Over the past few months, AIT has been highlighting the problems faced by consumers who purchased their timeshare with finance. These loan agreements were brokered by the very sales staff who were selling the dubious timeshare contracts, with the loan agreement being “accepted” on the same day as the signing of the timeshare contracts. In most cases, the “welcome” letter from the finance company has arrived at the consumer’s home before they have ended their holiday.
We have explained in past articles the usual practices we can expect when applying for a sizeable loan, especially the figures involved in timeshare. These checks would usually include, income v expenditure reports, proof of income and affordability of the repayments, we know in all the cases we have seen that none of these checks was carried out by either the brokers or the finance company before the granting of the loan. Not once has any written evidence been presented to show these have been carried out.
Following on from this we explained how complaints are dealt with, either direct to the finance company or through the Financial Conduct Authority. One thing common to all cases has been the lack and slowness of any response from the finance company, namely Barclays Partner Finance and the inability of the FOS to understand the process and contracts of timeshare sales. This has resulted in the vast majority of complaints and claims being found against the consumer and in favour of BPF.
But that is not the end, you then have the right to appeal the decision with the Financial Ombudsman Service, yet another series of Grand National hurdles to jump over.
Once again this process is slow and takes a lot of time and patience, but again the vast majority of these appeals are found against the consumer.
Along with one reader, AIT requested information from the FOS regarding the number of complaints/appeals from consumers against BPF regarding timeshare loan agreements brokered by Silverpoint/Resort Properties and Azure over the past 10 years.
The response received was not complete but the figures they gave are very disturbing, but first some detail to their response and why they are not able to provide full figures.
Firstly, they are unable to distinguish between BPF and Clydesdale Financial Services, the reason is that complaints cannot be set up against BPF as it is a trading name. But they did give a figure of 13,000 complaints against Clydesdale in the past 10 years.
For them to see how many of these are specifically naming BPF, they would have to manually review each and every case. This does sound strange in the age of computerisation and technology.
The reason they cannot do this review is cost, they state that it would cost at least £450 or 18 hours at £25 per hour, surely it would have been cheaper if it was all computerised?
They also stated that since April 2021 the FOS has kept an “informal” record of all cases against BPF, these are updated manually. They go on to say this may possibly not “capture” complaints received relating to the request.
The figures they do give are that they have received 839 NEW complaints against BPF in the last financial year, they have 1,610 OPEN cases against BPF, 665 of which are for Azure and 163 for Silverpoint.
They have so far only recorded 20 complaints which were found in favour of the consumer, a very low figure indeed considering how the loans were brokered and what for.
In monetary terms this amounts to a huge sum, we guess that the average loan agreement is in the region of £20,000, we do know of individuals who have loans in excess of £60,000, but we will stick with the average purchase price.
- 1,610 Open cases
- Total claim value £32,200,000
- 20 cases in favour of the consumer
- Total claim value £400,000
- 13,000 Total complaints filed with the FOS
- Total claim value £260,000,000
Yes, you did read that correctly, £260 million, and that is only using our average price, it does not include the interest which almost doubles the loan amount, so we are looking at around half a million. These filed cases are only the tip of the iceberg, how many more have just paid up and forgotten about it as a bad dream.
These figures are also only for Silverpoint and Azure sales, there are more sales with loan agreements such as Diamond, Club la Costa, Anfi and many more, so what is the true cost?
AIT has said it before and will say it again, purchases of timeshare with loans brokered by the very sales staff who have a vested interest in ensuring the sale completes are dubious, to say the least. The way timeshare is sold, with all the manifestations of “investments” etc, along with many Spanish sales and contracts being illegal, we see loans of huge amounts being given without the usual checks. (PDF of FOS reply at the bottom)
This Friday AIT brings you a story from our US friends with another Westgate Rental Experience, reading these stories reminds us of the pitches used by Silverpoint and Azure for their “investment” packs, now publicly and legally proven to be lies. So join us then for the full story.