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Illegality of timeshare contracts in Spain including Anfi Group

Timeshare-Market.de in German & English language has about 1,000 registered users in Europe, mainly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Benelux. Each year there are up to 400 advertisements for rental and resell, most for Anfi weeks. Many users, also non-registered visitors, rent their weeks in our market. Many Norwegian Anfi members rent and buy additional weeks here.

A question often asked by users of our market is about illegality of contracts in Spain and the possibility to declare such contracts at court null and void to get the purchase payment and more back.

The overwhelming majority of members is happy with their using right and enjoy the resort. It is not the intention to suggest them to sue Anfi.

At beginning of 2015 there were two remarkable verdicts of the Supreme Court in Madrid declaring in-perpetuity contracts and floating week contracts without reference to the inventory as illegal with great impact to the timeshare industry. This applies to all contracts signed after 5th January 1999 when the Spanish timeshare law 42/1998 came into force. The same is true for all contracts signed after 7th July 2012 when the timeshare law 08/2012 came into force.

According to this laws (1) the duration of contracts must be limited to maximum 50 years, (2) floating week contracts must show the week and apartment number, (3) and payments are allowed only 3 month after signing the contract. Even more any payment made within 3 month after signing the contract can be requested back double according to a civil sanction clause in this laws. The amount of legal costs is reimbursed depending on the case and verdict.

Contracts signed before 5th January 1999 can be declared null & void as well, but not as above but for violating the Consumer Rights law in Spain. Double amounts of payments can´t be claimed back as with contracts under law 42/1998 and 08/2012.

After this landmark verdicts there was a series of further Supreme Court verdicts against Anfi Group (Resorts Anfi del Mar and Tauro) declaring contracts for the reasons given above null and void including illegal deposits over third parties. Also a recent verdict in March 2016 confirmed that Anfi floating week contracts are too illegal. Several statements given by Anfi Group to their members, statements of RDO (Resort Development Organisation) and many court trials and appeals did not change this. The Supreme Court rulings have created the necessary security in the interpretation of the law and the resorts have to follow it.

Though the legalisation of illegal contract is an open issue all this does not mean that "happy" members with illegal contracts cannot use their using rights because Anfi tolerates this contracts. The contract is only null and void if the court declares it. In this case the member gets up to double of the purchase payment back including compound interest since the day of application. If the maintenance fee can also be reimbursed is for the time being an open question to be decided by court.

Whereas the overwhelming majority of members are happy with the resort and are able to afford the maintenance cost there are many other members who want to end their membership for various reasons. This are age, illness, divorce, death of partner, unemployment, unable to travel and so on. For this members the best solution would be a resell program by the resort to buy the weeks back for a reasonable price. But resorts are legally not obliged to do so and if they do then only for much less money than the purchase price. Or they take the weeks back for null Euro which is found by most members to be unacceptable, especially because the resort sells the weeks for a high price over and over again.

For all this reasons there are since spring 2015 hundreds of lawsuits against Anfi Group and against many more other timeshare resorts in Spain.

The information above is the current state and I will keep it up to date. Because the matter is highly complex only the main facts are mentioned.

If you want more information, advice about the status of your contract, you can contact me, see the contact site.