Extortion, coercion? You decide.
As we said in Part 1, we are receiving a worrying number of
calls from Sutton Hall owners who are receiving threats of legal action for
unpaid maintenance fees. We also know of
some owners who have actually received a County Court Summons. In all these cases the owners are elderly and
possibly vulnerable people, who are naturally distressed at the prospect of
being sued, and forced to continue to pay for a timeshare for the next 43
It is fair to say that most of these owners will not live
another 43 years, but death (according to Sutton Hall) is no excuse for
non-payment of the fees. Sutton Hall
“….and upon the death of an
Owner it becomes part of the Estate. We
do not wish to see children who have inherited the liability of their parents’
timeshare to be financially encumbered by something they did not sign up
to. Therefore, in these instances, we
will offer the beneficiary the choice to take on the timeshare or to choose the
3 year exit option from the deceased’s legacy.”
The “3 year exit option” means that the beneficiary would be
lumbered with paying around £1,500 (for nothing, because they can’t use it during
this period) and that’s assuming that they can win the exit
lottery of making it to the shortlist of 20 per year allowed to exit.
However, there are more hoops to jump through. They also say that there could be exceptions:
“….we wish to recognise that
there are sometimes genuine cases of death….that warrant recognition and
Genuine cases of death?
As opposed to the deaths that owners are faking to get out of their
onerous timeshare contracts, do you mean?
Is Sutton Hall saying that there are some cases of death that don’t
During 2018 Sutton Hall “lost” 61 weeks of timeshare – 13.5%
of its active member base. What we mean
is that at 31st December 2017 there were 247 unsold weeks, and 12
months later this had increased to 308.
That’s 308 weeks that Sutton Hall Timeshare Club Ltd own – more on that
Today there are 133 privately owned weeks for sale with
Sutton Hall – some are advertised as “Free”, such is the demand: NOT!
This means that 441 weeks (out of 700: 63%) are either
unsold (owned by the resort) or owned by owners that don’t want to own
them. Our guess is that this figure
could easily be 80%, by the time you factor in owners that own, don’t
necessarily want to own, but don’t do anything about trying to sell – maybe
because they know they won’t be able to.
Let’s just summarise this:
80% of the owner base either doesn’t exist or wants out!
Hang on, is this some abusive arranged marriage, or a
timeshare club? Forcing people to do
what they don’t want to do, based on a contract from 1982? Based on a contract that the Council
(committee) says they can’t do anything about, yet then vary the constitution
whenever they choose.
Why does this club still exist?
If any democratic constitution (remember, they say it’s run
by the members, for the members) knew that they had the support of only 20% of
its owner base, the 80% would surely vote to disband the club, wouldn’t they?
Ah, I see – the rules are set by the 11 Council members, and
to the rest of the owners/members it’s hard cheese!
If Sutton Hall continues to lose owners at the 2018 rate, in
2 years’ time the average maintenance fees could have increase by another 50%+
to £740 a year. And in 6 years’ time
they would have no owners left.
In Part 3, we’ll draw our conclusions on this sorry tale. As always, if you have been affected by anything in this article, please let us know.
Posted on: June 26, 2019
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