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Veronica Johnson.  "Hilton and Barclays left me in huge financial difficulties"
Veronica Johnson. "Hilton and Barclays left me in huge financial difficulties"

Press release -

£27k nightmare of Croydon grandmother "mis-sold timeshare" by Hilton rep who "played on faith in Barclays"

Relationships between timeshare sales operations and credit providers under scrutiny again, following the Barclays Partner Finance/Azure scandal. Veronica Johnson's finances devastated by high pressure sales tactics in Portugal

Enticing holiday

65 year old executive assistant Veronica was offered a £99 holiday by timeshare giant Hilton back in 2011. The Brit knew she would have to do a timeshare presentation as part of the deal but felt safe from any kind of high pressure or trickery, as the offer came from international hotel giant Hilton.

"I wasn't closed minded, but I knew I probably couldn't afford to join any holiday club," says Veronica. "I was divorced by then and bringing up 4 children. Luxuries were few and far between because I put my children first. That's why this cheap holiday seemed like such a godsend. I took a girlfriend with me and she accompanied me on the presentation.

Hours of high pressure

"The woman who showed us around kept us for hours. She really wore us down," recalls Veronica. "We kept telling her we couldn't afford to join the timeshare, but she wouldn't take no for an answer. I have never felt under such pressure.

"We were both determined not to spend money we couldn't afford, especially in a foreign country. But for the whole morning this woman was surrounding us with luxury and telling us we deserved it. She put a lot of energy into convincing us both we could afford it.

"The fact that Barclays was attaching its name to the project as credit providers was really hammered home. The sales woman kept saying: 'If Barclays are involved, you know you can trust the project.' Eventually we agreed we wanted to join but knew we couldn't afford it. Again Barclays was invoked.

"In the end she convinced me I could manage the payments by saying 'if the loan is approved, that means Barclays believe you can afford it.' I allowed myself to be convinced and filled in the application paperwork.

Veronica says the sales rep coached her on how to fill in the paperwork which was approved in minutes. "I never got any loan approved so quickly in my life," recalls Veronica. "My friend applied too, and was turned down for finance. The sales woman was relentless, pushing me to act as guarantor for the second loan. I declined, thank goodness."

Quick decision, a decade of financial misery

Veronica took a loan for around £17,000 over ten years. "It worked out that I paid over £27,000 by the time I finished," she admits.  "Paying the payments meant I couldn't afford to use the actual timeshare.  I gave one holiday to one daughter, and a holiday to another daughter, but that was it.  I've never used it myself.  In the end I had to just give it back.  I couldn't afford to pay the maintenance fees or flights as well as keeping up the payments."

Veronica paid £27,000 for a timeshare she never even got to use herself.  "I had always planned to pay off my mortgage before retirement," the conscientious Surrey homeowner says.  "But now I'm 65 and having to work past retirement age, because I still have 7 years mortgage payments left."

Unholy alliances

"Links between reputable credit providers and high pressure sales operations are coming under more and more scrutiny," says Daniel Keating, Information Officer for the Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA).  "The fact is that timeshare has generally had a less than savoury reputation, and people have made life ruining decisions based on presentations made by high pressure, commission only sales people.

"We know that people abroad, and in a 'holiday' frame of mind are more likely to agree to expensive purchases that they would normally be more careful about.  Big, well known credit providers helping them to finance these decisions adds credibility to the situation and we are hearing stories like Veronica's all the time.  

"Credit providers are rightfully being held responsible for their part in the damage that has been done to people's lives. Already there has been a huge win with Barclays Partner Finance and their involvement with disgraced Maltese timeshare company Azure."

"In the meantime we urge holidaymakers to never sign anything on the day, and to carefully consider your finances before committing to what can be a life altering decision." 

"For advice on this, or any other timeshare related issue, please get in touch with our team, for free, confidential, expert advice."

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Timeshare Consumer Association.  Contact us on: T: +44 2036704588 or +44 2035193808 (ask for Daniel), E: enquiries@timeshareadvice.org (Address to Daniel).  

WhatsApp (message only) +447586871055

TCA provides a central resource of consumer information on timeshare matters for the media and other organisations – We work towards encouraging responsible, honest, timeshare operators.  We also publicly expose negative consumer practices and organisations which operate in a manner detrimental to timeshare buyers and owners.

An important part of our mission is to lobby UK and European Governments and regulatory bodies for improved consumer protection in the timeshare environment and collect information on frauds and mis-selling, for action by enforcement authorities.

We are staffed by former and current timeshare owners, as well as former timeshare industry staff.  We know our way around the timeshare business

Timeshare Consumer Association Newsdesk here

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Timeshare Consumer Association website here

    We are a proud member of the UK Small Charities Coalition  

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    Free, expert, impartial timeshare advice since 1997

    Timeshare Consumer Association. Contact us on: T: 01908881058 (ask for Daniel), E: enquiries@timeshareadvice.org (Address to Daniel).
    WhatsApp (message only) +447586871055

    The Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) was started in 1997 by Sandy Grey, a timeshare owner himself, who became sick of what he saw as repugnant sales practises in the timeshare industry.
    Sandy ran the website diligently from his home in Blythe, gaining a reputation for integrity and fearlessness at a time when some timeshare companies skirted with criminal behaviour and employed unsavoury characters.
    Sandy was gradually joined by other volunteers, disaffected owners and even former timeshare sales staff, sick of the “dishonesty” in the industry as a whole.
    Over the years, Sandy and his band of volunteers built up a huge volume of consumer testimony and knowledge. TCA became the number one source of impartial, expert advice regarding the latest scams as well as organisations that actually can be trusted.
    Sandy sadly passed away in 2013, but he had started a movement that could not be stopped. Consumers continuously contact us to both ask for and give advice, sharing their experiences to help others stay ahead of the industry scams and pitfalls.
    The information is moderated, assessed and categorised under the watchful eye of director Keith Dewhurst. With Keith at the helm, TCA has become the number one timeshare consumer organisation in the world.
    Whilst there are paid employees, the TCA operates on a shoestring budget, relying on volunteers and donations, though these are never accepted from sources that could compromise the organisation´s integrity.
    With your help, we will continue to hold the timeshare industry to account.
    While there is timeshare we need the Timeshare Consumer Association watching.

    Timeshare Consumer Association provides a central resource of consumer information on timeshare matters for both the media and the public. – We work towards encouraging responsible, honest, timeshare operators. We also publicly expose negative consumer practices and organisations which operate in a manner detrimental to timeshare buyers and owners.

    An important part of our mission is to lobby UK and European Governments and regulatory bodies for improved consumer protection in the timeshare environment and collect information on frauds and mis-selling, for action by enforcement authorities.

    We are staffed by former and current timeshare owners, as well as former timeshare industry staff. We know our way around the timeshare business.

    A proud member of the UK Small Charities Coalition

    Timeshare Consumer Association
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