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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69259
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am trapped into a Timeshare contract freehold in perpetuity

Customer Question

I am trapped into a Timeshare contract freehold in perpetuity of which I should have received the deed on full payment, this is stated on the contract but never happened.
I have owned the the Timeshare since 1995 but only used twice due to the swap system being almost impossible to travel to a destination of choice,this being totally contrary to the sales pitch.
At the moment I am in arrears with the maintenance payments and have tried offering the company a payment to surrender my ownership which they have refused.
The company is Spanish and the resort is in lanzerote.
Could there be some way to be rid of this millstone or am I stuck with this for all time.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

You probably already know that timeshare is now a bad deal. The maintenance fees can spiral out of control at an alarming rate and they are hard to escape.

While many organisations offer a painless escape the truth is that there are really only three options and none of them are anything like painless unfortunately.

The first is to sell to another consumer. That can happen sometimes and if it does then thats wonderful. However, demand for timeshare is at an all time low. Its quite unlikely you will find another consumer as this is really just a debt. Its difficult even to give these weeks away. You might try something like an Ebay listing. Or you could try an honest resale broker. Do remember that from the 23 February 2011 though it is a criminal offence for a resale broker to take any money, for any purpose, from a seller until the sale has been completed.

The second is to hand the ownership back to the resort of the club. A small number of resorts will not offer their owners the right to terminate ownership at no cost or a small one. Commonly this is called an exit programme.

The third – and this seems the most popular – is simply to walk away and refuse to pay the annual fees. This is actually a surprisingly effective method although it is not painless. Generally the timeshare company will threaten to take defaulters to court. For the most part they do not. Sometimes when they do some owners have defended claims on the basis that there was a misrepresentation at the point of sale. Also it can be argued that the original contract is null and void as its outside of the jurisdiction. There is, however, a risk you would have to go to court over this.

Sorry this is probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to advise you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

How much would the court costs amount to, and is there a legal representative you could recommend.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It depends in which jurisdiction they sue.

But probably even in Spain they have an equivalent to the small claims court so it won't be a lot.

I wouldn't use solicitors though. That will just rack up the costs.

There have been class actions against time share companies but they don't seem to be happening much now.

The truth is that your best chance is that they just won't sue. If they do then you will have to defend the matter but I wouldn't incur any costs until that time.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69259
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello thanks for your comments, I think you may be right about walking away but the company has employed a debt recovery firm Daniels Silverman to pursue their claim. I expect this may lead to some sort of court proceedings against me, will I be allowed to contest this and on what grounds or will this just be seen as a bad debt which requires payment.

Unfortunately they seem to be in a hurry to receive the payment in full within seven days, its not a huge amount but I feel due to the refusal of my surrender offer of Eu 2,677.89 and the debt total is Eu 3,260.85 they seem unreasonable.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
The fact they are using debt collectors doesn't mean they will sue. All debt collectors do is harass you for the money.

But yes you could contest it. Really as I said above, jurisdiction and misrepresentation.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Can I choose the court location for example in England, and would the court accept my case in writing or in person.

My expectation is I will require some legal representation, but if its simply an appearance to explain my case will I need to employ such a person.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

They will sue whereever they choose but unless they issue in the UK it would be hard to enforce.

Representation is always better but you can deal with it yourself.

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