Over the past few weeks, we have published a few articles on the Financial Conduct Authority as part of our series on “Finance & Timeshare”. These have primarily focused on the issue of those making claims against the Finance Industry, mainly Barclays Partner Finance, today we have a quick look at some other underlying problems facing the FCA. This is followed by a round-up of the latest timeshare cases that have appeared before the Spanish Courts.
Michael Klines yesterday published an article in Money Marketing, brought the news of the FCA setting out a new employment offer, apparently this is to “Retain” Staff. Michael then goes on to explain the FCA has “been attempting” to ward off threatened strike action, they also expect to recruit around 200 new staff during the first part of this year.
This offer apparently is the result of “extensive consultation” by all staff at the FCA and the FCA’s “Staff Consultative Committee”. Yes, another “committee”. This ran from September to December 2021 and seems to have raised over 700 comments which were raised in “meetings”, with around 580 questions answered via the FCA’s own intranet.
According to the FCA, these changes will mean the FCA will be “one of the best reward packages” on offer by any “regulator or enforcement agency” in the UK. What then caught our attention was the next paragraph couple of paragraphs:
“As part of the offer, around 800 of the FCA’s lowest paid colleagues will receive average salary increases of £4,310 to the minimum of a new pay benchmark.”
“Other salary increases and performance related pay will take overall increases for them to an average of around £5,500.”
It does go on further and you can read Michaels full article at this link:
We did mention at the start the threat of strike action at the FCA, a few hours after Michael published the above article he also posted this “Unite calls FCA pay proposals ‘grave error’.
It seems the latest FCA proposal is a bit of a turnaround, as on 1st February Unite members, (the trade union)voted to support industrial action by 87%. Quite a significant majority, that tells me something was wrong, and it was, apparently, the original proposal was for “cuts to pay and conditions.”
As timeshare consumers with issues regarding the way the FCA operates, these points have more than likely been missed, we have not seen anything of substance in the news, in fact, it was only by chance we came across Money Marketing. This has a wealth of information on the FCA, including a piece by Nic Cicutti: It’s time for real action from the FCA. Follow the link, we are sure you will find this very interesting.
One thing we can be certain about is the FCA appears to be in a very bad way, threats of industrial action, staff leaving because of pay and conditions, are these just some of the reasons the FCA is ineffective when it comes to consumers?
In a quick look at the cases going before the Spanish Courts, February has been a good month for consumers and their legal teams. The courts have been finding contracts null & void for timeshare contracts sold by many of the major companies.
In Marbella, Marriott had two cases found against them for breaches of timeshare laws, with both client’s contracts being declared illegal and therefore null and void. They were also awarded their full purchase price plus double the deposits taken within the cooling-off period, plus, legal interest and legal fees.
Moving over to the Canary Islands and another company facing the courts for various reasons is Anfi.
In a move which was rather a surprise to many, funds ordered by the court were paid, by Anfi Tauro Resort Management SL. Yet another Anfi Group company. This follows the placing into administration of Anfi Sales SL & Anfi Resorts SL with the court acknowledging the point that another company within the Anfi Group “Should be equally responsible for the payments”.
It is known that like Silverpoint, Anfi has consistently moved funds from the various accounts in order to delay payments ordered by the courts, as there are insufficient funds available.
If this becomes the norm, then that is only good news for the clients. These cases were conducted on behalf of clients by lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance.
Staying on Gran Canaria and Anfi, the independent lawyer Javier Correa, also known as the Timeshare Lawyer. He is in fact one of the early pioneers of litigation against the timeshare industry.
In his el-blog on his website, he explains a case he has been working on for quite some time and the final judgment at appeal. The process has been a lot longer than his average case and in his blog he explains why this was so.
It also gives you the consumer some insight into the procedure and completely throws out the claims of many “Cold Callers” who will say they can get it done in 3 months!
One thing we have found with Javier’s blogs, he does go into a little more detail with his explanations.
Moving now to the Costa del Sol and another law firm who are having very good results on behalf of clients, M1 Legal, based in Mijas Costa.
M1 Legal have been representing clients for a number of years, they are also very much involved in the FCA, Azure and BPF cases being worked by Adriana Stoyanova.
So far this month they have achieved 10 very positive results against Club la Costa, Anfi, Las Vistas (La Pinta) and Restotel in the Courts of First Instance.
All their clients’ contracts were declared null and void and the total amount awarded was £251,951, obviously some very happy clients.
They also reported on jurisdictional cases, these involving the timeshare company claiming the contracts are under the jurisdiction of another country’s laws and courts, a point which has caused many delays.
The companies involved in these cases are two from Diamond Resorts and one from Club la Costa, both have used this method of delay in virtually every case. Both had UK Ltd companies as the sales company on the agreements, which also stated that UK law and jurisdiction applies.
This has been thrown out on numerous occasions by various High Courts and I also believe the Supreme Court, in these judgements they have clearly stated that the companies cannot choose the jurisdiction of the contracts sold and signed in Spain. It also happens to be a fact that any company operating in Spain should have Spanish Company Registration.
So we not only have Spanish law being breached, but they are also going against the “Code of Conduct & Ethics” of the trade body they are members of, the RDO. Which also states that all members should abide by and follow the laws of the country they are operating in.
Both of these cases have been won so should now move to the next stage of the timeshare itself.
More details can be found on the following link:
Have you had dealings with the FCA, what was your feeling about how they operate, did you get a positive result or run around in circles until you gave up?
AIT would like to hear your views on Finance & Timeshare and how your complaints are dealt with by the FCA & the FOS, please use our contact page or the email address shown or you can leave a comment on the relevant article.
On Friday we have another report on Westgate where we highlight the stories of 9 families harmed by the sales tactics and policies of this company, so don’t forget to join us then.