We are happy to share with you the outcome of the last agreement we have recently reached on behalf of a client with a Spanish Timeshare contract that contained abusive clauses which ended up with a refund of part of the price paid. We also take this opportunity to give you some information on these potential claims that can benefit you if you are tied to timeshare contracts in Spain that you no longer use or that have become a nightmare rather than a way to enjoy a place in the sun.
We thought that it may be of your interest to know that in certain scenarios your contract can be declared null and void and you could therefore be entitled to claim your money back.
We are referring to the “Time share” contracts, sometimes named “Vacation Membership Agreements”, “Rotation holiday contracts” and similar names created by companies dealing with timeshares to avoid applying the EU Timeshare regulations. Not only Spanish law rules but also the European Directive 2008/122/CE, were implemented to protect the rights of the consumers buying timeshares under abusive clauses.
We should distinguish between a) the potential breaches of law on the contract, that could represent the right to withdraw from the contract and b) the potential null and void clauses.
There are some legal requirements that, under Spanish law and also under EU law, these types of contracts should contain, and the absence of those requirements can entitle you as a consumer to withdraw from the contract e.g. lack of information at the time of signing the contract. However, in most cases the cooling off or withdrawing period has probably expired.
At the same time, there are some other legal aspects that the contracts should respect, and its failure can lead to the declaration of nullity and voidance. In these cases, as they are considered null and void, there is no limitation and you can still take legal action to reverse the contracts and get part of your money back as well as, in some cases, compensation.
The most common cause of considering a clause null and void in these types of contracts is the non-limitation of time i.e. some of the timeshare contracts that have been declared null and void were signed for an unlimited period of time, among others.
Furthermore, during the cooling off period, no deposit or payment in advance should have been obtained from you which in many cases has happened and can therefore work now in favour of you.
Case law in Spain regarding this type of contracts is not insignificant. Despite of this, Spanish Timeshare companies usually litigate until the end and use all the necessary appeals to delay the process to make you abandon the claim. However, very often it is possible to reach an amicable solution before litigation whereby the contract is terminated and the payment, or part of it, is refunded to you.
If you want to exit a timeshare contract that has become a burden, we recommend contacting a Spanish lawyer versed in this type of matters to do an initial study of the contract to see if it contains clauses that could potentially be declared null and void, carry out a search on case law against the particular timeshare company, give an estimate on the amount to be claimed and decide with you whether it is worth taking the matter further with the aim of terminating the contract and getting a refund and perhaps compensation.
The Spanish Desk at gunnercooke LLP will be glad to help if required.