A Portsmouth pensioner wishing to remain anonyms was tricked into parting with more than £8,000 of her life savings after she received an unsolicited cold call offering to help her relinquish an unwanted timeshare agreement.
The consumer purchased a points-based Timeshare from Club La Costa back in 2000. The 69-year-old along with her husband and their 3 children had enjoyed some very exotic holidays over the years, however, over the last few years or so they began to wind down and were struggling to make the tiresome journeys, the couple also became anxious in thinking that what they had initially signed maybe an in-perpetuity arrangement. This meaning their children would automatically inherit the timeshare, in addition, the annual maintenance costs which crept up over the years £1,500 a year.
The couple began making inquiries with regards to canceling their timeshare contract, realizing that the market had become exhausted, leaving hundreds of thousands of owners in the same situation. Thinking no more of it until last March when out of the blue they received the call from a company called RSB Legal. The company claimed to successfully unburden consumers of their contracts by either transferring or rescinding their timeshare contracts.
Mrs. X said ‘The caller from RSB insisted that timeshare firms had been overcharging, and I could claim back some of my maintenance on a no-win no-fee arrangement. There was no mention currently of money up front. ‘I went to an appointment at an office in the Basingstoke area. I was assured they had many other clients and they had been successful. ‘But then I was told what I really needed to do was to get my name off the deeds to get me out of the contract. They could recommend a solicitor from a company called Taylor Marshall Associates, but I’d have to pay a fee.
‘I told them I didn’t have the money for legal fees, but they insisted getting my name off the deeds was essential and that I’d get it back from the compensation. ‘I said I’d have to get a loan and they recommended Sainsbury’s bank, but then they said they would also want a £1,000 deposit. ‘I didn’t even have £100 in my bank account, let alone £1,000, but after getting the loan I paid RSB legal £8,154.00 in total, which included the initial £1,000. Mrs. X later received confirmation from Taylor Marshall that they had finalized their paperwork. However, when she heard nothing from the timeshare company she called in Streetwise as she was becoming anxious she may have become a victim of misselling cold calling holiday club cheats. Upon investigation, the clients’ experience had been replicated nationwide when thousands of UK timeshare owners had been called out of the blue by a telesales firm calling themselves Warwickshire Consultants.
The Solihull based firm was liquidated by Companies House in 2013, however, but before they dissolved the business they also claimed to be working with RSB Legal.
Further investigations revealed that RSB Legal had no legally-trained staff and was simply a sales outfit. However, they had used the services of completely above-board Taylor Marshall Associates to process legal paperwork, albeit they ended up owing the company thousands of pounds when payments ceased for their legal services without warning.
Companies House disclosed RSB Legal’s sole director was a Tomas Boore. Several consumers tried to contact Mr. Boore, at his office in Birmingham for an explanation, however, it appeared he had vanished into thin air. The calls remained unanswered and the company website disappeared.
To add to the gloom, we at TCA can confirm that Trading Standards had received numerous complaints about RSB Legal who were currently under investigation.
Mr & Mrs. X said ‘they were not sure if they were just avoiding them. Now I know we’ve been duped, I can’t believe how I’ve been so stupid. ‘I’m now left to pay the bank back £151.00 a month out of my pension for the next five years.’ ‘I feel it my duty to warn others. I know I should tell my family, but I don’t want them to know. They’d be disappointed to find out I’ve been hoodwinked out of so much money and it was my own fault. ‘I believe far more should be done to protect people from cheats and stop the cold-calling. This is how my problem started. I’ve got so many international and unavailable numbers that come through to my landline. I’m inundated with these calls.’
Posted on: May 14, 2018
For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email: info@TimeshareConsumerAssociation.org.uk