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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Asset Land Investment, Barclays Bank and Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act

Land Banking – what is it?

There are a number of companies offering large returns on investments in what could be described as “land banking” and encourage multiple investors to part with significant sums in return for small plots of land (which forms part of a larger plot).

The selling point being that the land together with the many other “fractions” will amount to a reasonable sized plot that would be attractive to a developer if (and it is often a big “if”) it is re-zoned (a lot of this land is on green belt and therefore unlikely to be developed unless re-zoned) and planning permission obtained.

The sales patter and marketing blurb suggests that re-zoning and planning and a wealthy developer are “never in doubt” and the time scales are usually “very soon“.

There is then the need to market and actually sell the land to the developer and then divide up the profits between the investors.  This would require somebody to manage the area of land as a whole on behalf of all investors and the implication is often that this will be done by the company selling the individual plots.

Often as was the case here they had no intention of taking any further interest in the plots once sold to the investors and the prospects of any of the re-zoning, planning or development were effectively non-existent.

The Asset Land Scheme

The schemes operated by Asset Land have been held by the High Court  and Court of Appeal to be “collective investment schemes” and have to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Asset Land and its associated companies were not regulated and therefore were acting in breach of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.  This meant that the agreements were unenforceable under section 26 and the investors were entitled to get their money back.  However, Asset Land and its associated companies have effectively disappeared (they were registered in Panama and all contact numbers and websites are no longer active) and there was effectively no prospect of recovery from them.

The Financial Conduct Authority (when it was known as the Financial Services Authority) took legal action against Asset Land and established the breach of statute and froze the assets of the companies worldwide which could run into millions.  Their investigation is ongoing but plenty of investors are still out of pocket.

Where Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act comes in!

If you paid for any part of the plots of land with your credit card (for plots between £100 and £30,000) even if it was simply the deposit of say 10%, you could be entitled to recover the total purchase price from your credit card company.

Barclays pays out!

This has happened recently for a client of ours who claimed over £23,000 from Thomas Cook Credit Card, which is owned by Barclays Bank Plc.  We had to go to the Financial Ombudsman but after they got involved Barclays agreed to refund the whole purchase price plus interest at 8%.

Interest on judgment debts is currently 8% and this ought to apply to such awards by the Ombudsman if they had to be enforced.  Interest could therefore be significant if the money was paid a long time ago.

It may not involve Asset Land or indeed a land banking scheme such as this but if you have spent between £100 and £30,000 and paid for any part of it on your credit card but then received nothing for it and the company has disappeared or gone out of business you may be able to recover the full cost plus interest from your credit card company.

Call Nick (I am a senior solicitors with over 20 years experience) for expert friendly advice on the above number or complete the contact form.  I am here to help YOU!

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Mis-sold PPI – compensation decision

In a case in November 2014 (Plevin v Paragon) the Supreme Court ruled that Paragon’s failure to disclose that they would receive a commission of over 70% was unfair under section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

However because Ms Plevin had expressly requested the PPI cover, knew the product she was getting (but not the commission element) and had the cover for the full term she was only entitled to reimbursement of the commission element plus interest and not the total premiums she had received.

The court was not satisfied that had Ms Plevin known about the commission she would not have taken out the PPI cover, her own evidence was that she would have queried the amount of the commission if she had known about it rather than decide not to take out the policy at all.

If you have a mis-selling query whether PPI or other investment or financial product call Nick on the number above.  I am a solicitor with over 20 years experience.

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Claim Compensation for Burn Injuries

Burns or scolding injuries can be caused by many factors-Chemical burn image

1. hot machinery/equipment;

2. hot water/liquid/food;

3. molten glass or metal;

4. steam;

5. chemical burns (acid eg hydroclauric acid or alkali eg caustic soda;

7. friction (eg seat belt)

Burned at work – eg the catering business and commercial kitchens, food manufacture, cafe or restaurants, fibreglass manufacture

Burned at home – defective kitchen or heating products

Burned elsewhere – on someone else’s premises eg eating at or delivering to cafes or restaurants, commercial kitchens bakeries

Burns and scolds can be extremely painful and disfiguring.  Compensation is given for the degree of pain and the residual scarring.

Compensation for scarring is assessed subjectively which means the effect on the individual is considered so if someone is greatly bothered by their scarring they could achieve more in compensation.Catering burns image

Action

Seek medical help – this is the obvious first step but as regards preparing you claim it is sensible

1. to attend medical practitioner to assess and record the injury

2. take photographs and if possible include something to give the injury scale (eg a tape measure or 50p piece)

3. keep receipts for creams and pain relief or prescriptions paid for or travel to and from and parking at hospital or medical centres

4. make notes of the witnesses if any to the accident, they need not have witnessed the accident but might be familiar with the area where the accident happened or the machinery or substance involved.

5. keep a note of how the injury affects you and your every day life – this is called loss of amenity and it forms part of the general compensation.  The more you are affected the higher the compensation.

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I have not been paid for my goods or services, what can I do?

If you have supplied goods or services (whether fixing someone’s central heating or selling a kitchen or bag of sand) and have not been paid what you agreed you can take action.

The buyer is obliged to pay the agreed price unless they have good reason not to do so.  If they claim a reason they must communicate it.Business debts image

If you are in a dispute with your buyer and do not know where to turn next contact Nick at Sentinels.  I am an experienced solicitor who has experience in disputes both contractual and relating to negligence.

I understand small businesses and the need to take a commercial approach to do what is best for a business.  It may be that a letter from a solicitor is all it takes to get your money.  In other cases we may need to go further.

Suing the buyer for breach of contact is usually the last resort and if you want to avoid legal proceedings there are alternatives such as mediation or adjudication.  I would be happy to explore these with you.

For debts up to £10,000 any claim in the courts would be in the small claims court.  You would not be exposed to the costs of the other side if you lost your case but you would not be able to recover anything other than very limited fixed legal costs if you won.  Sentinels are experienced in working on a no win no fee basis and I would be happy to consider your claim on this basis.

If you just want an informal chat call me on the number or leave a message via the contact form.

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Section 75 Consumer Credit Act

Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader you have bought goods or services from.Consumer credit image

If the trader has failed to deliver the goods or services you paid for, gone bust, or what they have delivered is not adequate you can ask the credit card company to refund the money you paid for the goods and services.  It could be a holiday or new bathroom or car.

The goods or services must be worth between £100 and £30,000 and you must have paid for some of it (say £100) on your credit card.  You do not have to have paid for it all on your credit card and you are still entitled to repayment in full from your credit card.  Your credit card company may then decide to pursue the retailer or trader in your place.

Likewise, you don’t have to have reached a stalemate with the retailer or trader before you can contact your credit card provider.  You can make a claim to both the retailer and credit card provider at the same time.

This is useful if the trader is not responding to your complaints or communications.

Section 75 applies to foreign transactions as well as goods bought online, by telephone or mail order for delivery to the UK from overseas.

You need to simply write a letter.  If your credit card company declines your claim you could complain.  If that does not work you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

If you need any help with any of these steps or with section 75 generally please contact Nick at Sentinels Solicitors by telephone or using the contact form on this site.  I am an experienced solicitor and am here to help!

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Jet2.com, FlyBe, WizzAir and Ryanair flight delays

These airlines have been delaying dealing with claims for delayed flights arguing that they want to wait for a decision to be made in a case proceeding in the European Court (Van der Lans v KLM).  Jet2 have recently tried to extend a stay (putting the case on hold) for this reason in Allen v Jet2 but the Judge in Liverpool County Court refused to extend the stay saying “Justice delayed is justice denied.”  Allen’s claim will now progress.  Jet2, FlyBe, WizzAir and Ryanair have all been arguing for stays to apply to the claims made against whilst they wait for the decision in Van der Lans v KLM but since in Allen’s case this was refused they may have to rethink.

If you have been delayed for over 3 hours and flew out of an EU country (any airline) or into an EU country (with an EU airline) you may be entitled to compensation.  Airlines will often delay and deny your claim in the hope you will go away. Legal proceedings may be necessary.  If you need legal assistance call Nick at Sentinels Solicitors Ltd or complete the contact form.  I am a senior solicitor who will handle your claim personally and I am very user friendly!

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