We were pleased to be able to assist Harry Brennan from The Telegraph with information for his article “Timeshare Victims die while waiting for justice”. This article was published on 17th October 2021 and you can read this online using the link
Here at Sarah Waddington Solicitors, we are very passionate about bringing attention to the plight of long-suffering timeshare owners who have been waiting so long for compensation from the Financial Ombudsman Service. Unfortunately, we know that some claimants have waited so long for the Ombudsman’s decision that that they have died before an outcome has been reached.
We have lodged hundreds of complaints on behalf of owners with the Financial Ombudsman Service against lenders for providing the finance to the timeshare owners to fund the purchase.
The lengthy delays have left many owners waiting for a resolution of their claim leading to many already badly treated consumers frustrated by their continuing inability to bring their timeshare nightmare to an end. You can read a further article published in The Telegraph on the 26th September here “victims have been left in limbo for years without a resolution.”
We believe there are thousands of unresolved timeshare complaints lodged with the Ombudsman on behalf of clients by solicitors and other regulated businesses. Many of the complaints have been lodged for more than two years without any clear signs of a resolution. These types of complaints are supposed to be decided upon within 90 days and so the Financial Ombudsman Service has fallen short of their own timeframes. The delays continue to mount.
As is pointed out in the article “We were expecting final rulings to come through last week. But once again, as they have done for years, they have pushed everything back,”
Some timeshare owners have died while fighting to recover the money they have put into timeshares schemes, and there are others who have been forced to sell their family home to pay off the debt created by the timeshare ownership.
The long wait for justice has also made customers a perfect target for unregulated companies. Some individuals have lost thousands of pounds to these companies who promised to recover their money but have failed to deliver on their promises.
The ombudsman service has pledged to improve their waiting times but so far there has been no sign of improvement, only continued delay.
A number of timeshare companies have collapsed, rendering a direct fight for compensation with the timeshare company pointless. Borrowers therefore turned to pursuing their lenders instead.
We are witnessing an increase in reported cases of timeshare owners experiencing harassment at the hands of the unregulated companies which is being fuelled by the delays with the ombudsman leaving owners looking for help in the wrong places and listening to what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. These delays are further exposing already vulnerable consumers to further financial abuse. Ironically, a tactic adopted by these non-regulated companies (who are nearly always based overseas with mailing addresses in the UK) is to use the delays at the ombudsman to cold call our clients and try and destabilise our relationship with them. Their salespeople try to persuade them that as they have had the claim in with the ombudsman for years without a resolution, the lawyers are failing them. Nothing could be further from the truth but unfortunately some clients are induced by this misleading information and usually by promises from the unregulated sector that financial claims can be litigated quickly and to a greater value in the Spanish jurisdiction.
Whilst we note from the article that “A spokesman for the Financial Ombudsman Service said the complaints were often complex and it was going through the evidence before arriving at its conclusions”, we are left wondering how much longer is it going to take for these consumers to receive the justice they deserve?
If you feel like you have a case to make a claim and would like to know just how much you compensation you could be owed, then try our free timeshare compensation calculator. The dedicated and experienced team at Sarah Waddington Solicitors are on hand to offer guidance and advice on what to do next so please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to book a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your case.