Estate agents appointed to sell Slaley Hall timeshare lodges despite ongoing arbitration
Bristol based timeshare company Seasons Holidays accused of foul play by appointing estate agents to sell the lodges, despite arbitration process not having reached conclusion
Seasons Holidays in the media
Seasons have been reported on many times in the last few years, and often for the alleged mistreatment of clients. In November 2020 they were first accused of trying to “push out elderly members” from the Slaley Hall lodges, in what some suspected was an attempt to cash in on the suddenly increased value British holiday accommodation. Several media sources reported on the case, including award winning BBC consumer program You and Yours.
Next, Andrew and Wendy Wilkinson went to the media, claiming Seasons were reneging on a £25,000 deal that was supposed to give their family all year round access to the facilities at Clowance Estate & Country Club. Media picked up on the story, and Seasons ended what Andrew Wilkinson described as a 5 year battle by reinstating the Wilkinsons’ agreed access.
Three months later, Stirlingshire couple Joe and Linda Ashby made national news after revealing that a high pressure sales presentation at a ‘free holiday’ at a Seasons property in Scotland triggered a chain of events which they claimed at the time led to financial devastation. Within 2 years, the Ashbys had lost the timeshare, their home, and were left with a £21,000 debt.
Slaley Hall Lodges
Seasons and their unhappy customers traded blows in the media, with Seasons seemingly determined to sell the Lodges which members had paid to use until 2069. Furious owners have spoken out to media including the BBC and ITV on their frustration with Seasons, and the Hurley family who own the company. Tim Norman, a 53 hotelier from Bridlington and long time Slaley Hall Lodge owner was among many voices accusing the Hurleys of manipulating the club constitution by having their son Jack appointed as an ‘independent’ board member. Jack promptly voted along with his parents on a motion to sell the lodges out from under the club members who had paid to use them for another 47 years.
Clare D’Agostino, who has been coming to SHL. “We all love it. My brother Alan, his wife and son are all golfers and they expected to be enjoying Slaley for the foreseeable future. Alan can not get his head around the fact we may be cheated out of it.
“My 86 year old mum, Vera, is both upset and furious at the injustice of what Seasons are doing. We still can’t work out how it is being allowed to happen. It is so wrong that Seasons can infiltrate the committee and abuse their position to engineer the sale of the lodges. It’s disgraceful, disappointing and upsetting.”
The lodge owners story was again taken up by several media outlets and the owners staged a fightback, hiring a legal team.
The Legal Action Group sent the following message to members in April 2022:
As you know, on 14 March an arbitration notice regarding the legality of the wind up was issued to a number of Respondents, including Hutchinson Trustees and SHLL.
We expect a legal arbitrator to be appointed in the coming weeks.
As per Clause 26 of the SHOC Constitution, the appointment of the arbitrator should be agreed by the parties involved or, if this is not possible, is appointed by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (upon application).
The Legal Action Group.
Without waiting for the arbitration results however Slaley Hall Lodges have been put up for sale by Hutchinson Trustees.
Hutchinson are believed by many members to be acting in the interest of Seasons Holidays and their associated companies. A flurry of media announced that the lodges are being sold by estate agents Avison Young, although since it became clear that the arbitration process is still ongoing, they have removed listings from Rightmove.
Lodge owners on Facebook are incensed that the lodges are being advertised as for sale while the arbitration process is still ongoing.
Speaking about a media article in which the properties are described as ‘former timeshare lodges’, one owner, CD says “They are not former timeshare lodges we still own our lodges and the club has not wound up so they cannot be sold unencumbered we still have our leases till 2069 and have the certificates to prove it.”
Another owner, HM, said: “They should not be marketing them and I suspect they’re continuing to partly as part of their ongoing intimidate/suppress the masses tactics.”
Tim Norman, himself a long time visitor to Slaley Hall Lodges commented “I would like to see the management company and respondents act professionally and respect the arbitration process.”
Daniel Keating, information officer for the Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) commented: “We hope that the Slaley Hall Lodge owners are treated fairly and their contracts respected. If anything underhand has happened to subvert the constitution, then we also hope that the person or persons responsible will be brought to justice.”
If you have a timeshare related issue or question, get in touch with the TCA for free, confidential advice.
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First published on MyNewsDesk April 2022