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Cancel your Vacation Club contract and get a Refund

· Timeshare claims specialist ·

How to cancel Marriott timeshare

Juan Carlos Vila Marcos

Lawyer specialised in timeshare claims

More than 25 years of experience in the legal profession:

More than €1,300 000 recovered!

Marriott Vacation Club have three resorts in Spain. One in Marbella, one in Estepona and one on the Spanish island of Mallorca. They are luxury five-star resorts, and can offer great holidays if you can book, but most clients can’t book because they have illegally over sold units that they do not have…

JC Vila, Lawyer specialised in timeshare claims
Photo of the Marriott Marbella urbanization

Marriott Marbella Timeshare Case

Summary of this timeshare case against Marriott Marbella.

To find out if you are in the same situation as our clients who we have helped to recover their money, I invite you to read the following case, in which our client bought a timeshare at the Marriott Marbella Resort, a luxury resort, in 2004.

Marriott sold him Timeshare weeks known as “floating” weeks, in other words, without allocating a specific room or set date of arrival each year when using the timeshare. Also, the timeshare contract was for a duration of more than 50 years, so our client, in this case, would have to be paying really high maintenance fees his entire life.

Furthermore, Marriott Marbella charged him the price of the timeshare within the legal period of time that buyers have to withdraw from the contract, which is prohibited by Law 42/1998 of timeshare. The client appointed the Law Firm JC Vila, and we took the case to court to report all the illegal parts of the Marriott Marbella timeshare contract to the judge.

The court agreed with us and said that the timeshare contract was not valid, ordering Marriott Marbella to refund the money paid by the client for the purchase. Marriott will have to refund the money with interest from the time the contract was signed and since that was 19 years ago, this will be a large amount.

Marriotts will not only be required to refund all of the money paid, they will also have to pay our client more in compensation. As required by law, they must pay DOUBLE to the client because that is the punishment for not respecting the period of time any buyer has to freely withdraw from the timeshare (not respecting the cooling off period).

The law says that, in the sale of these special products such as timeshare weeks, the buyer must not pay a single euro until the “cooling off period” has ended, that can exceed three months. Is that a problem for Marriott or other resorts? Yes, a huge problem! No, client would willingly buy the timeshare, the sale of timeshare weeks would be impossible if a client is given enough time to analyse what they are buying and realise that they are going to be contracted to pay €40,000 or €40 or even €10 for an annual holiday week in the month or week that Marriott chooses and in the apartment that Marriott decides, as well as paying a maintenance fee higher than the price of staying for a week in the hotel without owning the Timeshare.

Photo of an apartment in the Marriott Marbella urbanization

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

Our client was interested in a timeshare at Marriott’s Vacation Club de Marbella.

First of all, we must say that all our clients have always praised the resort and management of Marriott for the facilities and services provided at these Marriott Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Marriott Playa Andaluza resorts. They tell us that its location is spectacular, in privileged areas by the sea, the common areas are magnificent and the apartments can be described as luxury. Also, the staff are wonderful and the attention they offer to guests is excellent.

Aerial view of the Marriott Marbella urbanization

However, the problem begins in the process of selling the timeshare weeks by Marriott and continues when the maintenance fee bill arrives and it becomes unbearable when the buyer realises that it is impossible to reserve the week that they “think” they bought.

Marriott Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Playa Andaluza all have the same contract and can be claimed upon. However, our client bought the timeshare week at Marriott´s Marbella, after having stayed at the Hotel as a tourist for several days and having experienced the quality of the rooms, facilities and services etc.

In other cases, the client receives a personal invitation for free accommodation on the condition that they attend a “presentation”. This is a meeting in which they will try to sell the timeshare week to the client. If they decline to attend, they will be charged the full fee. The following paragraph was taken from a typical “invitation” letter sent to a French client of ours.

Text of the personal invitation for free accommodation with the condition of attending a "presentation" that the client receives
Advertising flyer of the personal invitation for free accommodation with the condition of attending a "presentation" that the client receives
When the guest of the Marriott´s Marbella, Son Antem and Playa Andaluza resorts can personally verify the high quality of the facilities and services, it is easy for them to be interested in requesting and receiving information about the advantages of buying a timeshare instead of staying in the hotel from time to time like any other another hotel guest as a tourist or normal traveller.
Agent informing customers at the "must meet". How to cancel Marriott timeshare

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

The marketing of the timeshare.
The presentation (“sales presentation”).

As soon as our client showed an interest in buying the Marriotts Vacation Club timeshare, he was quickly invited to go to a meeting or sales presentation. These presentations are the key to the timeshare industry.

Timeshare sales procedures consist of a very elaborate strategy, whereby the client’s personal trust is won by taking an interest in their private life, knowing their tastes, talking about supposedly common pastimes, inviting them for a meal or giving them small gifts, and showing them a show flat as an example. The clients are led to believe that this show flat will be similar to the one given to them during their holiday if they buy a Timeshare. However, they rarely are the same.

The client is first taken to a place that has an atmosphere designed to put the clients at complete ease and to lull them into a false sense of security where they then will listen to long and tiring demonstration sessions with images, videos and fabricated descriptions of the holiday experience. Sometimes they give the clients alcohol to impair their judgement and decision-making abilities before they show them inaccurate financial calculations. Each resort has its own techniques and maybe the ones described here are not exactly the ones used by Marriott Marbella, Marriott Son Antem o Playa Andaluza when it markets its timeshare weeks.

Some resorts are more aggressive than others in their timeshare marketing scheme, but in general the objective is to deliberately affect the consumer’s ability to think, even to subtly intimidate them by pressuring them to accept, tiring them out and making them feel uncomfortable if, after so many explanations about the system’s benefits, they do not immediately sign the contract. A perfectly structured “sales team” takes part in the marketing of the timeshare and is made up of several agents each with specific objectives in the process.

There is one to capture the client, another to win their trust, a “team leader,” another who explains the product, another who checks the contractual and administrative details and another one who closes the final deal with the signing of the contract and documents.

Entrance to the urbanization Marriott Marbella

The important thing is not to give the timeshare buyer even one minute to think, since if the sales person, the one who won the trust for example by inviting them to have breakfast with his own family, does not get the signature immediately, he is replaced in seconds by a supposed “boss,” who has a different attitude and shames clients for their lack of vision in not buying a service that will definitely make them happy, or by making them feel small for not being able to make this small investment, or suggesting they are foolish because they don’t seem to understand how lucky they are to have the chance to accept this offer, or telling them that it is the last unit for sale and they either get it now or another smarter client will get it in a matter of minutes.

In some cases, the salesperson would receive a supposed phone call announcing that the penultimate available week had just been sold at that very moment and only the one being offered to the client at that moment remained.

(Follow my grandfather’s advice and don’t buy anything from anyone who makes it a condition to make the decision now so as not to lose the opportunity. No matter how cheap it may seem).

Hands handing over keys to another hand

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

The “free” exchange of timeshare around the world.

One of the supposed benefits of the timeshare system is that, in theory, it is possible to exchange holidays in any other part of the world, with total freedom and practically free of charge. But this is absolutely not true.

Any timeshare owner who wants to take part in the exchange system and exchange their holiday week have to deposit their timeshare in a common exchange or fund organised by a company (the largest ones are RCI or Interval) so that all participants can share their timeshare and choose the place and week that interests them.

The timeshare owner will have to pay an annual fee to the organiser for permission to take part in the exchange system and each time an exchange is made, they will have to pay an additional fee called an admin fee or booking fee.

But the organiser of the system, for example RCI or Interval, has total control of the weeks deposited and reserves the right to offer the general public whichever ones it wants. In other words, it does not have to offer all the weeks that have been deposited by timeshare owners.

The result is that the organiser reserves for itself the best timeshare weeks in the best seasons and the best destinations and uses them for its own purposes (renting, commitments, etc.) and normal users never have access to them.

The largest organiser of timeshare exchange in the world, RCI, has already been sued in the United States in what is called a “class action” where thousands of clients joined together to claim huge compensation in a collective lawsuit against RCI.

Another problem is that holidays have to be booked a very long time in advance, 13 months to two years, which forces the timeshare client to make long-term plans, which is practically impossible to do.

Hands counting a lot of money in foreign currency

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

The timeshare: “easily” get your money back by selling it.

Another common trick that the resort salesperson often tries, is to convince the client that the product or service they purchase is an investment and potentially will go up in value which certainly is a trick or lie because Timeshare products rarely ever go up in value.

The consumer thinks that they can easily get the money invested in the timeshare back, whether this is because there are a large number of people interested in paying for access to this wonderful holiday system, or because the company can buy it back when the time comes.

So, even if the buyer eventually thinks the service is very expensive, they think that as soon as they want to get rid of the timeshare, it will be taken off their hands and they will get the same amount that they paid or more.

The sad reality is that it is worth nothing because no one willingly buys timeshare. Timeshare in only purchased when the client is pressurised in to doing so by the salesperson using very aggressive sales techniques.

If you (the owner of the week) decided to put it up for sale, you would usually notify Marriott so they can put you on a waiting list for an interested buyer. However, soon afterward you would get an email from Marriott telling you that the waiting list is YEARS long and that there are HUNDREDS of vendors ahead of you (we have an email from MVCI Europe Resales from April 2018 telling the owner of the week interested in selling it “the waitlist goes back to the year 2006 and has hundreds of owners on it for this inventory type”). They would also tell you that you can try to sell the timeshare on the free market but they won’t tell you that the sale price is around two or three thousand euros (nor will they tell you that Marriott will charge a €500 change of ownership fee). Ultimately, they will offer you the only real alternative: return the week to Marriott for NOTHING. No, this is not a joke. See the document below that they use for this purpose:

Document that MVCI Europe Resales uses to offer the client the only real alternative: return the week to Marriott for NOTHING.

Draw your own conclusions regarding this practice: Marriott sells the customer a service for many years for €20, €30 or €40,000 and, in addition, charges him annually whatever expenses the resort wants to charge in maintenance fees. And then Marriott offers to take back the timeshare in order to release the client from his/her obligations. The customer would lose the money paid to purchase the timeshare, and lose the timeshare in order to escape the burden of the ongoing annual expenses.

Thus, Marriott will neither buy back the week nor will any individual want it, even for free, because they will perceive it as getting into a trap. Just look at the ads on the internet where all kinds of timeshares are offered for sale at ridiculously low prices. Type in to Google “sell week Marriott Marbella” and you will find offers to buy a week for as little as €1,000.

Hands counting many 50 euro bills

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

Timeshare maintenance fees.

The timeshare sales agent never mentions the maintenance fees for the timeshare week they are selling. At the most, they will talk about small annual payments that are used to cover expenses for use and that go up gradually. But this will be one of the timeshare owner’s main complaints.

Old Law 42/1998 and current Law 4/2012 on timeshare s set out that the maintenance fees could never rise above the annual consumer price index so that timeshare buyers were protected from abuse by this sector.

But in practice, resorts increase them all they want. They say they do it according to the resort’s needs and to take care of the timeshare, but they actually do it whenever they want without anyone being able to control why they increase so much.

One timeshare week at Marriott Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Playa Andaluza pays around €1,300 a year in maintenance fees. It is true that it is a luxury, high quality hotel, but how do we explain that it, in theory, charges 52 x €1,300 = €67,600 a year in maintenance expenses for each flat?

The answer could be that the maintenance fees include expenses for the magnificent common amenities, gardens and swimming pools, but if we multiply this by 300 rooms, we get maintenance expenses of €20,280,000 a year, which is absurd.

In any case, the timeshare client has to pay the maintenance fees whether they want to or not because the law gave hotels the possibility to demand those maintenance fees as if they were community fees for any community of owner’s residence.

You can see that the timeshare law says in Article 31 that the resort can demand the fees using “the executive procedures that Law 49/1960 of 21st July on Community of Owners allows it to use on the community of property owners to demand the fees for common expenses.”

Even if the timeshare owner thinks they can refuse to pay the maintenance fees if they are higher than the consumer price index, they actually can’t because they would have had to legally challenge the budget that increases the fee by 10% or 20%.

Is any client really going to go to Marbella’s courts to sue Marriott´s Marbella or to go to Mallorca to sue Marriott Son Antem so that they lower the fee amount? Or is any client going to travel to the Canary Islands to sue Club Anfi timeshare to challenging the document that approved the budget?

Some timeshare owners think that if they don’t pay the maintenance fees they will lose the timeshare. They think it’s that simple and that to forget about the timeshare, all they have to do is stop paying and they can say goodbye to the problem. But this is not correct. In fact, it would be a serious mistake to assume this. The resort not only has the option to take the timeshare back whenever the maintenance fees are not paid, but also has the option to force the client to pay the back maintenance fees by taking the client to court.

Obviously, the maintenance company will always opt to claim the fees in court because it only has to let 3 or 4 years of debt accumulate for it to be worthwhile to sue the timeshare owner for not paying the fees and it will win the claim if the fees were not legally challenged years earlier.

This is where the timeshare owner will realise that they have fallen into a nasty trap because, as we have said, they can’t sell the Timeshare, cancel it or get rid of it so the timeshare is theirs for life and will also become the responsibility of their heirs and executors after death, as we explain below. Also as time passes and the building gets older, more has to be spent on maintaining it by spreading the fees among all the timeshare owners.

Then, the icing on the cake is that if the maintenance budget for a single room is divided by 52 weeks, what happens if 20 timeshare owners stop paying because some have died, others have gone to a different country and can’t be found and others have filed a legal claim that has cancelled their timeshare contract?

Obviously, the maintenance budget for the flat will go up because now it will have to be split between the remaining 32 timeshare owners instead of the original 52. That is what has happened with our client now that he has won his case against Marriott Marbella. There are now no longer 52 owners paying, there is now 51 because our client’s timeshare contract has been cancelled.

hands with wrist watch

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

The duration of the timeshare.

When the timeshare sales agent markets or pitches the timeshare, he or she does not warn the purchaser that they will own the timeshare for life. This is the case when the vendor follows the law and offers the maximum legal duration of 50 years, but it is also the case for other limited periods of time. And in the best-case scenario, if the timeshare buyer purchases it knowing that it is forever, they do so wrongly believing that they can resell their timeshare week whenever they want, or cancel it by talking to the hotel or resort, or that by stopping payment of the maintenance fees, they can get rid of the timeshare.

None of those things will happen: we have already said that the timeshare can’t be resold because nobody will want to buy it and the timeshare owner will not be able to ask the hotel or resort to cancel it because the hotel or resort does not want to stop receiving the high maintenance fees, which are lucrative to the resort. The timeshare owner also can’t stop paying the maintenance fees because they would be sued in court. So, in short, the timeshare owner is trapped.

Trapped because they have a timeshare that 4 or 5 years after they bought it, they no longer want, enjoy or are interested in, but they have to keep paying the maintenance fees that keep going up for life. And the worst part of all of this is that once the timeshare owner has come to terms with this trap, they then hear the rumour that the responsibility and the annual maintenance fees will be passed onto their heirs when they are dead. Could this be right?

The timeshare, like any other property or right, will eventually belong to the person who inherits or receives the dead person’s estate. And we all know that an heir cannot choose a part of the inherited estate and turn down a part that they do not want. It’s all or nothing.

A different matter is whether it is practical or appropriate for the resort to demand maintenance fees from a timeshare owner’s children, but we have documents of specific cases where the owner is expressly warned that their heirs will take on the obligation to continue paying for the timeshare.

The section we include below is from a letter sent to another client of ours by a large timeshare chain (NOT Marriott).
Section of a letter sent to another client of ours by a large timeshare chain (NOT Marriott).
Easy to make wooden puzzle with the drawing of a house

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

The timeshare system: fixed, floating, by points, fractional.

Marriott´s Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Marriott Playa Andaluza sold our clients a timeshare in the system they call “floating” weeks.

With the fixed week system, the owner can use the timeshare on a certain week of the year in a specific flat in the building. With this timeshare system, the owner knows exactly which day their timeshare holiday starts and exactly which day it ends, as well as the room they are in and it does not change.

So, the client does not even need to book a timeshare week because as the timeshare owner he/she already has it assigned to them until the end of their contract, whether they use it or not. They may come to an agreement with the hotel to change the date or the room, or to let the hotel rent it for the year the timeshare owner does not use it. But, in principle, the week they bought is the one they can use.

But with the ‘floating week’ timeshare system that are sold by Marriott´s Marbella, Son Antem and Playa Andaluza that they call “gold weeks,” and “platinum weeks,” etc. are a week’s stay without an assigned week of the year or an assigned apartment. Therefore, each year, the owner of these floating weeks must contact the hotel reservation desk and it is the hotel that decides which week the client will have for their holiday and in which room they will stay.

To begin with, it will have the inconvenience that vacations have to be booked an incredible 13 months in advance, forcing the timeshare client to make almost impossible long-term forecasts. One of the most common complaints from Marriott customers is difficulty making reservations. They have to telephone a central office in Ireland on the same day that the 13-month notice period begins. When they do manage to make contact, they are invariably told that the week they ask for in July or August is already booked and they are offered another in May or October.

Why is the entire reservation process by phone and never by email? Is it because Marriott doesn’t want to put on record the huge difference between what the customer requested and what Marriott offered?

With the ‘floating week’ system, the client can’t choose the holiday week or room in which they will stay, but depending on the colour of the timeshare they bought “gold week,” and “platinum week,” etc, the client can stay there in high, low or mid-season.

Why does Marriott´s Marbella, Son Antem and Playa Andaluza sell “gold” or “silver” or “platinum” week shifts?

For the simple reason that in this way they can sell many more than the theoretical 50 per year for each apartment, without being limited to transmitting the 50 weeks of a specific apartment to 50 different buyers, but they can sell them to 300 or 400 buyers without limit.

For example: The “Gold” period in the Marriott´s Marbella booking calendar includes from:

  • 18 March to 28 March.
  • 6 April to 23 May.
  • 10 June to 4 July.
  • 26 August to 10 October

In total, each “Gold” apartment has 19 weeks, but only has 3 weeks in June and 5 weeks between August 26 and the end of September.

The buyer is interested, like almost everyone else, in those two summer months of June and September and buys a “floating” week in the belief that he will have no problem booking any one of the 8 weeks in June or September because there are only 7 other buyers for that period. But he does not realize that 300 or 400 “floating” buyers also bought in those 8 weeks of June and September.

Once the first 8 reservations are made for those two months, the 200 “extra” buyers, who wanted the same 8 weeks in June and September, will be transferred to the months of March and October, without the possibility of complaint because their week is also “floating Gold” and that period includes March and October.

Little did the buyer think that the other buyers were also assured that they would have no problem booking one of the resort’s 200 apartments in one of the 8 available weeks, and little did he imagine that those 8 weeks were sold to over 3,000 buyers.

This is the MVCI Certificate on the sales of Marriott´s Marbella:

Summary of sales before 2001

The Resort, with 200 apartments, had 10,300 weeks and had already sold 9,629 before the year 2001. If the 4 summer months (June to September) have 16 weeks, the Resort “only” has 3,200 weeks available for those 4 months (200 x 16). Please ask yourself, how many of the buyers of the 9,629 weeks purchased thinking of enjoying one of the 3,200 summer weeks available at the Resort. 80%, 70%, 50%?

If we maintain that 70% of tourists choose Marbella for summer vacations and 30% for winter, the result is that Marriott sold 6,740 weeks, but only had an availability of 3,200. If we give Marriott the benefit of the doubt and maintain that 50% of tourists choose Marbella for summer vacations and 50% for winter (which is unreal), the result is that Marriott sold 4,814 but only had an availability of 3,200.

Also, keep in mind that in 2001 Marriott had sold 9,629 weeks out of 10,300 available. There is no doubt that in the last 20 years they have sold many more than the 671 weeks they had left. Maybe 20 times more. And it is not a problem for Marriott because this brutal “overbooking” is easily managed with a “floating” system in which clients will “voluntarily” stay in another resort when they are told that the one in Marbella has no availability.

But, while overbooking is legal in aviation (EC Regulation 261/2004) and airlines can sell more seats than are available in the confidence that not all travellers will show up, in timeshare it is illegal: because the “floating” week is a covert overbooking as the purchaser will voluntarily refuse to stay in October or March.

And the “floating” system is even more perverse because MVCI-Marriott “self-books” most weeks of the summer months to accommodate “passing through” or last-minute tourists who pay double. And that’s another reason for the “floating” week holder to be pushed to March or October without ever knowing if the summer weeks were actually booked by other owners. Your only remaining chance of not losing your vacation is to accept a week in June or September at another non-Marriott lodging (which Marriott will disguise as a voluntary exchange).

Finally, while timeshare buyers must agree to be accommodated where and when it suits the hotel without being able to protest, any accommodation is free for those who pay in cash (because if not, they leave). Search for Marriott´s Marbella or Son Antem or Playa Andaluza on booking.com and check that there is always availability.

Logically, it is much more profitable for a hotel to accommodate private clients in high season at street rates than timeshare owners who do not pay anything because they already did so when signing the contract many years before.

In other words: If the client paid Marriott´s Marbella (or Son Antem or Playa Andaluza) for the timeshare, in full in 2004, it will be more beneficial for the Resort to restrict the client’s accommodation to June or September, and leave the really strong months of July and August for passing clients, who pay in cash. The “floating” timeshare system is absolutely illegal in Spain and the signed contract is null and void.

Person requesting another person to sign a contract

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

The Timeshare pitch.

The client is never given any time between explaining what the timeshare is (the Sales Pitch) and when the contract is signed (no cooling off period). They subject the client to several hours of “brainwashing,” followed immediately by the signing of the contract without being able to think about what they have been listening to or being able to think over the extremely important financial commitment that the client is going to make.

At the end of the sales meeting, normally lasting several hours, the consumer signs the timeshare contract that is put in front of them without even reading it. They just want it to be over and be able to leave, so with the same trust that brought them to the “presentation,” they sign a binding contract, thinking that it includes the verbal promises that they have been given are included in the contract, in writing. What’s more, the rough draft documents and the timeshare contract are read to them by a supposed “sales agent/administrative employee” who only reads out the positive parts (keeping up with the illusion that has been created) and they do not read the negative parts (the parts that might put the client off signing).

The client signs it, agrees to pay or finance the price of the purchased timeshare and returns home in debt to the tune of hundreds of thousands of euros, without reading anything that they signed before signing it. Ultimately, it would be a serious mistake to underestimate the selling power of these tested marketing systems and to believe that only “foolish people” can fall for these traps or setups and end up buying the services that are laid out in these contracts which are deliberately written to be incomprehensible.

We insist that not even the smartest person would find it easy to escape from a timeshare presentation that takes 4 to 6 hours and includes videos, idyllic images and fantastic marketing projections, where they compare the sad life that the client had led until they arrived at the resort, faced with the prospect of a wonderful future at a modest cost that can always, always be recovered when they sell it.

The main trick of the “sales presentation” in the timeshare sale process is that what is offered “verbally” is not the same as with the Timeshare contract and documents that the client is made to sign. Likewise, the client has no real time to read the contract anyway (and they would not understand them even if they did).

Person signing a contract. How to cancel Marriott timeshare

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

Reality hits! The client slowly realises what impact the ‘Timeshare contract’ will have on them.

After signing the contract, over time, as and when the buyer tries to use the timeshare, the problems start to crop up. They of course, complain to the resort and receive a negative response to their complaints and to their requests. Eventually, they discover that the resort is always right, according to the written contract (which is quite different from what was promised verbally), and what they have bought is actually nothing like what they were led to believe they were buying.

While the customer service staff of Marriott´s Marbella, Marriott Son Antem or Playa Andaluza tell the client that the timeshare maintenance fees would increase according to the IPC, then in the contract it literally says that there may also be increases in the way in which they “consider to be necessary or desirable in order to meet the resort’s needs.”

When the client bought the timeshare, Marriott Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Playa Andaluza assured him that he could resell it at any time, even back to the hotel itself, and get all the money back, but the contract only says that Marriott Marbella “has the intention to set up a resale programme…” and that “this programme does not guarantee that the owner can resell their rights through this programme.”

In the Marriott Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Playa Andaluza timeshare sales process, the sales manager verbally assured the client that he will always be able to stay at the Marriotts Hotel in Marbella, but he later found out that the contract says that “they do not guarantee that the owner taking part in the Holiday Ownership Marriott Rewards Programme can stay at a specific hotel during a specific period.” When he bought the timeshare, they told the buyer that he could always stay at the Marriott Marbella any week in the season he purchased, but the contract says that “high demand for Marriott hotels included in the programme can mean that there is no availability of periods during the various seasons.”

With the contract that Marriott Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Playa Andaluza uses, they gave themselves the possibility (the right) to “add, change and/or remove the terms and conditions of the Marriott Rewards programme”. In other words, they can change their mind when they like. Also, no less importantly, if the client wishes to make good use of the timeshare, it is necessary to book their holiday a minimum of 13 months in advance of the date they want to be there because if not they would seriously run the risk that, if they did it any later, that Marriott Marbella would deny the right to use the timeshare week due to overselling.

You might find this time scale hard to believe or think that there is some exaggeration, because it is hard to believe that when a client has paid so much money for a holiday product or Timeshare week like this that the resort does not provide a better service and some sort of guarantee that the timeshare owner will definitely not be left without a holiday. It is unbelievable, but read the apartment Booking Guide (below), that Marriott Marbella Beach Resort gives to its clients. It clearly shows that this is the way Marriotts behave.

Apartment reservation guide that Marriott Marbella Beach Resort provides to its clients
Person reading a contract.

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

The Marriott´s Marbella, Son Antem and Playa Andaluza timeshare client asked us for our help.

When the timeshare owner discovered that:

  • he could not sell it because it’s worth nothing and nobody wants to buy a Timeshare.
  • he couldn’t cancel the timeshare or give it back to the resort because they don’t want it either.
  • his ownership was for life.
  • his children or heirs live with the worry that they too could be linked to the timeshare.
  • the maintenance fees of his timeshare keep increasing.
  • he has to book 13 months, or more, in advance to use his week.
  • Marriotts, Marriott Son Antem and Playa Andaluza never gave him the dates that he wanted, instead, they only offered him the ones that suited the resort or hotel reception.
  • when he was given a room, it was not anything like the showroom he was shown when he bought the timeshare, but was just whatever was available, so almost always an inferior room.
  • on one occasion he was denied the right to stay at the Marriotts in Marbella, or Son Antem or Playa Andaluza instead was forced to accept a different Marriott’s resort because of overbooking.
  • all private or direct clients paid less to stay for one week than it cost him in annual maintenance fees.
  • when he wanted to exchange to stay at another resort, he had to pay an additional fee and they never have the week that he wanted available at the destination he wanted.
  • that the exchange is always to another resort of much lower quality than the Marriott´s Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Playa Andaluza resorts.

At that point he decided to come to our office and showed us his timeshare contract. We checked and found that Law 42/1998 on timeshare or Law 4/2012 also on timeshare had not been respected at all. Article 1.7 of that Law sets out very clearly that these types of contracts are not valid, so there can be no talk of the statute of limitations or that over time the situation cannot change.

We then informed the owner of the timeshare that he could legally sue Marriotts and what were his legal rights. We then informed him of the various courses of legal action that we could take against Marriott Marbella, Marriott Son Antem and Playa Andaluza in order to exercise his rights. We also informed him of what requests (in the form of a claim) we could make with the courts to force Marriott Marbella to do as the law states.

Having said that, our client asked us and needed to know how much it would cost him to legally cancel his timeshare. The Law Firm JC Vila offers “no win no fee” with no upfront fees for the cancellation of some (but not all), timeshare contracts. It’s as simple as, if we win the case and the client is refunded the money from the timeshare, we charge a fee and if the client loses the case and the resort does not refund his money, we don’t charge anything.

We charge a percentage of the money recovered by the client and we only charge in the event of success. If the client accepts our proposal, we will put it in writing, sign a contract and start their defence (claim).

Judge gavel. How to cancel Marriott timeshare

Case Study: Marriott Marbella Timeshare

Resolution of the Marriott Marbella Timeshare case: Claim and the judges award.

In this specific case that we use as an example, we sued Marriott´s Marbella. We informed the Court and demonstrated the extreme breaches of the law that are in the timeshare contracts signed between Marriott and our client. We have done the same for other clients with the contracts of Marriott Son Antem Mallorca and Marriott Playa Andaluza Estepona. As we believed the contracts were not valid and therefore should be declared null and void. We asked the Court to order Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort to return all the money paid by our client when he purchases the timeshare weeks.

Also, as Marriott Marbella should never have prepared illegal and invalid timeshare contracts, we also asked the court to order the Marriott to pay our client the legal interest from when he paid the money which was almost 19 years earlier so Marriott were ordered to pay many thousands of euros in interest.

And finally, we forced Marriott Marbella (through the courts) to refund double the money paid by the client when he purchased the timeshare on the grounds that he was not given a cooling off period, a period of time to think about or withdraw before he paid his first payment, was charged an amount. On the contrary, Marriotts convinced him to pay without giving him time to study the contract and learn about all his rights.

The reason for this last request is that the timeshare law says that, before the consumer makes any payment to purchase the timeshare, they must receive all the relevant legal information. Therefore, if Marriott Marbella did not give him all the information set out by the law, they should not have charged him any amount until enough time had passed to allow the consumer to find out more information and withdraw from the contract if they want to.

But Marriott Marbella preferred, as all resorts do, to guarantee the payment as quickly as possible and forced the client to pay it for the timeshare immediately because, once paid, the client thinks it’s really complicated to withdraw and get their money back. The legal consequence of this behaviour is to force the resort to refund DOUBLE the money it received.

The decision of the Court of Marbella was what our claim asked for. The Court agreed with us in this case and in many others related to the Marriott Son Antem and Marriott Playa Andaluza resorts. When Marriott appealed the sentence before the High Provincial Court of Malaga, they also agreed with us again.

And remember that if you have a similar problem with a timeshare you can call or contact us and we may be able to help you like these Marriott’s Marbella clients.

Do you want to know how to cancel a timeshare at Marriott? Contact us!