aware of these tactics and as soon as the sentence is issued by the Court of First Instance they begin a “provisional execution of sentence”, this then secures the funds on behalf of the client until the sentence is confirmed by the High Court.

We all know that Anfi “plays” the game of appeal in order to delay payment, they are also known to “hide the funds”, in order to claim they have no money to payout. This is subject to an official investigation by the Provincial State Prosecutors Office, this may very well lead to criminal prosecutions.

Thanks to the diligent work and investigations of the legal team at CLA, this client received their payment from monies embargoed by CLA from a tax refund Anfi was supposed to receive. In the end, Anfi will pay, it is just a case of plugging away and “chasing the money-go-round”.

This case was prepared and conducted on behalf of the English Client by Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Jake Kaiser assisting the client during the process.

That is all for today, if you have any questions or comments, or you would like information on a possible legal case or just how to exit, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

The Tuesday Slot: Marriott and the Spanish Courts

Welcome to this edition of Inside Timeshare, today we have a look at Marriott and the continued litigation they are facing over their sale of illegal contracts under Spanish Timeshare Law. These cases have appeared on our pages over the past couple of years with Marriott losing in every one of them. The latest being published on 16 March, this case was also one in which not only Marriott appealed to the High Court but also the lawyers on behalf of the clients.

Back in 2018, Marriott admitted they were losing in the Spanish Courts, this was made public in a report published by Market Exclusive, (see links below). As a public company, Marriott has a legal obligation to publish and inform their shareholders of information regarding the company, its profit and losses and any risks that they foresee in the future.

One of these risks is of course all the court cases which they are being subjected to in the Spanish Courts. Like all the other timeshare developers, Marriott continued to sell their timeshare product as they did before the new laws to protect consumers came into force in January 1999. A move that all the timeshare companies are now having to address in the courts.

In the latest report to shareholders, Marriott has once again addressed this point, under the heading of Risk Factors and the heading:

“Spanish court rulings invalidating timeshare contracts have increased our exposure to litigation and such litigation may materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.”

It goes on to say:

“These rulings have invalidated timeshare contracts entered into after January 1999 related to certain resorts in Spain if the timeshare structure of those resorts did not meet the requirements prescribed by Spanish timeshare laws enacted in 1998”.

Although they acknowledge the fact, they still believe that the laws as being interpreted and ruled on by the Spanish Supreme Court are wrong. The next part of the above states:

“Even if the structure was lawful prior to 1998 and adapted to the 1998 laws pursuant to mechanisms specified in the 1998 laws”.

For those of you who are confused by this, it is actually very simple, when the new laws on the sale of timeshare and the protection of consumers came into force, it was for all timeshare contracts sold after 5 January 1999, not those sold before. There was what was known as a “deed of adaptation”, this basically meant that contracts sold before this date were lawful and legal. After all, you cannot legislate and prosecute for something which was done before a law came into force.

The problem with the “deed of adaptation” and Marriott was not the only developer to do this, they all believed that it also covered all timeshare contracts as the resorts were built and running before the law changed. This they believed would allow for the same contracts to be sold and since then they have been. Unfortunately for them, the tide has turned, as a result of cases being brought to court and especially those cases taken to the Supreme Court by Canarian Legal Alliance, that loophole has been closed.

Securities Exchange Commission Headquarters

Returning to the Marriott report which has also been submitted as required by law and published by the Securities Exchange Commission, It is clear that Marriott still disagrees with the law in Spain. They acknowledge that there has been a significant increase in the number of lawsuits being brought by members of these Spanish timeshares, they have also inferred that it may have a detrimental effect on their business:

“If additional owners at our resorts in Spain file similar lawsuits, this may result in the invalidation of those owners’ timeshare contracts entered into after January 1999; cause us to incur material litigation and other costs, including judgement or settling of payments; and materially adversely affect the results of operation of our Vacation Ownership segment, as well as our business and financial condition”.

In other words, they know it is going to cost them dearly and they must acknowledge this fact to the shareholders. After all, it is their “profit” that is at stake!

The report also goes to say that it is affecting other timeshare developers as well, pointing out that this may also lead to the reduction of the number of timeshare resorts located in Spain which also means less inventory for companies such as Interval International.

They finish this segment of the report with a very telling statement, publicly announcing that they and other developers disagree with the laws enacted in Spain. They go on to say:

“Participants in the vacation ownership industry disagree with these rulings and are seeking to introduce legislation that will implement a more balanced approach”.

A more balanced approach, hang on a minute, have they not had over 20 years to conform to the law, yet continued to act as before believing they were untouchable and above the law?

The one true point they did state after that sentence was:

“However, this new legislation may not be enacted”.

Now considering the history of timeshare sales in Spain, very few believe that the timeshare industry will have any sway on changing the legislation to be in their favour.

Spanish Supreme Court, 130 Rulings on Timeshare Law

They conclude this segment of the report with:

“The timeshare laws, regulations and policies in Spain may continue to change or be subject to different interpretations in the future, including in ways that could negatively impact our business”.

Well, I very much doubt if the 130 rulings of the Supreme Court on timeshare, thereby setting the law in place are going to change in their favour. At least they have acknowledged the fact to their shareholders that it is likely to have a negative impact on their business in Spain.

It should also be pointed out that although Marriott has admitted losing in the Spanish Courts, they do appear to be denying the fact that they are losing in every single case, including appeals to the High Court.

The last case we highlighted was on 16 March, in this case, a German Client of Canarian Legal Alliance won his case in the Court of First Instance, this contract contained the “floating weeks” system. Marriott decided they would appeal the ruling from the Court of First Instance to challenge the illegality of floating weeks.

Canarian Legal Alliance immediately launched their own counter appeal, this was a result of the judge in the original trial not acknowledging the illegal taking of deposits within the statutory cooling-off period. Any amount taken within this period is to be paid back in double, the court, in this case, failed to do so.

These points have been consistently ruled upon by the Supreme Court making this system along with points illegal in timeshare contracts and the repayment in double of any illegally taken payment.

The High Court dismissed the appeal from Marriott and confirmed that floating weeks are illegal under Spanish Timeshare Law and in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court. The High Court did however find in favour of the Canarian Legal Alliance appeal and ordered the repayment of the deposit taken in double.

The CLA Team who conducted the Marriot Case

It is also very interesting that although Marriott lodged the appeal with the High Court, they did however voluntarily pay over 48,000€ into the court as ordered by the Court of First Instance. So we do have to ask the question: If they paid the court-ordered amount as instructed, why did they go through with the appeal, especially as all other appeals have been dismissed and the original sentences confirmed?

Your guess is as good as mine, we really do not have an answer to this.

If you would like further information on your timeshare contract and if it is illegal under Law 42/98, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

The original article from July 2018 and the Market Exclusive report

https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-admit-losing-in-spanish-courts

https://marketexclusive.com/marriott-vacations-worldwide-corporation-nysevac-files-an-8-k-other-events-4/2018/07/amp/

In the latest report, under Risk factors, you will find the report from Marriott to the SEC

Marriott Vacations Worldwide ( Ticker VAC ) 2020 Annual Report 10-K filing to the SEC

https://sec.report/Document/0001524358-21-000016/#id1da7f0ca32846b8a5982ab97cfc05df_19

The full report from Marriott, the relevant section is on page 28.

Extract from page 28.

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The Tuesday Slot: Marriott Lose in the High Court and News from The Supreme Court

Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, today we have a look at the latest important news to come out of the Spanish Courts. All three of these cases are very similar in the fact they all lodged and lost their appeals, with Marriott losing in the High Court with Diamond and Anfi lodging appeals to the Supreme Court after they lost their cases at the Court of First Instance and then at the High Court. As we have come to expect, these appeals are being rejected by Spain’s Highest Court which has clearly laid down the law in 130 previous cases. All we can say is these are frivolous appeals designed to cause as much delay as possible as well as a lot of stress to the clients.

Marriott Lose Again

We begin first with the Marriott case, which was first submitted to the Court of First Instance and after only 10 months this court declared the contract null and void with the order to repay the German client 46,892€ plus legal interest.

The judge in this case did not acknowledge that deposits were taken illegally within the statutory cooling-off period, so did not award double the amount taken illegally. This is a point that has been implemented consistently by the Courts of First Instance, The High Court and ultimately the Supreme Court.

Marriott did not agree with the judgement that their floating weeks were illegal and launched an appeal to the High Court. The German client’s lawyers immediately launched their own appeal requesting the acknowledgement of the illegally taken deposits and that the client should have been awarded double the amount taken.

Unusually for the High Court, it only took 14 months for the High Court to dismiss the appeal by Marriott and accepted the appeal by the client. The court confirmed the original sentence declaring the contract null and void confirming the original order to repay 46,892€ plus legal interest and an additional 29,950€ in compensation for the illegal deposit. They also awarded the client back their legal costs, bringing the total excluding legal interest and legal costs to 76,842€.

The timing of this case is a record, only 24 months from lodging with the Court of First Instance and then the High Court process.

Now the strange point of this case is that when Marriott lost in the Court of First Instance, they “voluntarily” deposited the 48,512€ into the court which then secured 100% of that part of the claim. With the decision of the High Court, it is now expected that Marriott will again deposit the remaining balance with the court.

The Supreme Court Madrid

We now move to Diamond and their attempt to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The case as usual was originally heard in the Court of First Instance where they lost with the contract being declared null and void and ordered to repay the English client 33,338€ plus legal interest and costs.

Diamond immediately launched an appeal to the High Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, who then confirmed the original sentence. Diamond decided they did not agree and launched an appeal to the Supreme Court.

As expected, the Supreme Court dismissed the challenge as they have been very clear when it comes to timeshare contracts, after all, they have ruled on this in 130 cases, they are very unlikely to change their minds as it is they who have set the law in stone.

So we have to ask the question: why do they bother to appeal?

Entrance to the Anfi Resort Gran Canaria

We now move to the Anfi appeal to the Supreme Court, this follows a similar case involving Diamond, where Diamond requested “clarity” from the Supreme Court on previous rulings, suggesting there was an element of contradiction in some of the previous ruling from the High Court of Las Palmas.

The Supreme Court just as they did with the Diamond appeal on similar grounds dismissed the appeal declining to even consider its contents.

The Supreme Court is the highest court in Spain covering all legal areas, from civil and criminal cases, administrative proceedings, labour law and military law. As the court of last resort, there are certain criteria for a case to be accepted. Basically, the court ruled that there is already existing jurisprudence and the appealed sentence is not contradictory to the doctrine of the Supreme Court.

So it appears that the timeshare companies are using their legal rights of appeal not for any actual legal purposes but purely to delay proceedings and cause as much nuisance to clients as is possible.

It also costs the timeshare companies more in the long run, there is the additional cost of the appeals, the additional costs of their own lawyers fees and then in many cases, the courts add further amounts of compensation to the original order.

This certainly doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, they know their contracts are illegal, they have known for over 20 years but chose to ignore the law yet they still behave as though they are all-powerful and untouchable.

All these cases have been conducted on behalf of the clients by Canarian Legal Alliance, this is the only law firm to have received rulings from the Supreme Court with a massive 130 and continue to fight for their client’s rights.

If you would like further information on the legality of your timeshare contracts purchased in Spain, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

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