Our recent client from Cornwall, Mr. Townsend, has been awarded over €20,000 in a recent legal battle over an unwanted timeshare agreement. Back in 2000, Mr. Townsend bought a one-bedroom apartment for week 38 on a fixed week timeshare basis at Airtours Beach Club, who he was assured to trust as they were a British company. In 2016 he stopped using the timeshare.
Our team at European Consumer Claims (ECC) work closely with a firm of international lawyers in Spain - M1 Legal. It was only last week that we reported another success story when a Hampshire couple received a €16,076 payout from Club La Costa World for a timeshare purchase which was found not to be legally compliant.
In Spain, our appointed lawyers, M1 Legal, are currently processing over 1,500 timeshare cases of which 985 lawsuits have already been submitted to court at a value of over £21million pounds and have achieved 195 favourable judgements totalling £3.1 million pounds.
The original purchase of the timeshare cost Mr. Townsend £8,211 but over the next 15 years it also managed to relieve him of more than £20,000. This was due to maintenance fees for the timeshare that had increased by over 110%. “I saw it as a holiday the family could enjoy after I was gone - they could benefit from quality 5 star accommodation with facilities such as a spa and a private beach,” commented Mr. Townsend. He was fed untrue information by the salesperson; “But that was not the case, I later found out I had been misinformed and felt trapped with no option to sell. I was also becoming increasingly worried about my family being held liable for the annual maintenance bills.”
Upon analysing the contract it became clear that it contained illegalities. First of all, the contract exceeded the legal time period of 50 years with the lease being 96 years long. Under Spanish law a contract over 50 years in length is considered to be in perpetuity. Secondly, the contract lacked detailed information on when the apartment could be used and the accommodation didn’t have a land registry number either.
“If there is anyone who is on the fence about pursuing a claim with ECC and M1 Legal, then I am happy to recommend them based on my personal experience,” said Mr Townsend of Launceston. “It is my understanding that my case was not easy and I would like to thank M1 Legal for pushing to get a positive outcome.”
Towards the end of 2019 Mr. Townsend was free from his timeshare trap and got to see the real life results of his claim. “In early December 2019, M1 Legal informed me that the Judge had passed final judgement, and shortly before Christmas, I received the sum of €20,202.” Townsend is already debating what type of holiday he would like to choose this year and plans to hold back a large slice of the money for his family.
“If anyone has a similar situation, my advice would be to go along to a meeting and see if you have a claim, and if you do, then you can take comfort in knowing that this company does pursue claims unlike others out there.”
During the Timeshare sales boom of the 80s & 90s, potential buyers were lured in by the promise of affordable exotic holidays, flexible exchange programmes and the impression that Timeshare would be a valuable "investment".
In an industry with little or no regulation, high pressure sales tactics were rife and contract smallprint was often glossed over and explained away by sharp salespeople.
Many Timeshare buyers were therefore unaware that they were actually making significant, long term financial commitments on behalf of themselves and their families.
To find out how you can escape the Timeshare Trap please complete the short Timeshare Release Wizard now.
For many Timeshare owners, annual maintenance fees were barely considered token amounts in the early "honeymoon period" of ownership.
However, year-on-year increases imposed by the resorts over time now mean that the maintenance fees have risen to become substantial sums.
Owners are also facing the prospect of ongoing yearly fee increases and realising that they (and their families) are often committed to long term contracts for generations to come.
Please try our Future Fees Calculator to estimate your liabilities over the term of your Timeshare contract, based on an annual increase of 7.5%.
If you're concerned about rising fees and how to escape the Timeshare Trap, please contact us today.
Recent comments from RCI Timeshare owners who have come to us for help with contract cancellation:
“We 'swapped ‘another place in Tenerife for this in order to move to the points system. Since then, getting exchanges to desirable resorts proves almost impossible, irrespective of in-season or off-season.”
“I purchased my timeshare in 1999 and have been a timeshare member ever since. More often than not, I have not be able to go where I wanted and have ended up giving a few weeks to Friends, etc to book somewhere they wanted in order not to lose the weeks. I have then stayed in a hotel!! I am desperately trying to get rid of the timeshare and am now paying Timeshare Shop in Manchester to get rid of it for me.”