We live in a claims culture. Nowadays, you only need to turn on your television to be bombarded with adverts asking us whether we have had an injury at work or whether we took out payment protection insurance on a loan. It seems you can claim for almost anything and that now extends to timeshares.
We all know the negative stigma associated with timeshares and in particular those high-pressure timeshare sales presentations. Over the years, many countries have tightened laws on how timeshares can be sold by implementing new legislation, but many operators have failed to fully comply with these rules and which has created an opportunity for owners to seek compensation.
Whilst many timeshare owners over the years have felt they were mis-sold their timeshare, very few have considered taking legal action against their resort. All that changed in 2015 following a Supreme Court ruling in Spain, which declared a timeshare contract null and void for falling foul of legislation. What followed was an avalanche of claims in the Spanish courts, which set the wheels in motion for the creation of a whole new arm of the timeshare industry – Timeshare Claims. Many new companies formed, to provide claims management services for timeshare owners to claim compensation and release owners from contracts that are not compliant with regulation.
So is it really possible to claim money back?
Whilst it does sound too good to be true, timeshare compensation claims are a reality and some lucky owners have been paid back more than what they paid for their timeshare. But before you get too carried away, you should first consider the following if you want to instigate a claim…
- You should only contract the services of a claims company that employs qualified lawyers who are experienced in timeshare. If the claims are to be made in the Spanish courts then you should be looking to contract with lawyers who are members of the Spanish Bar Association.
- Many successful claims have been made against the institutions that financed timeshare purchases (banks and lenders) however these can only be made where there is clear evidence of breach of contract and / or misrepresentation.
- Whilst court cases have been successful in other jurisdictions, the most consistently successful cases against timeshare operators have been through the Spanish courts.
You may be eligible for a claim that can be processed through the Spanish courts if …
- You signed your timeshare contract after 5th of January 1999
- You contracted with a Spanish company
- Your contact falls foul of at least one of the following..
- Your contract length was more than 50 years or in perpetuity
- You paid a deposit within the cooling off period
- You contracted a floating time or points backed timeshare
- Your timeshare was not registered in the land registry
- You were not provided with the exact details of the occupancy rights.
Whilst you may be eligible to make a claim, it is important to consider the following factors…
- Be wary of companies offering no-win-no-fee claims. Whilst some firms may genuinely offer this opportunity, in many cases, this is simply an appealing offer to lure you in and then sell you another service.
- Be prepared for the length of time a court case can take as a claim via the Spanish courts can take longer than you think. Although many cases have had successful outcomes in Spain, the process can take between 12 and 36 months.
- The most you can expect to claim back is 100% of your purchase price, plus double any money paid during the cooling-off period (which extends to 90 days where statutory information is missing from your contract). You may also be able to claim back interest and legal expenses, at the Judge’s discretion.
- To process a claim you will usually need to make advanced payments to cover legal costs such as the lawyer’s and council’s time, and other disbursement fees including court submission fees and notary costs. Although this is standard practice, make sure you know what these costs are from the outset.
In summary it is worthwhile for you to explore the opportunity to claim however you should research the company or firm you will use to process the claim and most importantly, find out the answers to these questions;
- Does your contract fall foul of legislation? If so how?
- What experience does your claims manager have with claims in the timeshare industry?
- What is the risk versus reward? i.e How much will it cost to process the claim and how much could you realistically claim back?
For clear answers to these questions you should speak with a specialist who can analyse your documentation and identify where you may have a claim.
O-YOO is happy to give free, helpful advice and guidance. If you have an enquiry with regards to your timeshare contract, call us on 01793 251 080 or send us an email at email@example.com