The Directive 94/47EC of the European Parliament and the Council was implemented in Spain through the Spanish Law 42/1998 enacted to protect purchasers of timeshare products, coming into effect on the 5th January 1999. On January 15th, 2015, a ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court had a significant impact on owners of Spanish timeshares. The Supreme Court ruled that all contracts signed after 5th January 1999 must be for less than 50 years, thus outlawing the practice of "perpetuity contracts" which had been prevalent since the 1980s.
Encouraged by this ruling, more timeshare consumer challenges have been presented to the Supreme Court. It has since confirmed that resorts are obliged to give clients a ‘cooling off period’ that is designed to give consumers adequate time to consider the purchase. It is illegal to accept any monies or have the client sign for any finance agreement during this period. The initial period of 10 days (Law 42/1998) was later extended to 14 days (Law 4/2012).
In addition, the Supreme Court has also ruled that any timeshare sold since the beginning of 1999 must states the details of the apartment/unit/week(s) bought together with the time of arrival and departure.
Failure to comply with these rulings can end up with the contract being deemed Null and Void and buyers are eligible to receive a full refund on all monies spent on the purchase of their timeshare property. With the law now firmly on the side of the consumer, timeshare resorts are employing tactics to delay the inevitable by appealing judgments and moving money between subsidiary companies.