LONDON (July 31, 2013) — Almost 500 customers of RCI Europe (Resort Condominiums International), part of the global Wyndham Worlwide Group, have commenced and served proceedings in the High Court in London against RCI for breach of trust and contract in relation to the scheme run by RCI for the exchange of timeshares.
RCI claims to be the global leader in timeshare exchanges but the proceedings claim that RCI is removing (skimming off) valuable timeshare products from the scheme for its own commercial use. Customers understand, however, that the scheme is a mutual scheme for the exchange of timeshares with all timeshares being put into a pot to be shared amongst members.
The proceedings in London reflect a similar class action in the United States which was eventually settled by RCI.
Zahira Hussain of Edwin Coe LLP, solicitors for the Claimants, said “Customers of RCI understand that if they put their timeshare into the RCI scheme they will be able to exchange it for similar timeshares which are those of other members. In fact the claimants understand that RCI remove many timeshares from the scheme for their own commercial purposes. The Claimants in the High Court believe that this is a breach of trust and contract.
RCI says that it is entitled to remove timeshares under the terms and conditions in the brochure. The Claimants believe, however, that RCI is not entitled to rely on a few words in a brochure to overcome a fundamental understanding of customers as to what is done with their timeshares.”
The proceedings have been served and RCI will be due to respond to them during August.
Edwin Coe LLP is best known for its work in representing large groups of consumers and shareholders as well as acting for small retailers on competition issues; it represented 50,000 Railtrack shareholders in their claim against the Government; 32,000 convenience store owners in their successful challenge against the OFT; and private shareholders in Northern Rock. It has recently settled a claim for consumers against major banks, including GE Money, relating to timeshare fraud. It successfully represented UK small businesses in the judicial review challenge to a change in the VAT scheme in the Channel Islands. It also recently acted for convenience stores in proceedings relating to the distribution of newspapers and magazines in the UK.