The UK finance watchdog is investigating a firm accused of mis-selling timeshares to British holidaymakers. The resort is part owned by ex-Man United players Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, who invested in the resort.
£47 million in loans were given to British holidaymakers who were persuaded to buy timeshares in Malta. However, the financial watchdog started to investigate when it became clear the loans were brokered without the conditions being made clear and without the adequate affordability checks being made on consumers.
Once it became clear to Barclays that the loans were not properly validated by the FCA, they approached the financial watchdog to validate the loans. A hearing followed and Judge Timothy Herrington said the FCA acted unlawfully by allowing Barclays to validate the loans.
It is alleged that the company marketed timeshares without the proper authorisation between April 2014 and April 2016, and sales staff brokered around 1,400 loans with Barclays Partner Finance. Barclays had a contract with Azure Resorts Limited, which was authorised by the FCA for credit brokering, or handing out consumers loans, but it was later discovered that staff were employed by the unlicensed Azure Services Limited.
Customers complained that the terms of the loans were not explained to them, that they were pressured into signing contracts after lengthy sales presentations and that the proper credit checks were not carried out. Customers explained how they were offered free holidays to Malta in exchange for attending a short sales presentation, however these presentations sometimes lasted up to six hours and customers felt under duress to purchase a timeshare. Customers were also falsely informed that their purchase would increase in value and they would be able to sell them easily for a healthy profit. Unfortunately, for many of these timeshare owners, they have been left with loans they cannot afford to pay back, debt and financial stress.
The timeshare loans that are believed to have been mis-sold are now being looked at again by the FCA. Barclays have also issued a statement saying they are co-operating with the FCA and do not feel it appropriate to comment until their investigation is complete.
People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.