The latest timeshare scandal – Gary Neville Linked to Azure scam
What is the Azure Timeshare Scandal?
Azure Services Limited has recently come under scrutiny for some £47 million of loans (which works out at an enormous £32,500 per transaction). These loans are currently being investigated as it has been found that Azure was not an FCA authorised broker, and therefore had been in breach of the general prohibition in section 19 of FSMA when they marketed the timeshares and brokered the Barclays loans. Azure company was found to have been operating as a financial broker between 2014 and 2016 without authorisation under British law. In this latest scandal, customers of Azure have complained that the terms of the loans were not fully explained to them and that some were pressured into signing deals they did not understand. Complaints have arisen that ‘proper credit checks’ and this was put forward in a hearing of the Upper Tribunal of the Tax and Chancery Chamber.
Gary Neville has been linked to the Azure group Scandal.
Former footballer – Gary Neville has been linked to the Azure group in this article by the Times. Neville became a non-executive director of Island Hotels Group Holdings after he and Ryan Giggs invested €1.1 million each in 2009 and the Island Hotels Group owned 50% of the Golden Sands resort and 50% of Azure Services Limited. Azure has been accused of mis selling timeshares in Malta on the Golden Sands resort (a prestigious Radisson Blu franchise).
Neville publicly wrote on social media to deny the claims made in the Times article and said:
“It’s a sham of an article to leverage off me on this matter, and the journalist is an 80/90’s stitch up merchant. I did think you were better than this, to be honest. I explained to him for 20 mins two weeks ago and also predicted this headline.”
According to various owners, the footballers’ links with the hotel group were allegedly often used by sales staff and many customers said it was the link with the footballers that made the sale seem like a safe deal. Sales staff brokered a staggering 1,444 loans through Barclays Bank, and many buyers were so convinced that they agreed to timeshares worth more than £10,000, with contracts of up to 25 years. Barclays said at the tribunal that in 2017 ‘63’ of these loans had been claimed to have been misrepresented to buyers and there were a number of litigation claims.
What is the impact of this scandal on the owners?
Many buyers felt that they had not been adequately informed about the contract of their purchase. They had been cold-called and offered cheap holidays to the resort where they agreed to an investment presentation in exchange for such a low price. At the presentation, they were told they would be able to make profits through easy sales in just a few short years.
In the Times article, there are many personal stories of customers who have suffered from these timeshare deals. A 41-year-old man named Charles Rebbeck in Hastings had received a cold call to his home in the UK offering him a week’s holiday for £150. He went with his two young daughters and his wife, who was in remission from cancer.
Rebbeck said: “I know there is no such thing as a free lunch, but it was such a good offer. I knew I would have to attend a sales meeting, but I had absolutely no plans to buy a timeshare.”
After an intense five-hour sales pitch with photographs of Neville and Giggs shown to him and the others in the room, he agreed to pay £13,300 for a one-week timeshare with a 25-year contract. During the presentation, he was assured it would be worth £24,000 in just a few years and that it would be easy to sell. Like many others, he was told his purchase would increase in value, and he would be able to sell it on for profit easily.
For Rebbeck, his wasn’t the case, and he was unable to sell. Tragically, his wife passed away in 2016, and he was left with his huge timeshare loan.
What can I do if I’ve been affected?
We offer free, friendly advice from timeshare exit & compensation experts. If you have been affected by the Azure timeshare scandal or one similar, we can provide free advice. Once we receive your request, one of our highly skilled advisers will contact you to find out more information about your situation. All of our advisers have detailed knowledge of the timeshare industry and will be able to advise you on what your options are.
We will assess your situation and provide advice on whether we believe your timeshare was unlawfully sold to you. We will also offer advice on whether there are potential grounds for compensation against the timeshare company.Get in touch today. You can send a request via our website or call us on 0800 195 8361.