We report on the long-awaited MacDonald Resorts Ltd [MRL] Trial which entered, yet another phase of argument which spilt over into the Small Claims Track of the County Court in Manchester on Tuesday the 15th of August 2017. The trial was set and did conclude in the allotted 2 days however the judgement was reserved but will be delivered sometime later and after just consideration.
Let us quickly refresh the memories.
MacDonald’s resorts assisted by Harry Taylor decided to take off timeshare owners all their “fixed week” timeshares giving them in exchange a flexible “points system” based timeshare. If the consumers did not like the change they could leave the club, however, upon leaving the consumers were expected to pay a £2,200 penalty.
¾ of that penalty would be paid to MacDonalds, whilst the other ¼ would be given to the club.
Therefore, in these resorts, you pay to get into a timeshare, then forced to accept changes you don’t want and then you pay to get out of club rules you never agreed to.
Many consumers left the clubs and paid the fine, whilst others said “no”- “you’re not changing our club” and “we will not pay your fine”.
The disgruntled timeshare owners group coined the phrase that the MRL action was effectively a “land grab” and Harry Taylors TATOC which was in part financed by MRL stated that it was a “groundbreaking” therefore “would support the initiative”. Upon this news, many consumers banded together to pursue MacDonald Resorts and for compensation.
The MRL Action Group was formed in 2015 was headed by Robert Webber. A committee was elected, money was pledged and the fight was on. A claim was made in Spain as a test case,e which failed and is subject to an appeal and in respect to the UK resorts, letters were exchanged between the parties.
MacDonalds then selected 3 consumers focused on them and issued 3 small claims in the county court. Two were stayed, whilst one advanced. The purpose was to ensure that the issue could be argued, considered and adjudicated upon, to save potential costs. However, in the small claims track, the judgements are not binding on any other advancing claims.
In attendance at the small claim trial were Solicitors and Counsel for the MRL and the consumer group.
Both argued will and in front of an appointed specialist Judge. Each side provided a competent witness who delivered they evidence well and articulately. After submissions from both sides, the judgement was reserved as not enough time was allocated.
Therefore, we will have to wait for a short while, for the verdict to be handed down.
Mr Bradly Pomfret [acting counsel for the consumers] explained “the issues argued were very complex” and refused to comment on the potential outcome.
In this case, MRL issued proceeding in the small claims track. which is generally not the right track to have a complex legal scrap. Timeshare contracts by their very nature are complex therefore, they ought to have been placed in the “fast” or “multi-track” however it appears both the Defendant and the Claimant were content to run the case through the Small Claims track, as it reduced the potential exposure of an adverse Costs order.
We have elected not to offer an opinion on the trial or discuss the matter until the judgement is delivered.
Posted on: 22nd August 2017