We are almost at the end of July and we noticed that there had been one area of news we have omitted, the latest on the court cases in Spain. It has been a little quiet and with August just around the corner, the courts will be closed as is most of Spain, you need anything official done, well forget it, just enjoy the break.
Both of the leading law firms in timeshare litigation have published court judgements against several timeshare developers and their sales departments. These cases will have been heard some time ago with the lawyers and clients eagerly waiting for the official notice.
Marriott has been the main focus of judgements for Canarian Legal Alliance, with cases running in both Marbella and Mallorca, numerous contracts have been declared null & void, with the client set to receive back the total purchase price along with other payments the judge has deemed fit.
CLA also reported that Marriott had paid the amounts ordered by the court in several cases within a couple of weeks of the judgement. This has been a very noticeable point in Marriott cases, virtually right from the start they have complied with the courts, and at least one developer takes it seriously.
Although to be fair, it may be just self-interest, it saves them money and they are also accountable to their shareholders.
One piece of news which did stand out was the Supreme Court‘s rejection of an appeal by ANFI. The case was initially won in the Court of First Instance, then confirmed by the High Court at which point Anfi lodged the Supreme Court Appeal.
Considering the number of cases they have lost in that court it beggars belief they would continue in this manner. We do have to ask the question: is ANFI just playing games and stalling for time?
Another significant piece of news was a case against Diamond in Fuengirola, the court found against them, declaring the contract null & void plus full repayment. Since the Hilton acquisition of Diamond, the ordered amounts have been paid promptly to the courts. We wait to see if they continue to do so.
M1 Legal has also reported on their successes in two posts so far this month, they have split this into three categories, Court of First Instance, Appeals and Jurisdiction.
In the Fuengirola Courts, they achieved 4 victories for their clients in 4 cases against Club la Costa, the basics for the ruling was the lack of information regarding the accommodation and the contract duration. These are required by law.
There were also 2 successes against Diamond in the same courts. Again in both cases, the judge found in favour of M1 Legal’s client due to the same reasons as above.
In all cases, the contracts were declared null & void with a substantial repayment.
They also reported one partial victory against Marriott in the Marbella Court, although the judge did find in favour on some points and awarded repayment, there were some aspects which he did not. The lawyers for the client will lodge an appeal against this.
In the appeals section, In the High Court of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, it was the turn of Anfi to be once again on the losing streak. One case which is of interest involved an initial loss for the client at the Court of First Instance, where the judge concluded the contract was already cancelled due to the non-payment of maintenance. The High Court agreed with M1 Legal and found in their favour.
There were also appeal wins against Club la Costa at Malaga High Court, once again the courts upheld and confirmed the initial verdict.
Under Jurisdiction, which is usually an argument from the resorts that their contracts do not come under Spanish law, they have had 5 cases from Damond, 1 Marriott and 1 from Club la Costa. We have seen this before, it was used very effectively as a stalling tactic in the past, causing considerable stress for the client.
As we have seen from past cases, the courts ruled that they did have jurisdiction and the cases will now proceed through the Spanish Courts.
All in all not a bad month for the clients and the lawyers involved in representing them.
Now we have finished with the courts, it is also that time of year when in the past the cold calls tend to die down, with the big flurry beginning just after the holiday period. This coincides with the runup to “maintenance fee” time, most invoices for the next year’s maintenance tended to arrive around November. However, over the past years, we have seen them arrive much earlier, usually with the enticement of a “discount” if paid before the usual payment period.
Bit of a cheek really, fills their coffers early and we’ll bet they are getting interest on it. But that is not really the point here, it’s also ammunition for the cold call scammers offering “exits & claims”.
We know that maintenance fees are probably one of the biggest reasons for ending the membership, especially for those of advancing years, this is an open invitation. These callers will offer you a solution, one that will look too good to be true, (probably is).
Once your interest is aroused, and cost comes into the equation, there will be another simple solution, “Don’t pay the Maintenance, use the money to get out and make a claim”.
Dangerous ground straight away, you will then be in breach of contract, you will then have a long and stressful road in sorting it, you may also be liable to County Court proceedings and a CCJ.
Most timeshare resorts in Europe now have their own exit or relinquishment process, always contact them first for information. Club la Costa allows members to just hand back, Diamond has a set of conditions which decides whether you have to pay something or if it is free. Usually, all maintenance must be paid to date and we should also warn you that they will only deal with the member directly, they do not accept any third-party terminations.
On Friday we have Part 3 of our series on “Predatory Military Lending”, a series that is certainly infuriating a lot of people.
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