Barclays Partner Finance is to compensate almost 1,500 customers who were mis-sold timeshare loans in Malta worth a total of £48million. Many of the customers are clients of Henley company and Herald sponsor European Consumer Claims (ECC) who have been fighting a legal battle on their behalf.
The bank were told by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) last November to repay interest charged on loans between April 2014 and April 2016 by liquidated timeshare company Azure Services Limited but Barclays were appealing against this decision. Last week, Barclays dropped their appeal and have now agreed to reimburse debt payments in full, plus 8% interest on the loans, writing off all the remaining debt and removing any adverse entries on the clients’ credit files related to the loans.
Barclays Partner Finance (BPF) had a partnership with Azure Resorts, underwriting financing agreements sold to holidaymakers in Malta. Although Azure Resorts were licensed by the FCA to sell loans, the employees brokering the financing agreements were working for another company, Azure Services, which was not authorised by the FCA until 25 April 2016.
The timeshare loans generally had high interest rates – in excess of 9%. In one Barclays’ 2014 financing agreement, a loan for just over £20,000 had a rate of 9.5% over 15 years, equating to total interest of £17.420, almost doubling the cost of the original loan.
“We recognise that we did not provide the right level of service for some customers who bought timeshare loans,. We will be contacting those impacted to apologise for what has happened and to let them know we will be putting this right,” said Barclays.
One of ECC customers, Charlie Rebbeck, a widower and single parent of two who was sold a £24,500 loan for a timeshare in June 2014 during a high pressure five-hour sales presentation is among those due to receive compensation. He said, “It’s been a long time coming but until its’ in front of me in black and white I don’t want to get my hopes because it’s been such a long journey. My credit rating has been annihilated by this, it’s been a struggle and has made by life incredibly difficult for the past six years.”
Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive of ECC, said, “The decision has set an important precedent. Our group will continue to pursue compensation for many other customers sold timeshare loans by Barclays Partner Finance before the 2014-2016 period covered by the FCA. Once the dust has settled we will be looking at other timeshare resorts that operated BPF loans or even loans from other finance houses.”
Anyone who bought a timeshare membership of any kind, felt under pressure and felt mis-sold can contact ECC to find out if they can help you.