Extortion, coercion? You decide.

So, to recap, TCA is receiving calls from anxious, elderly Sutton Hall timeshare owners who are stuck in an 80 year contract with ever increasing maintenance fees.

We have analysed the annual accounts of Sutton Hall Timeshare Club Ltd.  A summary of the key figures that we will discuss is below:

Cash at Bank Current Net Assets Weeks Lost Unsold Weeks Owned Weeks As at Year end
£250,892 £170,391 Unknown 97 603 2012
£234,681 £163,604 18 115 585 2013
£201,735 £144,806 32 147 553 2014
£211,789 £147,975 42 189 511 2015
£247,117 £175,891 23 212 488 2016
£259,820 £186,758 35 247 453 2017
£249,205 £164,409 61 308 392 2018

As you can see, the company’s cash in the bank hovers around £250k each year, and its net assets are relatively constant at around £160k.  This is despite having lost 35% of its owners over the period.

What does this mean?

To us, this means that Sutton Hall is finding ways to replace the lost income from a reducing owner base – most likely via renting out the weeks.  Booking.com has the weeks from £635 a week, despite Sutton Hall telling us that the going rate is £125 a night (£875 a week).  In fact, on the Sutton Hall rental page weeks are being offered for rent more cheaply from £450 (1 bed) and from £550 (2 bed).

We suspect that the Sutton Hall owned weeks are listed for rental on Booking.com, earning them more revenue, whilst the owner owned weeks are marketed on the cheaper rental page.  This is borne out by our analysis:  between weeks 27- 42 in 2019 only 35% of weeks that Sutton Hall owns were up for rent on their own cheap rental page, whereas 73% of owner owned weeks, that are also up for sale, are up for rent on the cheap rental page.  Furthermore, if they are the same apartments being offered on the Sutton Hall site and on Booking.com, then this almost certainly puts Sutton Hall in breach of their Booking.com contract – to not offer the accommodation cheaper than Booking.com prices.

Back to the “lost” weeks for a minute

As we mentioned, Sutton Hall lost 61 weeks of ownership last year.  But how?

If they are only allowing a maximum of 20 exits a year, and dying doesn’t even guarantee you an exit, then how could they lose 61 in a year – and almost 100 in two years?  Unfortunately, only Sutton Hall has the answer to this.  A guess?  They just make up their own rules as and when it suits them.

Suing Owners

Sutton Hall seem to have a vindictive streak.  They openly admitted in their 2017 updated exit policy document that the only clients they had sued, up to that point, had been attempting to exit their Sutton Hall timeshares via Praetorian Legal: a timeshare exit company.  Sutton Hall say that they sued to prove a point.  In reality, they sued to attempt to prevent the floodgates from opening.

Similarly, the clients that we have spoken to that are being sued have sought help with their timeshare from ABC Legal.  Is this practice an attempt to stop timeshare exit companies from damaging the Sutton Hall money tree?  And to stop timeshare owners from seeking help out of their 80 year nightmare?

Our conclusions

  • Sutton Hall pretends to care about its owners, but doesn’t.
  • Sutton Hall hides behind “the constitution” when it suits.
  • Sutton Hall changes the rules when it suits them to do so.
  • Sutton Hall has attempted to bully and silence our company by threatening legal action if we publish articles they don’t like.
  • Sutton Hall bullies elderly and vulnerable timeshare owners with threats of court action.
  • Their “timeshare club” business model is failing rapidly.

What we say to Sutton Hall:

  • Leave these timeshare owners alone now.  You’ve had 37 years of maintenance fees.  Stop this greed now.
  • Convert to a rental business model – you’re already doing it.
  • Disband the club and salvage your reputation.
  • Then your owners will not even need to seek the services of a timeshare exit company.

Write to your MP

If you would like to write to your local MP about your Sutton Hall experience, please let us know and we can assist, if you wish.  TCA will also be writing to Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton to highlight Sutton Hall’s practices that are carrying on in his constituency.

If you have been affected by anything in this article, please let us know.  We are seeking legal funding to assist owners of Sutton Hall, which we will publicise in due course.

Posted on: June 28, 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

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