Can I Claim Compensation Against Timeshare Resorts?
There is an increasing number of successful cases in which people who claim compensation against timeshare resorts have won. However, there are particular criteria that your case must meet in order to be eligible. The good news is that recent cases in the Spanish Supreme Court have set a precedent, which – in legal terms – means that similar cases that come thereafter should also be treated according to the judgment laid out in the precedent case.
The series of precedents that have emerged over the last year or so have been instrumental in facilitating timeshare holders to claim compensation against timeshare resorts. We advise anyone who thinks they may have a case to pay close attention to the news that we report here on the Timeshare.Lawyer website. The principal reason that we share this news is so you can see what’s being awarded to whom and why. This, we believe, gives you a greater understanding of what you can expect from a timeshare legal case.
As a brief overview of the main criteria to look out for, here’s the top reasons that those who claim compensation against timeshare resorts are winning their cases:
1. In Perpetuity Contracts
We write about ‘in perpetuity’ contracts a lot, because they have been a serious problem for timeshare holders for decades. An ‘in perpetuity’ contract is one where the contract term exceeds fifty years, which is the maximum legal limit.
If no end date is specified in your contract, or the date is over fifty years since the date you signed, then you are likely to have a pretty clear cut claim for compensation.
The difficulty, of course, lies in contracts which are not in excess of fifty years, but will likely exceed the holder’s lifetime. In these cases, the responsibility for the timeshare, including all fees, falls on the offspring of the timeshare holder. This can be incredibly stressful, particularly if the offspring is in no way financially able to pay these fees. Equally, as the timeshare holder ages, they are unlikely to be able to go on their timeshare holiday, and the fees may be crippling – the stress of which can seriously impact an older person’s health.
Fortunately, there are ways around this. But you’ll need a specialist in timeshare law to go over your contract with a fine-toothed comb and explain the options to you.
2. Floating Weeks
Floating weeks timeshare contracts have come under the spotlight, with a significant pattern forming of floating week timeshares being deemed illegal.
The idea of floating week timeshare is the timeshare holder is given a range of weeks to choose from each year. They then have to log in and book their desired week as soon as possible, in competition with other floating week timeshare holders. It should mean more flexibility for holiday dates, but instead, it results in a messy, unpredictable battle between owners of the same timeshare property. These conflicts often result in people not being able to access the property at all. It goes without saying that you will still be expected to pay your fees.
It is this fact, that people find themselves unable to access a timeshare holiday at all, that is putting floating weeks under the spotlight.
Anfi timeshare is one company that is really feeling the pain from the Law as a result of their floating week contracts. In one case, they were ordered to pay 25,460 euros, plus legal fees and interests in compensation.
3. Timeshare Points
The thing about timeshare points clubs is the sneakiness with which they are sold. These are contracts that are often repackaged as ‘exclusive membership clubs’ or suchlike, with the word ‘timeshare’ mysteriously absent. But make no mistake about it, this is a timeshare, and not a good one to fall into.
In the majority of cases, these ‘exclusive clubs’ are managed by timeshare Trusts, and – whilst they will make all manner of promises to you – are principally aimed at benefitting the timeshare resort developers… not you.
One of the main complaints is that signees have to pay a massive upfront fee, followed by more mandatory fees that are then converted into points in your account. It is with these points that you secure holiday accommodation. What’s the point, though, when you could just book a normal holiday, and usually for far less?
Like Floating Weeks contracts, timeshare points systems work by securing dates where there is availability, which is far from guaranteed. Like Floating Weeks, it can be thoroughly frustrating to secure any holiday at all through the Timeshare Points system.
There has been many a person to claim compensation against timeshare resorts for the unfairness of a timeshare points system. In some cases, the resort has been found to offer priority to its own staff. In others, the resorts have simply decided not to make the resort available at particular times. In the worst of cases, the accommodation requested simply did not even exist!
4. Mis-Selling, Misrepresentation, and Cooling-Off Periods
You should also think carefully about whether you may have been mis-sold your timeshare. If it was presented to you as any different to what it really was, then this is a misrepresentation. Where this can be proved (which is, in practice, easier said than done), nullification and compensation may be due.
If you weren’t offered a cooling off period (time to reflect and consider whether you’d made the right decision) of a minimum of 14 days after signing, your contract will be null and void. So, too, if you handed over any money whatsoever during this cooling off period.
These are the main factors that influence your ability to claim compensation against timeshare resorts. Nonetheless, as more and more cases come through the courts, new criteria emerge as to what is and isn’t permissible. Whatever your situation, if you speak to a specialist timeshare expert, we’ll be able to tell you exactly where you stand, and help you with the next steps.