More timeshare trouble in Spain

Thousands of British timeshare owners are about to lose their timeshares as Silverpoint Vacations (known for their hotels Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Heights, Hollywood Mirage, Palm Beach Tenerife and the vacation club Club Paradiso) has just filed for bankruptcy. Many of those affected bought into the traditional timeshare model but the company also created other types of vacation deals in an attempt to avoid timeshare regulations.  
Robert Lindgren of Spanish law firm LR Lawyers, who regularly handles claims on behalf of timeshare owners, says “some of the new inventive vacation deals are fraudulent and deeply dishonest”. He gives one example of a deal in which you purchase an apartment in one of the Silverpoint Vacations hotel buildings, pay the whole purchase price up front – up to £170,000 – with a promise to receive the deed to the property three years later. However, Silverpoint was not the owner of the apartments which it sold and therefore the buyers are unlikely to ever receive the deeds to their properties. Mr Lindgren has a large number of clients who invested in this deal but now the bankruptcy filing has complicated the situation. Other customers have bought into the same type of deal but from other companies which have not yet filed for bankruptcy. 
There is another type of scheme in which the customers purchase shares in a Spanish limited liability company which owns ‘holiday certificates’ issued by Silverpoint. These certificates and therefore the shares are now quite likely worthless. To add insult to injury, some of the managers behind Silverpoint and other schemes have already set up new companies offering similar deals to a new wave of customers.  
British investors have bought around 40% of all European timeshares and around half of these British-owned timeshares are in Spain – more than 300,000 in total. Many owners are burdened with contracts for life and annual maintenance fees which are spiralling out of control. However, these owners are generally unaware that many contracts are illegal and that these contracts can be declared null and void. There are many instances of people who annulled their contracts and got some or all of their investment and fees back. 
However, the unscrupulous timeshare operators never miss a trick. The very salesmen who once sold these illegal deals to the public are using their list of customers to contact the owners and to offer legal advice for high fees without having any legal qualification. In some cases, these salesmen simply take payment and do nothing. As Mr. Lindgren advises “if someone cold calls with the information that you own a timeshare and tries to charge you for legal advice, do not sign up with them – it is most likely not a qualified lawyer contacting you”.  

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