Many investors across the UK have been promised guaranteed returns from their Aston Darby car park investment, only to be left wondering how to get their money back.
Much like the Park First scandal, investors are becoming increasingly worried about ever seeing any of their investment again, after not being warned about the risks.
Here, we provide information on your next steps if you have invested into this unregulated scheme and worried about losing all of your money.
Who are Aston Darby?
Aston Darby are a car park investment firm, who offer unregulated investments in airport car parking spaces. The firm was incorporated on 10th March 2017, with Company’ House listing the sole company director as Leigh Heywood.
The company is currently active and are still looking for investors, as of April 1st 2020.
Aston Darby’s head office is located at 63-65 Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 4QR.
What is Aston Darby’s offering?
Aston Darby’s website states that they offer a “unique opportunity to invest in parking spaces at Glasgow City with guaranteed high yield returns paid upfront.”
From previous marketing material we know that investors were asked to fork out £25,000 for one of these car park spaces and were also promised the first two years’ worth of income – £5,500 – upfront as soon as they handed their cash over to Aston Darby.
Aston Darby also guaranteed an 11% return for at least three years on the investments. They claimed that any unwanted car parking spaces will be bought back after five years for the full amount or, after ten years, for the 125% of the amount invested.
Aston Darby, since their incorporation, have offered plots of land at Glasgow Airport, Paisley, Harbour Road,PA3 4DB, operated by My Easy Park, and a Manchester Airport car park at Lode Hill, Altrincham Road, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4LH.
Currently, their only investment offering is at Glasgow.
What are the issues with Aston Darby Car Parks?
- Only suitable to high net-worth, sophisticated investors
These car park investments are unregulated and extremely high-risk. Neither the business nor the any of the agents selling the deals are regulated by the FCA. Many of these agents are selling plots of land for up to 10% commission and may be using hard sales tactics to influence unsuitable people to invest.
The “guaranteed” yield may not come and investors risk losing every penny of their investment. If this happened, neither The Financial Ombudsman Service nor the Financial Service Compensation Scheme would be able to help.
A spokesperson for the FCA has since said that the watchdog views all unregulated investments as scams.
Due to their high-risk nature, these sorts of investments are only suited to experienced, wealthy investors. In their marketing, Aston Darby twice referred to these investments as “low-risk”. Any single-asset investment which offers 11% per annum yields is definitely not low-risk.
It is also relatively easy for Aston Darby to offer the first two years’ income as soon as an investor hands over £25,000. The main question comes after this 2-year “guaranteed yield”, how much will the investor receive? The answer is based off the continued rent of the car park space, which can never be guaranteed, and how much the investment can then be sold on for.
In addition to this, while the investment is a tangible asset, like property, the car park space is only useful for parking cars in. The value of this investment is, therefore, intrinsically linked to a secondary business. In the event of the failure of the car parking business – My Easy Park – the value of the investment as land is next to nothing.
All of these issues combined create a very high-risk investment which is not suitable for most investors.
We can also see complaints from clients as recently as February 2020 which have not been dealt or even acknowledged. These complaints talk of a “muddy field” at Manchester Airport rather than a car park, and issues with nobody replying to emails or phone calls.
How can Claim Experts help?
Have you invested in one of Aston Darby’s car park schemes? Our mis-sold investment team may be able to help you recover some of your lost money.
If you have invested into a car parking scheme like this, and were promised guaranteed or high-returns but those returns have never come, you may be entitled to compensation. Mis-selling through unregulated investments is increasing, and we are seeing stories like Aston Darby’s every single day.
Every investment comes with risk, but if you were not warned about the high-risk nature of this investment and you have lost money, we could help you get some of that money back. If your claim is upheld, you’ll be entitled to compensation.
Our legal team come from a financial services and compliance background. We have experience of bringing successful claims against those who mis-sell investments to unsuitable investors. We are regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation.
At ClaimExperts.co.uk we make claiming for compensation easy:
- No Win, No Fee*
- No Upfront Payments
- An Expert Team
- Regulated and Authorised by The Solicitors Regulation Authority
If you would like to speak to one of our UK mis-sold investment solicitors, you can do by calling 0800 0155 687, or by completing an enquiry form.
Please be aware that a company called Great British Estates was also involved in the scheme to sell investments in the car park near Manchester Airport. These were offered as the same £25,000 price, with an 8% yield in the first two years and a projected 12% in years five and six.
It has since transpired that Aston Darby may have links to this company. A company called Miller Heywood Ltd was named as the parent company of affiliates of Great British Estates. Its director, Christopher Miller, formed Drake Estates Property Company as a vehicle to buy and develop the car park. Mr Miller has since told The Mirror that he no longer has any “direct involvement” with Drake Estates, saying it is owned by another company, The Aston Darby Group.
The Mirror contacted Aston Darby about the connection in July 2018 but had no response.