Law firm Edwin Coe LLP, acting for a 500 strong consumer group bringing a multi-million pound class action lawsuit against timeshare exchange company RCI Europe, asked Bell Yard to maximise publicity for the case in advance of its High Court hearing in order to increase the pressure on the respondent.
Working with some of the test claimants’ stories and the claim documentation, we were able to secure coverage in The FT, The Times, Money Mail (personal finance section of the Daily Mail), and several trade publications such as Travel Weekly, Estates Gazette and Hospitality.Net. Bell Yard also secured airing of the issue on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, requiring RCI to engage.
The claimants alleged breach of contract by RCI Europe due to its practice of “skimming off” premium timeshare properties from the exchange pool for profit. As a result of which, claimants said they were rarely, if at all, able to exchange their right to their property, for an alternative property of the same ‘value’ which significantly reduced the attraction to them of holding a timeshare and ran contrary to what they were told when being enticed at the sales stage.
The publicity generated in this case helped expose RCI’s modus operandi in the opaque world of timeshare exchange and potentially reached many more frustrated holiday makers who might be owed rightful compensation. Although the judgment handed down in October 2016 found RCI was in breach of contract and had misled its members, the test claimants were not found to have proved individual loss. Edwin Coe is therefore considering an appeal on this issue.