In a groundbreaking ruling, a British woman has won her case against the notorious timeshare developer and global leisure brand Silverpoint. The woman, who had invested £26,640 into a timeshare at the company’s Club Paradiso, went through a six-year legal battle against the holiday club.

Silverpoint has been linked to Resort Properties which has been accused of selling unlawful contracts in Spain. Ironically, it is also a member of timeshare association TATOC, an organisation that claims to uphold industry standards while working in the best interests of the resort operators and consumer owners.

The Background

In 2009, a woman accepted what she thought was free holiday accommodation on the promise that she and a friend would spend half a day with the resort’s properties sales team. This “short presentation” turned into an intense sales pitch, despite her telling the team that she was not interested in a timeshare holiday, and was instead, seeking an investment opportunity.

During this pitch, she was assured that the purchase was not a standard timeshare – which she believed to be a bad investment – but was, in fact, a great opportunity which would deliver spectacular returns. She was also told that her investment would increase in value over the next three years.

However, while she received a cheque for £1,800 in the first 18 months following her purchase, the promised returns failed to materialise. Instead, she was informed that she would have to take holidays instead of receiving the promised return. To make matters worse, she was also told that she would have to fork out over £500 in annual maintenance fees for the next 50 years. Despite the fact that by this time, the woman would be over 110-years-old!

The Case

In response, the woman took Silverpoint to court on the basis that she felt that she had been lied to and that the investment was misrepresented and that there had been breaches of Spanish Law 42/98.

While her initial case against the timeshare operator was successful – with the judge finding that there had been breaches of Spanish Law – Silverpoint successfully appealed this ruling. Silverpoint argued that agreements relating to Club Paradiso did not fall under timeshare legislation, as there was no particular apartment or holiday week allocated. They also argued that, as she bought the property as an investor, not a consumer, she was not protected by consumer rights.

Undeterred, the woman then took her case to the Supreme Court which found that the sale did indeed fall under the Spanish Timeshare Act and as such, there should have been a clear description of the product. The Court also stated that it believed Silverpoint to be guilty of trying to circumvent laws relating to such agreements.

What now?

At Athena, we welcome the Supreme Court ruling – which is a win for consumer rights – and which is a landmark victory for many people trapped in unwanted timeshares.

Going forward this decision means that law relating to timeshare protection does not just apply to the traditional fixed week timeshare products, but also extends to membership in holiday clubs which involve booking accommodation through reservation systems using an allocation of annual points.

This decision will, therefore, not only be of interest to consumers that purchased a timeshare or long-term holiday product from Silverpoint, but will also be of interest to people who have bought similar products from other developers such as Diamond Resorts and Club La Costa.

At Athena Law, we have helped many clients who have complained about being sold timeshare contracts as “an investment”. They then found out that they could not sell these investments and instead found themselves locked into a long-term liability for escalating maintenance fees.

If you have found this article interesting and would like to learn more about how Athena Law can help you, please feel free to contact the writer, Stephen Boyd, at stephen.boyd@athlaw.co.uk. Alternatively, you can request a fact-finding questionnaire via Athena’s timeshare website: www.timeshare-solicitor.co.uk