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Timeshare ownership, or as it is more commonly called: – Holiday clubs or fractional ownership has been sold in Spain for decades.
Typically, a client was sold a ‘week’ in a specific resort for an average of £30,000. Usually this money was paid, via a UK bank finance agreement. The sales strategy was very aggressive and involved luring tourists into a high-pressure group seminars. These went on daily in all the big Spanish resorts throughout the 1980’s, 90’s and 2000’s. The industry norm for success was that 1 in 6 clients would sign up on the day.
Part of the sales pitch was to inform potential clients that there was a strong and active second-hand market if they decided to ‘sell’ their timeshare contract in the future. Sadly, no such market exists.
During the purchase, no cooling off period was given, and customers were asked to sign a legal purchase contract and a loan agreement following the seminar.
An annual management or maintenance fee for the upkeep of the property and communal areas of the resort was written into the contract.
Initially this fee was affordable. But as the years went on the fee grew disproportionately, to the extent that some owners now pay a maintenance fee that is more than the weekly cost of renting a holiday home or hotel in the same resort.
Today, the clear majority of timeshare owners would like to exit their agreements but believe they can’t because of their contracts.
These contracts and the associated management/ maintenance fees are written in perpetuity.
The obligation to pay these fees forms part of the owner’s estate and the liability is passed on after death.
It took many years, but eventually Spain’s Supreme court ruled that almost all timeshare contracts sold since 1999 are deemed inherently unfair and unenforceable.
This will come as great news to the hundreds of thousands Spanish timeshare owners who want to free themselves from the burden of paying for their timeshare property for the rest of their lives – and then pass the financial commitment on to their children or spouses.
Hundreds of owners are having their contracts declared null and void every month, but because the action is usually resolved in the Spanish Courts, legal advice and representation is almost always necessary.
The courts’ decisions to declare timeshare contracts null and void are based upon Spanish law, confirmed by the Spanish Supreme Court on 15th Jan 2015.
So, if just one of the following is true for a you as a Timeshare owner, then the potential is there for a claim to be made against the resort for the contract to be declared Null and Void.
What’s more, if the case is won, you may also be able to recover up to 90% of the amount you initially paid for the purchase of the timeshare if:
You paid ANY money in the first 90 days after signing the contract. (Most customers took out loan agreements on the day, which qualifies as payment).
The timeshare contract was in perpetuity (Most contracts were written for 50 years or more, which qualifies).
The owner purchased a ‘floating’ week, not a fixed week on a specific property. (Although applying to specific resorts, this practice was widespread).