Trapped in your timeshare? CostaLuz Lawyers offers fresh hope to burdened families

  • Many people still paying maintenance fees for illegal and unwanted timeshare contracts
  • Issuing a legal statement on the client’s rights is often sufficient to cease payments
  • Spanish law supports buyers’ interests when it comes to timeshare purchases

“We often think of timeshares as an issue of the past, but there are still so many families who are trapped in them and either don’t want them or can’t afford them. What’s most shocking is that many of those families are trapped in their contracts illegally. We have a good deal of experience of this and want to let people know that they may be able to take action to get out of such schemes.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

Timeshares took off as a way for multiple individuals to share the rights to use a holiday property back in the 1960s. By the mid-1970s the business model was well-established and increasingly popular in both the US and Europe. Globally, the industry continues to expand, with MarketWatch reporting the global vacation ownership (timeshare) market to have a value of USD 15620 million in 2019. That figure was projected (as at December 2020) to rise to USD 25720 million by the end of 2026.

However, the history of timeshares has been littered with scandals, as well as with treasured holiday memories. Between mis-selling and families becoming trapped in unsellable contracts, timeshares have caused plenty of distress over the years. The cross-border nature of the timeshare transaction process has also caused issues.

“Timeshares make a very interesting study from a legal perspective. The number of abusive, corrupt companies located in tax havens that are involved is truly eye-opening. Thankfully, case law is very much on the buyers’ side, at least in Europe where a Directive on timeshares has supported buyers’ interests.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

According to CostaLuz Lawyers, Spanish law has established that if the timeshare complex is in Spain, then Spanish law governs the contract. The law in Spain relating to timeshares has changed twice in recent years. Law 42/1998 was enacted to protect buyers. Then, in 2015, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that any contract lasting for 50+ years (including all those ‘in perpetuity) and signed after 5 January 1999 was illegal, as all such contracts had to be for 50 years or under.

For those stuck in timeshare contracts that they can’t afford or simply don’t want, the CostaLuz Lawyers team advises investigating the available options. The number of contracts that Spanish judges have ruled are null and void means that many owners do have a choice about remaining in their contracts.

“In many instances, all it takes to get clients out of the illegal timeshare contracts in which they are trapped is the issuing of a legal statement in relation to the null character of the contracts, along with cessation of maintenance fee payments. Very few timeshare companies take the matter any further. At the other end of the spectrum, very few sign a settlement agreement, either. Most simply leaving the matter un-concluded but with contract holders no longer having to pay.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

In the CostaLuz Lawyers’ team’s experience, this situation is just fine with the majority of those seeking to escape their illegal and/or burdensome timeshare contracts. Most don’t have the will to pursue the timeshare company to claim back the amount they’ve invested, despite there being scope in Spanish law for them to do so. Instead, the majority of clients simply want to stop paying their maintenance fees and forget about the issue entirely.

While there is occasional pushback from one of the timeshare companies, this is usually swiftly dealt with through a reiteration of the client’s rights and the relevant case law.

“Unwanted timeshares don’t have to be the millstone that those forced to make regular maintenance payments might assume. It’s always worth finding out if the option to escape the contract exists.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

 

For more information, please contact CostaLuz Lawyers’ UK office on +44 1908 635 111 and speak with Keith. To speak with Maria in the Spanish office, call +34 956 092 687 or you can visit www.costaluzlawyers.es