Timeshare horrors: fresh hope for 100,000 people locked in costly contracts
Thousands of Britons trapped in onerous timeshare or “holiday club” arrangements – where they are forced to pay annual fees for few or no benefits – could be given an escape route as their contracts are effectively “null and void”. Some might even be able to claim refunds.
These rip-off agreements could completely unravel as a result of a court ruling against “perpetual” timeshares. Soon-to-be-implemented Europe-wide rules are expected to back the decision.
Data shared with Telegraph Money suggests that 100,000 timeshare contracts are affected. Figures from the timeshare industry show that around 12pc of the 850,000 timeshares in Europe could now be considered illegal and their owners due a refund of all money spent, plus interest and legal costs.
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While “timeshare” often describes legitimate arrangements where, typically, consumers buy fixed weeks each year at a set resort, the term is also used to describe a vague package of benefits, supposedly attached to a range of resorts, where customers risk being locked into unfair terms.
The latter, sometimes called “holiday clubs” or “floating timeshares”, are notorious. Owners found they had unwittingly agreed to pay hefty annual fees that were supposed to continue after their death, with the obligations passing on to their children or heirs.
Reports have surfaced of people in care homes being forced to pay for timeshares they could not use, as well as relatives of deceased owners being hounded for money.
The Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA), an independent lobby group representing timeshare owners, told Telegraph Money that up to 60pc of agreements were being enforced by providers against the owner’s wishes.
Of the 850,000 timeshare arrangements in Europe, 30pc of owners are in dispute with providers, the TCA said, with many refusing to pay.
What has changed?
A Norwegian woman was awarded more than £28,000 by the Spanish Supreme Court in March, giving fresh hope to Britons locked in similar arrangements.
In the case against the Gran Canaria-based Anfi Group, the judge ruled that “in perpetuity” clauses broke a Spanish law which states that no timeshare agreement signed after January 15 1999 can last more than 50 years. This rendered the whole contract invalid, and the court ordered Anfi to refund all payments as well as interest and legal fees.
Politicians in Brussels are now reviewing relevant timeshare legislation, seeking to apply tighter rules retrospectively, with enforcement expected “later this year”.
See if you can make a claim http://claimsright.co.uk/timeshare-claims/
Under current rules, the Timeshare Directive implemented by member states in January 2011, provides protection for consumers who signed up to timeshares after this date.
The move could give British consumers reassurance that excessive or unfair charges are unenforceable. The decision from March 6 applied to traditional fixed-week timeshares, but would extend to other agreements “held in perpetuity”.
Currently, around 20,000 timeshare owners across Europe are pursuing group actions against their firms, and around 30,000 people are pursuing cases individually, according to the TCA.
It said it had seen a 25pc increase in inquiries from British owners since the Spanish court’s ruling.
What are the disputed charges?
Timeshares can cost thousands of pounds upfront but the controversy surrounds annual “maintenance fees”.
Owners will have to pay the fees indefinitely, with firms known to pursue “debtors” ruthlessly. This leaves some pensioners forced to pay fees until they die, even if they are too old or ill to use their holiday properties.
Stephen Boyd, a partner at law firm Athena, who deals exclusively with timeshare disputes, said: “The more aggressive resorts will try to pursue an estate for money and might employ debt collectors who can make your life miserable if they get your phone number.”
Affected timeshare owners should write to any debt collection companies that contact them and inform them the debt is disputed. “They will often close their files and leave you alone. If clients have a legitimate dispute they shouldn’t be afraid of debt collectors.”
Mr Boyd, who deals with around 40 timeshare complaints at any given time, said one client with Alzheimer’s was being forced to pay for his timeshare even though he could not travel abroad.
“You think you’re buying something to ensure reasonably priced holidays for life. Instead you end up paying escalating fees for life,” he said.
'We won a "free" holiday but it actually cost us £2,000'
The offer of a free holiday from a stranger abroad should normally ring alarm bells.
But when an official claiming to be from the “tourist board” approached Bob and Shelley Cartman while they were holidaying in Tenerife in 2012, their trusting instincts got the better of them.
Mr Cartman, who is 69 and retired, was offered a free bottle of wine, but his wife, 60, “won” a grand prize – a week’s free holiday “anywhere in the world”.
They were persuaded to visit a resort called Grand Holidays Club, a well-known company in Tenerife that targets British tourists in an attempt to sign them up to costly timeshare agreements.
After being locked in a room for more than four hours, they paid €2,800 (£1,995) for a “trial” timeshare to provide them with a holiday anywhere in the world – even during the school holidays – for just £99 a week. But these bargain-priced holidays failed to materialise and by 2013 the couple had given up their investment as a lost cause.
hi .does anyone know of anyone that does car rentals on the urb needed ASAP,,and phone number.THANKS
I'm due to Stay on the urb mid May, And was wondering if anyone knows if the swimming pool will be open then? Can't seem to find any email address. As I remember its the pool near the satellite roundabout.
Thanks in advance,
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I live in Quesada and every now and then there are massive bangs... sounds like mortar guns they shake the hose they are so loud!
I know they have festivals here but these bangs don't coincide with festivals! Any ideas what the bangs are and why they do it? It's like dynamite going off
Smoking at bars and cafes in the urbanization. Is it not a law regulating where smoking is forbidden? A matter for Policia Local?
It is in the U.K as we all know does that not mean its a E.U law and so should be the same in Spain? Anyone know?
Well it should be as far as I am concerned, people that smoke are not only killing them selves but those around them.
All in all is a very silly thing to do.
a friend of mine died at the age of 93... he smoked all his life and had 2 pints every day before he passed away... live and let live...
And one person survived when jumping from an airplane without a functioning parachute. So why use a parachute? Unnecessary cost.
Two women have been arrested and charged by the Guardia Civil for blackmail and threatening behaviour after they extracted over 90,000 euros from a resident of San Miguel de la Salinas.
The man had paid one of the women, a 32-year old Romanian, for sex, over 12 months ago, since which time she had been threatening him. Either he paid her money or she told his wife that she was a prostitute who had regularly been providing her husband with sex.
He chose the former and in the ensuing period he is understood to have given the woman two cars and over 90,000 euros in cash.
The man met the prostitute, a hostess in a Torrevieja club in December 2016. Apparently, he had several sexual encounters with her.
Everything seemed to go well until she began asking for large amounts of money in exchange for her silence. The first time was 40,000 euros. The man agreed and made the payment through the prostitute’s bank account. He thought that would be an end to the situation, but he was wrong.
Shortly afterwards she demanded another 25,000 euros. On that occasion, it was not to her bank account, but to that of a male relative. Once again the sanmiguelero agreed to the request and paid for her silence, but it did not work either. The woman asked again for another 25,000 euros and this time she wanted it paid in cash. She also asked for two cars which he gave to he and never saw again.
With the situation having gone on for over a year the man finally chose to denounce the situation to the San Miguel Guardia Civil who opened their investigation in December 2017. They found that it was not one but two women who have been pocketing the cash, the Romanian and her 36-year old Bosnian friend.
Both were subsequently arrested and charged with crimes of extortion and threatening behaviour. The two women appeared in court last week but after being charged the pair were released and are now awaiting trial.
Where is the best place to buy indian spices in bulk around Catral please
I was watching a program on T.V called something like “bargin lovin Brits” I will leave you to work out what it was about.
Well they showed 2 ladies out side the little English Shop by the petrol station near the arches, in Quesada, they had set up a little sample table of Indian food which they sold in pre made up kits, it had all the spices in so you could cook it yourself at home.
They Said they had started the business because it was so hard to get spices in Spain, if you can track them down then I am sure they can help you.
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A serious matter!!!
Completion of ambulance service
admin | March 16, 2018
ATTENTION: INFORMATION NOTE
Being scheduled date of March 15, 2018 the completion of the current contract ambulance service between the City Council and the company Hospimar 2000 SL
does not constitute a subject that service those provided by Article 25.2 of Law 7/1985 of 2 April regulating the Local Regime, as amended by the Act Streamlining and Sustainability of Local government, including municipalities exercise own competences in terms of state and regional legislation, having nature of competition City Council delegated to other public administration, and still under the same simultaneous provision by other public administration.
Attended the background and exposed legal bases, hereby communicates the completion of ambulance service that until this moment had contracted with the company Hospimar 2000 SL
• Emergency Coordination Center: 112
• Local Police San Fulgencio:
• 966 794 453/696 465 481/608 493 553 (Office)