Over the past few years many consumers have been caught up on land-banking scams. These are scams where sales men often make over inflated promises that plots of land that their companies own are good investments and are guaranteed planning permission etc.
These promises are often backed up by marketing literature which promises exceptional gains for little investment. Often the plots would cost around £10-25,0000 and would be subject to a pressure selling which involved a deposit being taken, usually on a credit card.
Once the plots have been sold, the customer wouldnt have any immediate expectations, as the terms over which financial gains were said to be expected were such that it is normally 3-5 years before any returns would be expected.
However, in 3-5 years the consumers were in for a shock, as not only were the plots not a good investment, not only were the plots never ever guaranteed to get planning permission, often the companies had gone bust when the consumer realised they’ve been stuffed up by the sales man and the promises were false.
Most consumers seem to be of the view that they’ve lost their money and thats that. However, that is plainly wrong, as the case of Mal’ouf v MBNA shows. The case of Mal’ouf was a case which QualitySolicitors Howlett Clarke dealt with, it came before HHJ Halbert in Chester County Court and the Judge ruled in Mrs Mal’oufs favour, ordering the return of the monies paid to the landbanking company.
Well Mrs Mal’ouf had used her credit card with MBNA to pay the deposit for the plots. As each plot deposit was over £100 and less than £30,000 Mrs Mal’ouf was protected by the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Section 75 Consumer Credit Act allows a consumer to seek redress from the credit card provider where the consumer has been subject to either a breach of contract or misrepresentation by the supplier. Now section 75 is not straight forward, and care should be taken before launching proceedings against a bank, however if you have purchased a plot of land which was subject to guarantees and which was sold with a promise of planning permission, and you used a credit card (not debit) to pay the deposit, then you may be able to recover all of the money you have lost, plus interest, from the credit card provider under s75(1) Consumer Credit Act 1974
For more information please get in touch with me at the firm QualitySolicitors Howlett Clarke