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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9318
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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There, I have a query regarding failed investment into a

Customer Question

Hi there, I have a query regarding failed investment into a property (land to be developed) and which had been turned into a credit notes as one option later on. Validity of credit notes is just 2 months from now but I think there had been many legal flaws on the way since my investment in 2009. It's a bit longer to explain chronologically i would prefer to copy a full story if someone would be interested, thanks - Karel
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi There - a technical problem here. My 2 email addresses have been rejected with password ***** being used before already. I can't call you as I'm based in Malaysia. My payment had been already processed. Please what to do now?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you able to use my email ads ***@******.***
without my logging in with the password *****?
thanks, Karel
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please can anyone reply to me here how to proceed with communication as your system DOESN't allow me to reset my email password. You won't be able to send me email I am afraid. I have paid for a question already. And I can't use a phone. Thanks.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
Could you explain the situation with regard to the credit notes a little more please? You have posted in UK law. Is the property and the applicable law UK or is it in Malaysia? We can only answer you based upon UK law.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Mr Smith, sorry - to your question: The case is under UK law, I am an EC citizen only now based in Malaysia.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will copy the full resume here once again:
Karel Junek - Dylan Harvey / Harley Scott / Groupfirst Global Investment
In March 2009 I have made an investment with a developers Dylan Harvey Group Ltd into 4 plots of land to be developed next to their Business Centre in Shuttleworth Mead , Padiham. I ordered the property through now non-existing Sales Agents who assured me that after initial deposit of GBP 2,000 I will be issued with Dylan Harvey Sales & Purchase Agreement and the amount invested – GBP 20k (minus initial 2k reservation fee) will be fully refundable if the project fails. Land was supposed to be developed and double the investment “within 36 months from January 2009 when business units would have been built”. Company was hit by a crisis in 2008 and had to sell their Residential branch. They had changed their name to Harley Scott Holdings Ltd and only after one year from ordering date I received a Terms & Conditions in which any deposits were declared as “non-refundable”. I queried them again in April 2012 and they have replied that they “were unable to give me any time scale for completion”. Instead, they sent to me a new Letter with offerings: a) transfer of deposits to ready developments (for a price tag beyond my budget b) transfer my reservation towards “Store pods” units (with additional investment more than doubling the original price) c) accept Credit Notes valid for 3 years usable against alternative property. I had opted for c) and was then issued with another letter, headed “Without Prejudice and subject to Contract”, which I signed 26.6.2013. In this paper there are still my originally designated 4 units per GBP 5k each listed but then they’re cancelled and changed to credit notes “that must be used for multiple purchase of property equivalent of the original purchase price per deposit or if you choose to purchase storepods the minimum investment value will be GBP 40,000”. However, their brochure I was sent later on doesn’t show any storepod of such size/price and there are many cheaper ones. Company failed to explain why I can’t buy a cheaper storepod and the only option was to invest more. Emails are signed by Harley Scott’s employee but meantime, the Organization changed their name again to Groupfirst Global Ltd. It was only in their last Email of Mar 9, 2016 the Groupfirst revealed that my originally ordered units by plot/Block Numbers have been “allocated to 5 properties ( not 4 – as listed originally - and designations not corresponding with whatever was stated in my original Reservation Form), these properties were then cancelled and the funds distributed to another properties.”
In my opinion, I was
1) Misinformed about funds to be non-refundable (it took Dylan Harvey whole year - since I’ve ordered the plots - to let me know this fact by their Terms & Conditions document)
2) They failed to issue me with a proper Sales & Purchase Agreement after initial deposit was paid (which was clearly stated in the Agent’s reservation form)
3) The Letter of 26.6.2013 which offered a credit notes option doesn’t say anything about redistribution of the funds into 5 units – it’s still referring to my original 4 plot numbers. As these were changed later on into something different I think a new Contract should have to follow. I therefore doubt that a Letter with credit notes offer I have signed have much of legal value.
4) I feel I’ve been purposely manipulated into different and much higher investment. I can’t see any reason why should I invest more when there are storepods for GBP 20,000 (and less) available. It was Dylan Harvey who failed to deliver the product I have ordered. At present, Groupfirst had stopped answering my emails. I have lost my job recently and I don’t have extra resources to spend. The Credit Notes are valid just for another 2 months. Please is there any chance to get my investment back?
Thank you, Karel
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
The company cannot take a deposit which is refundable and then partway through the process move the goalposts and say that it’s non-refundable. They also cannot give you a credit note with a limited validity date on. Further, they cannot increase the amount of minimum investment that you need to partake in a development.However the news is not good both with regard to the company in general and the individuals therein. Here is an article on the director. Just because he was found not guilty of fraud does not necessarily mean he didn’t commit fraud, it just means that there was not enough proof to convict him beyond all reasonable doubt.The burden of proof in a civil claim is not so high, it is on the balance of probabilities. You will read here in this article which was updated in 2013 that there are over 30 investors bringing a joint action against the company for the return of deposits. than going it alone you might want to contact the firm mentioned in the article, Pannone who are a large very well respected firm. They will have a lot of background detail and there is more likelihood that you will get a positive result than if you simply issue court proceedings yourself. that any court proceedings you issue would have to be issued in the United Kingdom and unless you are going to be in the United Kingdom to deal with those, you are going to need to use a solicitor. It would make sense to use a solicitor therefore which has background and experience of exactly this matter. It also means that any legal costs are spread widely.Can I clarify anything for you?Please do not forget to rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process.Best WishesFES
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I paid deposit of total sum of GBP 20 k to the Prop Agent (they are not in biz anymore - went bankrupt in 2011 or so) as per their Reservation Form in March 2009. First was a reservation fee GBP 2k/plot of land, i.e GBP 8k (non refundable) and then within 30 days an Installment 4 x GBP 3k = 12,000. Have got all hard copies of transaction and receipt confirmations. There has been nothing said (neither in Reservation Form of sales Agent nor in the Dylan Harvey's Brochure I was sent by the Agent) that the Installment 12 k was not refundable. Agent had informed me that "Dylan Harvey will come with their own in-house Reservation documents in a due course - email dated 31.3.2009.Terms and Cond's itself has got no date shown on it and no space for signature. I received them on 4.2.2010 only (!) together with 4 sheets headed "Land Reservation Form" and these were dated 18.1.2010 and I signed them 5.2.2010. These Forms were issued for 4 specific Plots (parcels) and for a price of GBP 5,000.00 each. In the text there's a statement "Please note that your deposit is non-refundable".
You are right in assuming that they failed to develop the land and were changing the subjects of purchase for higher prices.
In their Letter of 8.4.2012 there were offering the investment options like "ready developments - Offices in Burnley and Liverpool with cost of GBP 89 k", next option were Storepods for GBP 41,250 and last option were credit notes " with a 3 years expiry date that can be used against any alternative property(s) being sold by Harley Scott (their new name) Ltd or an associated company".
The Letter I signed 26.7.2013 changed 4 plots of land for 5 k each for a storepods and added a sentence "Please note that credit note must be used for multiple purchase of property of equivalent value of the original purchase price per deposit or if you choose to purchase storepods the minimum value will be GBP 40k.
It ended up with a Letter of Harley Scott of 31.3.2015 stating that "we are able to offer the purchase of storepods for a value of GBP 40 k and you would be able to use .... your GBP 20k towards this purchase. Included in this purchase would be a 6 years lease, 2 years rental guarantee and Buy Back Option in year 5." It came with a brochure where simply no storepod for a price of GBP 40k can be found.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
it seems that what they are trying to do is get people deeper and deeper in. The more money you part with of course the more you stand to lose and the more difficult it’s going to be to get back what they owe you.One thing appears to be certain and that is that they are most unlikely to simply refund you the deposit or any other money unless you issue proceedings against them. This has been going on now for 6 years and if they can’t complete a development in 6 years, it seems that they are never going to complete it at all.There is no easy way of getting your money back if they will not give it, it’s simply a case of taking them to court. The company may go into liquidation and then the only recourse would be a fraud claim against the directors.Best wishes
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** sense what you're saying. Please of what importance is the expiry date of credit notes in case if I decided to take them to the court? This is a tricky bit I guess and also,being in Malaysia it would became a bit prohibitive for me in terms of expenses if I had to follow the proceedings..
And in their Terms and Conditions there's a statement "If you are not based in the UK then your use of this Information is without the authority of Dylan Harvey which will not be responsible for any loss or liability arising as a result of such unauthorized access under any circumstances". I haven't signed this particular bit - but how would this be interpreted then please?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
The Expiry Date would be considered to be unreasonable under the provisions of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and therefore not enforceable.I would not worry about the part about not being in the UK because the contract is going to be governed by English law and English courts in any event. The thing of course is the you did not have unauthorised access, you had authorised access because they have your money. The phrase doesn’t concern me.Please don’t forget to rate the service when you have a minute.
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9318
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Mr Smith, sorry - I had a trouble to get back online (not related to previous logging issues) and so could read your Answer only now.
Yes, it sounds promisingly what you're saying, I am travelling to Europe next week so packing my case-related paperwork would perhaps make sense :-)
Looking for a proper lawyer would be another thing (I was in few disputes already).
I have also rated your Answers .
Thank you once again!
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
It was a pleasure to help. Thanks for ratingGood luck with your claim. Best wishesFES