The directors of Warwickshire firm Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd have been found guilty of scamming consumers by using high pressurised sales tactics to persuade consumers to sign timeshare contracts.
The scam, which was carried out by the directors of Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd, Andrew Harris, and David Evans, involved the sale of ‘fractional ownership’ in three £250,000 yachts moored at Marmaris in Turkey.
Consumers were cold-called and told that they had ‘won’ a holiday and were encouraged to attend a presentation so they could receive their ‘prize’. In reality, there was no free holiday and consumers were subjected to high pressurised timeshare sales pitches which often lasted over four hours. During these sales pitches, consumers were convinced that they would be making an ‘investment’ by agreeing to purchase a 1/200th share in a yacht. They were told that they could either have the yacht for one week a year for 25 years or receive income from it by allowing Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd to rent out their week. Consumers had to make a decision there and then and weren’t given the opportunity to take away contract documents for consideration.
An investigation took place by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service and it was reported that consumers had paid approximately £10,000 each for the timeshare contract and agreed to pay maintenance fees of £399 per year which could increase to around £3,000 per year by the end of the 25 years.
Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd left an estimated 100 victims in their wake and left one couple almost £35,000 in debt after selling them a share in one boat they had never even sailed on.
On Tuesday 11 June 2013, at Leamington Justice Centre the directors of Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd and its directors, Andrew Harris and David Evans were found guilty of fraudulent trading and another ten counts of breaching the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations following a jury trial. Later in the year, Andrew Harris was jailed for four and half years and David Evans received a 21-month sentence, suspended for two years. The company, Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd, was ordered to repay £255,988 confiscation order, with £21,731 being used to compensate victims.
Sentencing the two men, Judge Parker said: “Mr. Harris ran what can only be described as a fraud factory in Hatton, where customers were processed in industrial numbers (…). Mr. Harris is a dishonest, selfish and greedy man (…) he used Mr. Evans in the way he used other people”.
If you or anyone you know has been mis-sold a timeshare contract by Shakespeare Classic Line Ltd, get in touch with Timeshare Help. We could help terminate maintenance fees and make a claim to get your money back. We work on a no win no fee basis so if we are unsuccessful you don’t need to pay us a penny.