The issue of landbanking is something which is generally overlooked by most of the main stream media. What is landbanking? well in a nutshell, companies were set up to purchase large sites of green belt land with a view to splitting them up and selling them to “investors”.
Often the customers were told wild and outrageous things, such as Planning was guaranteed, or that because the plot was included in the “SHALAA” that it would mean it would be developed. The marketing materials made numerous claims too, such as the company applied strict criteria to the land they purchased to ensure that the best returns were made. Also, that the company was “experts in land” and numerous other untruths.
As a result, consumers were fleeced and left with plots of land that not even a farmer would put a cow in to graze on, and in some cases, the customer was down by £6,000 anywhere up to £300,000. Whats more, some of these schemes were Collective Investment schemes, which were unauthorised and therefore unlawful as a result of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
Many clients paid using their credit cards but unfortunately it seems are unaware that they may be able to pursue a claim against the Credit card company using section 75(1) Consumer Credit Act 1974 if there was either a breach of contract or misrepresentation. Section 75 gives the Consumer a like Claim against the creditor in certain circumstances, and therefore it may be worth looking into if you have purchased a plot of land from a company who made such promises.
I have had some excellent successes with recovering monies using s75(1) Consumer Credit Act. There are two helpful cases to consider in this area. Firstly Mal’ouf v MBNA Limited and secondly Parker v Walker
There is also the Judgment of Justice Smith in the Asset Land Landbanking matter where the FSA as it was then shut down Asset Land for running an Unauthorised Collective Investment Scheme.
If you have been duped by such a company then do seek legal advice.