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Fight for timeshare refunds almost won

For the best part of a decade, Sarah Waddington Solicitors have acted on behalf of consumers who purchased fractional timeshare products from Club La Costa (“CLC”) and Diamond Resorts (“DR”), facilitated, for the most part, by finance agreements provided by the likes of Barclays Partner Finance (“BPF”), Shawbrook Bank Limited, and Hitachi Finance.

Timeshare fractional products differed from the usual points-based products, in that it was nominally linked to a property. The promise was that, at the end of the term of the timeshare membership, the property would be sold and the consumer would make a profit.

Using provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, we have argued that the products were missold by Club La Costa and Diamond Resorts. Indeed, we are of the view that they could not be sold as an investment opportunity and, even if it was allowable, the consumer was not provided with enough information to make an informed decision.

The Financial Ombudsman Services

We have submitted claims to the Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”) for the best part of a decade and it has only been recently when the Financial Ombudsman Service began to review the claims in detail. We have taken expert advice from Counsel and made substantial representations to the FOS, on behalf of Our Clients.

In 2021, the FOS finally made their precedent decision, in a matter involving a timeshare fractional product sold by Club La Costa. The idea was that the FOS would make one decision, which would then be applied to all other matters.

The FOS decided that the timeshare fractional products were missold, in line with the arguments we had made.

However, as the FOS is a public body, the parties affected by the decision could ask for permission to seek a Judicial Review of it. Essentially, they would argue that no reasonable public body could have come to the decision that the FOS had done. Barclays Partner Finance and CLC exercised that right and asked the High Court for permission to seek a Judicial Review of the FOS’ precedent decision

Judcial review

We are pleased to now inform you that the High Court has now refused the application for permission to apply for Judicial Review. This is an important milestone in seeking financial redress for Our Clients.

However, BPF can make an application for reconsideration of the decision. They must do so by 30 May 2022 and, given their position thus far, we expect them to do so. We are currently awaiting confirmation from the High Court that this has been done.

Nevertheless, this was anticipated, and we are of the view that any such appeal will be ultimately unsuccessful and the precedent decision will stand. There can be many reasons for making such an appeal, one of which is to seek to delay any potential settlement, given the significant sums involved.

Timeshare refund precedent

Our dedicated timeshare team are delighted that their hard work is paying off. At long last, we may be approaching the “end game”, in respect of this long running and complicated saga.

In addition, although the FOS’ decision only directly applies to the decision made against BPF and CLC, it is designed to be a precedent decision. This means that, once this process of judicial review and appeals is complete, it will be applied to all fractional cases, regardless of the resort or lender.

We feel vindicated that our decision to follow this route to obtain compensation for our clients was the correct one and will, ultimately, result in many timeshare owners recovering the monies they have previously paid.

What next for timeshare owners making a claim

Finally, we will advise of further updates as and when they happen. This is not an end to the matter. If you are currently a client please refrain from contacting us at this time about your claim, unless we have specifically written to you. As you will appreciate, there is a lot of work still to do.

If you are the owner of a fractional timeshare product and want us to assess whether you might have a claim, then please contact us for a no-obligation review. If we believe you have a claim, then we can progress it for you and we may be able to do this as a NO WIN NO FEE if you fit the criteria. This type of work can only be carried out by a regulated firm.

If you want any assistance relating to a Timeshare issue, please feel free to get in touch with us on our Timeshare Support Hotline 01924 601 096, or request a call back 

Finally, remember any genuine timeshare solicitor will be extremely careful to manage a client’s expectations. They will be honest and realistic with what could possibly be achieved in regard to your individual case. If someone claiming to be a lawyer or solicitor has been in contact contacted, be sure to do your research and check if they are regulated by the SRA and if the individual is registered as a solicitor.

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Widbury Barns, Widbury Hill, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 7QE