Featured on BBC One’s Northern Justice & Morning Live



BBC One’s Northern Justice - TLW Solicitors win compensation for hotel scam victim

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Members of TLW Solicitors’ financial mis-selling team featured in a BBC1 documentary series, ‘Northern Justice’, highlighting the invaluable work solicitors do for their clients.

Episode 2 of the BBC One series shows how TLW solicitor Emily Barr helped her client, Barrie Preston from South Shields, recover his life savings after he was conned into investing in a Turkish hotel scam.

Mr Preston started saving into a pension scheme as soon as he left school and began working. As the years went by, he knew that the physical nature of his job meant that he would be unable to work into old age, so he was keen to have enough money put aside for early retirement. He was cold-called one day by a firm of unregulated financial advisers, who promised high returns if he invested money from his pension pot.

As is typical with these types of scams, Mr Preston was offered a free pension review and persuaded to transfer £47,000 into a scheme investing in a hotel complex in Turkey. The investment would mean he owned a share of a hotel bedroom, and he was promised rental income payments when the room was booked out to tourists.

For the first couple of years, the investment appeared to be going to plan and Mr Preston received a few thousand pounds in payments. But they suddenly stopped, and Mr Preston suspected there might be a problem.

He discovered that the investment had to make a profit before he received any money, something that hadn’t been explained clearly at the time he made the investment. The company that managed the Turkish hotel complex then left the UK and the financial adviser who arranged the investment went out of business.

Mr Preston was understandably extremely distressed as he knew his money could be lost putting his pension plans in jeopardy, and so he sought urgent help. He rang many different financial advisers, but none could assist. One, however, put him in touch with TLW Solicitors and Emily Barr was soon on the case.

Emily and the TLW financial mis-selling team helped Mr Preston find and understand the paper trail created when he invested in the Turkish hotel complex. Next, they had to work out what had happened to his money and how they might get it back. Mr Preston didn’t have any other savings or assets he could fall back on, so it was critical that the TLW team did everything they could to help.

Emily quickly realised that Mr Preston’s money had been transferred into a SIPP – a Self-Invested Personal Pension. But rather than Mr Preston owning a physical portion of a hotel room, he ended up owning shares in a company that turned out to be worthless. The SIPP company did not carry out sufficient due diligence checks – had they done so, they would have realised that Mr Preston’s investment was high risk and unsuitable for his needs. The investment should never have been allowed to go ahead.

Emily started pursuing a claim against the SIPP company, but not long after, the company went into administration. Costly Court action was not an option for Mr Preston, so she decided to pursue a claim on his behalf through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS is a lifeboat scheme set up by the Government to reimburse customers if they have lost out as a result of an FCA-regulated company’s failure.

It was deemed that the Turkish hotel investment should never have been allowed to happen and that Mr Preston should be fully reimbursed. Emily knew Mr Preston had been very badly affected, financially, emotionally and mentally, and she knew what the verdict would mean to him.

In the programme, Mr Preston said to Emily:

“I’m over the moon…if it hadn’t been for you and the team I don’t know where I’d have turned. Thank you very much, the little man has won.”

He added:

“Emily was an absolute star – she literally changed my life.”

Mr Preston’s financial future is back on track once again and he can look forward to enjoying a secure retirement with his family.
Each of the episodes of BBC One’s Northern Justice series that members of TLW Solicitors feature in can be found on BBC iPlayer.

TLW Solicitors has a specialist team that deals with FSCS compensation claims just like Mr Preston’s. As the claims process is so complex, TLW’s expertise allows us to navigate the requirements on our client’s behalf – we specialise in getting the best results for anyone making an FSCS claim.

If you feel that you or a loved one weren’t given the right pension or investment advice, please contact us and we can talk through your options.

Call us on 0800 169 5925 or use our online forms below and our team will contact you for an initial, no-obligation discussion.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible as strict time limits can apply.

Peter McKenna

“We were delighted to have been chosen by the BBC to feature in the North Justice series. The series will highlight the invaluable work that the team at TLW and other lawyers in the region do for our clients.”

“I’m over the moon…if it hadn’t been for Emily and her team I don’t know where I’d have turned. Thank you very much, the little man has won.”

Mr Preston