Advice on Timeshare Legal Advice

Latest claims (and insolvency) news

The latest news has come from the court-appointed Insolvency Practitioner firm (RD Asesores) that is managing the Club La Costa (CLC) insolvency in Spain. They describe Spanish Mercantile Court decisions which affect claims against CLC, saying “The mercantile court dismisses the nullity claims against Club La Costa on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction” The full article can be read on their website here.

This news and the various comments being made about it online and in cold calls and emails, emphasises the need for timeshare owners to be very diligent in any legal matters. Within the legal and regulatory systems, there are many complexities and permutations, including laws and regulations that may only apply to certain countries / jurisdiction issues, statutes of limitations that may prevent older claims and appeals processes, which may reverse previous court and regulatory decisions. Even in the case of a Supreme Court decision, where a legal precedent is set, it is essential to obtain a written assessment from qualified, regulated experts about your specific case.

Thousands of owners are being cold-called, with offers of claims and exit services – but these calls do not come from compliant regulated businesses or qualified people – and in almost all cases, the callers should not be in possession of the personal data of owners. Many cite bogus court cases or distort the circumstances of genuine cases.

The online adverts and websites of businesses offering timeshare exit & claims services are littered with phrases that are often false and misleading, including

  • Frequent references to ‘lawyers’ and ‘solicitors’. Remarkably, a business does not even have to have legally qualified people to use the word ‘lawyers’ within their description.
  • Using ‘Brexit ‘ to put pressure on owners to act immediately.
  • Telling owners they are on a ‘timeshare owners register’.
  • Telling owners that have previously relinquished their timeshares that they are still liable and need to pay fees to ‘legally complete’ relinquishment.
  • Stating that owners cannot exit directly with their timeshare companies.

Our recommendation for seeking clarification and legal advice is as follows

• Do not engage with any cold callers – they are almost certainly breaching your data protection rights and are not qualified to advise you.

• Do not engage with unregulated ‘intermediaries’ or salespeople – make it clear you will only accept advice from a regulated, qualified person.

Ask for everything in writing – no matter who you are dealing with

Ask the people you are in contact with to provide the following in writing. Ensure you do this prior to signing any contract or paying any monies.

  • Proof of their identity (many use false names).
  • Links to their regulatory authority and professional qualifications.
  • A comprehensive description of what services they will provide, and precisely who will provide them.
  • An initial written viability report for your case specifically that states the legal basis of any action, the processes involved, the likely time it will take, the likelihood of success, the risks involved and of course, full disclosure of fees.
  • Ask what effect the insolvency of the business you are claiming against may have?
  • Ask them to advise you of any possible alternative options you may take – for example, direct exit options from your timeshare company or direct assistance on UK financial claims from the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Be particularly vigilant about businesses offering to recover monies lost to previous scams

‘Recovery fraud’ scams are very common and very nasty – taking monies from people that have already suffered substantial losses. Action Fraud has recently issued updated advice on fraud affecting timeshare owners – see article:

If in any doubt

If in doubt, there are official, free services that are available, such as

Citizens Advice in the UK

The European Consumer Centre Network for EU countries

The UK Financial Ombudsman Service (for advice on claims related to loans and payments that were made by credit card)