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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32426
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Harwood Associates, via the internet, introduced me to an

Customer Question

Harwood Associates, via the internet, introduced me to an investment project, namely, Thistleton . Thistleton Estate is, in their words, a select development of 6 superior executive homes in a courtyard setting in one of the North West’s most affluent areas. The estate is part of a 200 acre agricultural site in the hamlet of Thistleton, which is located between Greenhalgh and Great Eccleston to the Northwest of Preston in Lancashire.
My investment in this project was to buy three (the minimum number} preference shares making a total investment of £5,961.0p.
Estate Limited.
Thistleton Estates say that this project is anticipated to generate 14.27% profit within 12 months’ time. That is to say that when, (and more appropriately if) the properties were to be sold within 12 months, also at the recommended prices, then my shares would be worth 14.27% more
I received the share certificate showing three fully paid up preference shares of £1,987.00p each on the 21st of May 2015.
After a three year wait receiving nothing except excuses, mainly as to why the last property couldn’t be sold I received the following:-
Dear *****,
“As this SPV has now reached its 3 year redemption date, I do have some options for you that you may wish to consider.
1. You remain a shareholder and wait until the final asset has been fully disposed of. When this has happened, we will do a full reconciliation of the SPV, which will determine the profit per share. I cannot advise of an exit date as it stands.
2. You exit and redeem your shares at cost. Ultimately taking out what you put in back in 2015.
3. You exit at cost and transfer to one of our bonds. We currently offer 6% per annum with interest paid monthly and 8% per annum with interest paid annually. As a gesture of good will, given the time escalated, I can offer you 8% with monthly payments and 10% with an annual payment, which would be fixed for 1 year”.
Please carefully consider your options and let me know your thoughts at your convenience.
My answer to that email was number 2 and on the morning of, 28th July, I received their reaction which was as follows:-
Dear *****,
Unfortunately Peter has declined all early exits from SPVs, therefore this is no longer an option.
Apologies for the inconvenience caused.

My first question is, did they miss-sell me those shares by not mentioning the fact that Gas fracking was going on in that area?
My second question is as follows: if they first give me an option by email that allows me to opt-out with no profit, or stay as we were awaiting for a sale regardless, or re-invest into one of their other investments, can they, when I go for the opt-out choice withdraw that option altogether? Does that mean that they won’t pay out unless I go for one of their other suggestions?
Do you think Harwood Associates have a case to answer ?
I have all the paper work including all the emails that have passed back and forth between us including the option questions and the final withdrawal. Can you help me? I can travel across to where-ever you would like me to, if you feel that you can help me.

To me this sounds like it’s very unfair if they can do this kind of deal. I gave them my money to invest for me in the building of those properties. If they can do this to me now, then it means that anyone can ask for investment, then renege on the pay-out because one of the properties is not sold. Or in other words if they do not sell one of their properties, then they will never have to pay out the share profits? They have had a hold of my money for three years now! How many others have they or are they doing this to?

Yours very sincerely, ***** ***** email address is as follows:-(*****@******.***
Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: I have talked to a TV programme called "Rip Off Britain" and they just said that they have too much to do and I am talking from Kingston Upon Hull, in East Yorkshire.
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: This is it, I'm afraid!
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: That I don't know much about Financial Law and investing.

Detail Required: HIGH

Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Miles Bentley replied 6 months ago.


I am qualified Solicitor with over 19 Years experience in the UK.

I need a little more information to assist you with your question.

This matter is too complex and detailed for me to deal with via messages, I am however happy to advise over the telephone, are you able to take a live telephone call now?