The idea of leaving children with a cherished timeshare – the scene of many happy family holidays – as an inheritance gift is one that many owners have in the back of their minds when they buy a timeshare. However, times change and families grow up, leaving many of those in later life who own timeshares seeking ways to rid themselves of their timeshares instead. For many, the financial burden of ownership has become so great that the last thing they would wish is for their children to have to deal with owning the timeshare.
‘In perpetuity’ contracts have no end date – they are literally forever. Even the original signatories passing away doesn’t stand in the way of the agreement, if there are children to inherit it. This situation means that many pensioners who own timeshares are in a vulnerable position, as their desire to get rid of a no-longer-affordable timeshare before their children end up stuck with it may cloud their judgement.
This is precisely what happened in the case of one pensioner from Portsmouth, who bought a Spanish timeshare in 2000 from Club La Costa. After many happy holidays, her three children had flown the nest. Meanwhile, the timeshare maintenance fees had risen to £1,500 per year.
The pensioner was keen to ensure that her children didn’t end up burdened with the in perpetuity contract. When she received an unsolicited call from RSB Legal, who advised they could help her to transfer or rescind her contract, she was keen to find out more. The firm even said she might be able to reclaim some of her maintenance fees, under a no-win, no-fee arrangement.
However, RSB Legal said that the pensioner would first need to get her name taken off the deeds. They recommended a firm of solicitors and asked for £1,000 as a deposit. The pensioner took out a loan to make the payment, which was followed by subsequent payments up to a total of £8,154. RSB Legal has since vanished into the ether, leaving nothing behind but a string of out-of-pocket pensioners – all of whom still hold the same in perpetuity timeshare contracts that made them vulnerable to the fraudsters in the first place.
Sadly, it’s a situation that the experts at ABC Lawyers have come across more than once.
“Timeshare fraudsters can be incredibly adept at persuading their victims to part with their money. They play on owners’ desperation to rid themselves of their timeshares at all costs, using that to hide their real intentions until it is too late. There are actually legal, workable alternatives for in perpetuity contract holders, but many of those owners aren’t aware of that fact.”
Mark Rowe, Founder, ABC Lawyers
ABC Lawyers is working with clients to explain just what their options are. For in perpetuity contract holders, the outlook is positive. The Spanish supreme court has declared all timeshare contracts lasting longer than 50 years to be illegal and there is legal precedent for owners having their contracts declared void and being awarded compensation.
“While court action isn’t the fastest of options, it is a safe and legal way for timeshare owners to challenge the validity of their contracts. Owners just need to ensure that they use legitimate, reputable companies to support them through the process.”
Mark Rowe, Founder, ABC Lawyers
ABC Lawyers is a trading names of Advanced Business Consulting Legal SL.