Timeshare compensation has become big business over the last two years. So much so, in fact, that Timeshare Compensation has seen fit to issue a warning to owners against rogue compensation companies. A simple query of “How do I get out of my timeshare contract?” is enough to excite the interest of a host of supposed compensation companies. Popping up all over Spain, these companies charge an upfront fee to those hoping to win compensation, then disappear into the night, never to be heard from again.
The Spanish Supreme Court is the legal cog driving forward this particular wheel. The highest court in Spain, it has made a series of landmark rulings since 2015, which have opened the doors to timeshare owners seeking to nullify their contracts and claim compensation for all monies paid out under those contracts.
The legal timeline that has led up to the recent spate of compensation claims dates back to 1998, when Spain introduced a law designed to rid the timeshare industry of unjust practices, including unfair contracts. That law – Law 42/98 – meant that from 5 January 1999 onward, all timeshare contracts had to comply with certain new rules. This legislation included making ‘in perpetuity’ contracts (i.e. those that lasted from than 50 years) illegal.
The first test case under this law that resulted in compensation (£28,000, awarded in March 2015) was brought by a Norwegian woman with an ‘in perpetuity’ contract. The Spanish Supreme Court found in favour of the claimant, confirming that timeshare contracts were deemed illegal not only if they lasted for more than 50 years, but also if they were for ‘floating weeks’ products (where the contract does not specify the accommodation or the weeks that the owner is entitled to use it) and if the contract failed to include legally required information about cancellation and termination rights.
Since that ruling, interest in timeshare compensation claims has snowballed, with Timeshare Compensation reporting contact from over 6,000 individuals so far in 2017. According to the firm, owners are becoming far more aware of the fact that they might finally have a way out of their millstone timeshare contracts – and may even be legally entitled to compensation as a result of mis-selling practices.
“Consumer knowledge regarding timeshare compensation is booming, which is excellent news. As further cases test the Spanish Supreme Court’s resolve to stand up for timeshare owners who have had products mis-sold to them, thousands of owners who feel they weren’t fully aware of what they were committing to with their timeshares finally have a ray of hope.” – Belinda Rollins, Timeshare.lawyer
Recent cases include that of a consumer who was sold a ‘membership’ package in 2008. By 2011 she realised that the ‘membership’ was not what she thought it was. After six years of battling through the courts, the Supreme Court decided that the ‘provision of services’ that the individual had been sold was actually a timeshare property and not a holiday package, which is how it had originally been presented. The ‘membership’ contract did not comply with Law 42/98 and Silverpoint, the timeshare company in question, was ordered to pay €25,000 in compensation to the consumer.
It seems that the future is bright for many of those still asking, “How do I get out of my timeshare contract?” When a contract is deemed illegal it has to be voided and the relevant parties returned to the position they were in before they entered the contract. This means that owners with unlawful contracts can look forward to the prospect of receiving back not just the money paid out during the life of the contract (including maintenance fees), but also the interest accrued on that money. For those seeking compensation, this is happy news indeed.
For more information, please visit Timeshare.lawyer or TimeshareCompensation.co.uk, call 0800 046 5855 or email Info@TimeshareCompensation.co.uk, call 0800 046 5855 or email Info@TimeshareCompensation.co.uk.