Following on from yesterday’s article, Inside Timeshare has already received many comments from other members who identify with our story on how they were sold the Azure “timeshare investment weeks”. Their stories are identical to those we have heard from Silverpoint clients, after all, Azure is part of the same group of companies and was the sister company to Silverpoint. What Silverpoint sold in Tenerife was soon put into practice in Malta. This also included the brokering of huge loan agreements through Barclays Partner Finance, again without the “due diligence” of the finance company over the affordability of the loans and repayments.
This is a point which the Financial Conduct Authority who is supposedly charged with “policing” the finance industry and ensuring that consumers are protected are failing miserably. All they see are the loan agreements, they have no clue as to how these agreements are sold and brokered by the very people lying about the product they are selling. The FCA fails to recognise that the sales staff will do and say anything in order to finalise the sale and that includes lying about the loans.
The regulation of credit agreements and consumer protection was originally carried out by the Office of Fair Trading, they relinquished control to the FCA as of 1 April 2014.
The OFT was not a ministerial department and was responsible for the regulation of consumer credit since 1973. When it was closed down it passed the responsibility of its various functions to other organisations and departments with consumer credit going to the FCA.
Unfortunately, the FCA does not appear to be geared up to deal with the complexities of this area of consumer protection. In a recent article published by The Mail on Sunday, This is Money page by Jeff Prestridge, he highlights the many failings of the FCA.
In two telling paragraphs, Jeff states:
“a lack of training for staff whose job is to supervise the firms under the regulator’s watch. Lax processes in place for acting upon complaints brought to its attention by the public or those working in financial services. And staff employed to monitor companies’ marketing material without formal training in how to spot anything suspicious.”
“Most damning, it quotes an official working for the regulator’s supervision division who admits:” ‘I don’t believe to the best of my knowledge that there is much training around how to identify financial crime.’
Link to the This is Money article.
So how are they supposed to protect consumers when their own staff have no idea what they are doing?
Now according to the FCA, Azure Services Ltd had been “overlooked” as an “authorised” company for the brokering of loans when they took over on 1 April 2014. If so then the Office of Fair Trading must have had them as “Authorised”, or were they?
How did they find out Azure was not authorised, did they find out themselves or was it that BPF informed them in order to have the loan agreements validated and thereby enforceable in law?
This is obviously something that needs to be investigated, along with how the FCA operates and also a full investigation into Barclays Partner Finance for allowing timeshare sales staff to broker loan agreements for timeshare sales which without the agreements would never be sold.
For all those who have purchased a timeshare with loan agreements know all too well, if it wasn’t for the swift granting of these loans by the sales staff selling the timeshare, they would never have been able to afford it. In most cases, the consumers even explained they couldn’t afford the loan, yet the sales staff lied to them about the repayments and how long the loan was for, many being told it would be for 2 years as the resale would clear the loan!
The one thing which differs from loan agreements for purchases of cars or other items is very simple, you are not required to make a decision at that moment, we all know that timeshare sales are “today and today” only. You are kept “hostage” for many hours until you succumb and sign the agreements.
Once the FCA recognises the fact that timeshare sales are conducted in a totally different manner to other types of sales, the sooner the practice of timeshare sales staff brokering the loans comes to an end.
It is now down to those who have been “sold” these loan agreements to start a campaign to have these agreements, the FCA and BPF investigated, putting an end to the misery that timeshare sales, BPF and now the FCA have perpetuated.
Having spoken with the moderator of the Azure Malta Action And Support Group, which was originally set up to bring Azure clients with BPF loans together, they have decided to allow any timeshare owner with a BPF loan to join the group. Hopefully bringing more people together and getting something done.
There are certain conditions to joining the group which is a closed group, if you are genuinely interested in joining then contact them via Facebook on this link:
Inside Timeshare is also calling for any members who purchased from Azure with a BPF loan agreement between January 2018 and the end of 2019. This follows some information published in the Financial Times which may put the validity of those loan agreements in doubt.
Please use our contact page for any comments or questions on this or any other article published and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.