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Provincial Prosecutors Office

Anfi: Are They Using the Law to Delay Payments?

Following on from the recent articles about Diamond and Marriott depositing money with the courts after they ordered them to repay clients for illegal contracts, Inside Timeshare has received many inquiries regarding Anfi. today we have a quick look at the reasons why Anfi payouts to clients take so long.

For those of you familiar with our articles, Anfi is losing all cases in the Courts of First Instance, with the contracts being declared null and void and the return of the full purchase price plus double any amount taken within the statutory cooling-off period. Most would think that was the end of it and they will now get their money.

Court of First Instance Maspalomas SBT

Unfortunately, this is not the case, we have consistently reported on the constant appeals to the High Court and the Supreme Court filed by Anfi. Just in the past few months alone and on a daily basis, the High Court of Las Palmas has dismissed and rejected their appeals, confirming the sentence of the Court of First Instance. All of these dismissals are in line with the law as per the rulings (130 in total) of the Supreme Court.

Even when the law firms bringing these cases before the court’s, file “Enforcement of Sentence” proceedings, this is at the point of the first judgement being issued, and Anfi then complies by depositing the money with the court, it does not mean the client will receive payment immediately. The reason is Anfi may have lodged an appeal and therefore the courts are powerless to release the money until the appeals process is concluded.

Now, I do hear you ask, why does Anfi appeal every case?

The answer is very simple, it is a legal way of delaying what we know is the inevitable outcome, appeal dismissed and sentence confirmed.

The courts are actually powerless to do anything about it, they have to allow the appeals process to run its course. After all, it is the right of any defendant including Anfi to appeal, no matter how frivolous it may be.

The effect of these appeals not only causes a huge amount of distress to the clients, but they also clog up the whole court system, causing not only delays in these cases but other cases due to be heard by the courts.

High Court of Las Palmas GC

The results of these appeals to the High Court and the subsequent confirmation of the original sentence are published on an almost daily basis, so much so that Inside Timeshare would be publishing nothing but Anfi appeals cases if we were to follow them all.

Anfi has also tried to lodge more appeals to the Supreme Court, in March and May of this year, the Supreme Court roundly rejected appeals by Anfi. The case rejected in March was Anfi following a Diamond Resorts appeal for “clarity” of the law as they believed that there was an element of “contradiction” in some of the rulings issued by the High Courts of Las Palmas.

As with the Diamond appeal, this was rejected by the Supreme Court which declined the appeal, stating that “The interest for the appeal to the supreme court, based on contradictory rulings from the high courts is non-existent because there is already existing jurisprudence and the appealed sentence is not contradictory to the Supreme Court’s doctrine”

The Supreme Court Madrid

In other words, the law on this subject is totally clear and unambiguous, the claims of the “contradictions” simply do not exist and they will not even consider studying the case. The court in their previous rulings has made the law very clear indeed and the judgments made by the initial court (First Instance) and then the High Court are solid and stand.

We also know that these appeals are backed by The RDO (Resorts Development Organisation), which is the European timeshare industries trade body, they have consistently backed timeshare resorts with the view that the law is wrong, the judges, including those of the Supreme Court, have wrongly interpreted the law. Inside Timeshare actually finds this very amusing, panels of 12 judges sitting on each case at the Supreme Court are wrong, (in 130 rulings)!

We also believe that the appeals are also a delaying tactic for Anfi to move funds around various accounts, thereby rendering the accounts of the various companies cited in the legal action empty. This then scuppers any embargo on the accounts, there is nothing or very little in them to seize.

We have reported this on several occasions, with the investigation by the Provincial Prosecutors Office of Gran Canaria, an investigation which may ultimately lead to “criminal charges”.

This investigation not only focuses on “Punishable Insolvency”, which to briefly explain means that due to the movement of funds from the accounts of the “convicted” companies (Anfi Sales SL & Anfi Resorts SL) to other Anfi accounts, leave them technically insolvent. Thereby they are unable to pay the amounts so ordered by the courts, an insolvent company cannot pay its debts!

One of the other possible charges (criminal),  is “Frustration in the execution of sentences”, due to the Anfi tactic of “avoiding” payments which they are obliged to do so by order of the courts.

In short, considering the court’s stance on these cases it does appear to be a total waste of time and money on the part of Anfi.

As for the money, it has been muted that Anfi is claiming poverty and are unable to pay, now to Inside Timeshare this is a rather lame excuse, the costs involved in bringing these appeals is huge. It costs them to lodge an appeal with the High Court, and from the information we have, the cost of taking an appeal to the Supreme Court is around 14,000€ just to start.

We then have the costs of their own legal team, knowing Anfi, it will be a large team of rather expensive lawyers, for those who have brought cases against Anfi, they know only too well that legal fees are not cheap.

Then there is the case of the courts increasing the award to take into account these frivolous appeals, the legal interest and in most cases the legal costs of the client. So rather than paying out a small claim of say 20,000€, Anfi are willing to spend thousands more to delay payment or try and win the case!

This now leaves one important question for all those members of Anfi, whose money are they using?

Are your maintenance fees going to be increased to cover these losses?

Will the expensive rents on the locals (bars, restaurants and shops), all owned by Anfi going to increase as well, which will only increase prices for the consumer?

Inside Timeshare leaves you the reader to decide what you think, we are very clear in our own minds.

Did you purchase a timeshare in Spain after January 1999, and would like to know if you do have an illegal contract under Spanish Timeshare Law?

If so please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you with the best information possible.

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Translations of this article







Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare. First, for those who have been following the Euro finals, yesterday was a little disappointing for our English readers, but it has to be said, the lads and the manager made us proud. It is just a shame that the abusers have already taken to social media and attacked some young and talented players who gave their all. Now back to what we are here for, timeshare latest.

Since Inside Timeshare has been offline, the woes for Anfi have not gone away, in fact, they have just been getting worse, but it is of their own doing!

At every turn, Anfi still thinks the law is wrong and appeals every decision made by the courts against them, from the moment a case is filed with the court they will delay responses and disagree with all decisions made by the courts.

Yet as we have seen, not one case which is filed with the courts has a contract that is not in breach of the timeshare laws first enacted in January 1999. These contracts range from “perpetuity” which is never-ending, to points and fixed week systems, not to forget the illegal taking of payments within the statutory cooling off period!

These are just the basics, once the contracts are explored with the expert eye of the lawyers, they begin to find other infractions which come under other laws designed to protect the consumer.

But the courts are now well aware of the tactics Anfi is using, unfortunately, they have to allow these appeals, it is the legal right of Anfi to do so, even though the judges can see the reasons behind the appeals, their hands are tied and the legal process must go on.

What we have seen recently though, is a growing tendency of the appeal courts to process these appeals in a much quicker time, with every appeal being dismissed and the original judgments confirmed.

Then there is the matter of Anfi complying with the sentences issued against them, the delays in paying into the courts the funds to be returned to the consumer using some very dubious methods.

These dubious methods are now under investigation by the Provincial Prosecutors Office of Gran Canaria. This investigation has been running for quite some time now and is looking at possible criminal charges involving the suspicious movement of funds.

One of the reasons which triggered this investigation is the fact that by moving these funds it appears that Anfi could be seen as attempting to ignore a court order. This point is noted as being a criminal act in Spain.

This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, we have an investigation into the dealings of Anfi with the various agencies including the Mayor of Mogan, over the debacle which is known as the Anfi Tauro Beach Project. There are also other investigations into members of the Cazorla Group board who are also involved with Anfi, it is certainly a very big can of worms.

The worst part of all this is the fact the Anfi resort is loved by many, so what is turning members to the courts?

The answer is very simple, it is now they are finding that what they were sold in the first place is not what they were promised. It is the attitude towards the members when they have a problem, it is the lies and falsehoods passed out by management on various subjects, the most recent being the replacement of contracts.

The signing of these new contracts is being portrayed as a legal obligation by the members, what Anfi is not telling you is their main reason for the change. They know full well their existing contracts are illegal, and by “enticing” members to change they are saving their own skin, after all, once the new contract is signed, the member loses all legal rights to sue Anfi.

Rather than come clean with their members and admit they are losing in the courts accepting the original judgements, (or even settle out of court), the management seems to rather pay their lawyers and accumulate more charges with the appeals. We just wonder where they are getting the money to pay for all this, could it be your maintenance fees?

It is not just Anfi who are losing in the courts, but it is Anfi who keeps coming up with appeal after appeal, no doubt we will be bringing you more results from the High Court of Las Palmas in the very near future.

The Tuesday Slot: Anfi and More Woes from the High Court

At the end of last week, the news was received of further appeals to the High Court of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, by Anfi were once again rejected, yesterday yet another appeal was dismissed by the same court. In all cases, Anfi lost the initial case at the Court of First Instance of San Bartelóme de Tirajana. In one case not only did Anfi appeal, but the lawyers for the client also appealed as the Court of First Instance failed to recognise or make reference to the payment in double of any payments made during the statutory cooling-off period.

In our first case, Norwegian clients being represented by Lawyers from Canarian Legal Alliance won their case at the Court of First Instance, where the judge declared the contract null and void. The court also demanded that Anfi repay the client 42,429€ plus legal interest and legal costs.

Once again Anfi decided that they did not agree with the decision regardless that on every occasion they have lost the appeal, but launched it anyway.

The lawyers of CLA on behalf of the client also launched their own appeal regarding the failure of the court to award double the deposit taken during the cooling-off period. This point is a matter of law and has been confirmed on numerous occasions by the Supreme Court.

The Judge of the High Court Number 5 of Las Palmas rejected and dismissed the Anfi appeal but did accept the appeal by CLA on behalf of their client. The Court recognised that the illegally taken deposit should have been refunded in double.

They increased the award by 16,420€ which brought the total amount to 58,849€, added to this will be the legal interest and legal costs.

The following day another Anfi appeal was rejected and dismissed by the High Court Number 5 of Las Palmas.

The original trial involving another Norwegian client originally won their case at the Court of First Instance Number 4 of SBT. The judge, in this case, declared the contract illegal and therefore null and void, they also demanded that Anfi repay 57,813€ plus legal interest and legal costs.

In this ruling, the judge did recognise the point on the illegal taking of deposits, doubling up the amount taken illegally.

But as we have come to expect Anfi once again launched an appeal, once again they lost.

The High Court confirmed the sentence without hesitation and ordered the repayment of the said amount and confirming the contract was null and void.

Yesterday it was yet another Norwegian client of CLA who had their case concluded by the High Court.

The original ruling from the Court of First Instance declared the contract null and void with Anfi being ordered to repay the client 88,000€ plus legal interest and legal costs. In this case, the Court of First Instance recognised the illegality of the taking of any payment within the statutory cooling-off period. This doubling of the deposits taken amounted to 37,000€ more than the client originally paid.

But once again Anfi did not agree with the ruling and once again launched their appeal to the High Court.

As we have seen in all cases being heard on appeal, the High Court, this time Court Number 3 of Las Palmas, rejected and dismissed the appeal and confirmed 100% the original sentence of the Court of First Instance.

All these cases were prepared and conducted on behalf of the clients by CLA Lawyer Eva Gutierrez with Claims Consultant Caroline Castro assisting the client during the procedures.

As we have been seeing over and over again, Anfi appeals every case, the reason, your guess is as good as mine.

What we do know is that Anfi along with other timeshare resorts and the industry trade body the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) still believe that the law is wrong, that the Supreme Court has misinterpreted the law. This is rather incredulous considering the time it has taken for the law to be verified and the 130 rulings made by the Supreme Court, all confirming the law and the sentences of the lower courts.

We also know that Anfi is employing some very underhand tactics by using this appeals process to delay payments. It is a fact that has been published not just here on Inside Timeshare but also in the Spanish press, that Anfi is moving funds from various bank accounts to give the impression they have no money.

This point is also being investigated by the Provincial Prosecutors Office with the assistance of lawyers from CLA, who have provided much of the evidence of these accounts.

It is also a fact that these appeals not only confirm the payments ordered but also cost Anfi a great deal of money. There are the legal costs of launching an appeal, our information is that it costs around 3000€ just to file the appeal with the court, add to this the cost of their legal representation, plus the accumulation of interest on the awarded sums, it does not take a mathematician to work out how much this is costing Anfi.

No doubt we shall be seeing many more of these cases on our pages over the course of the next year, as it seems like Anfi are not about to change their tactics.

If you would like further information on your legal rights and whether or not you have a valid and viable case, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.