ASA tell Highland Titles stop using Glencoe
Highland Titles have yet again been shown up for lying to the public. An official ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority has said they must stop saying the land they are ‘selling’ is in Glencoe as it is not. The Wood titled ‘Glencoe Wood’ is in Duror.
Please see the full ASA ruling here >
People have been thinking they were buying land in Glencoe, an area with a massive emotional connection; it’s heartbreaking history with the Glencoe Massacre and it’s incredible beauty which is an iconic image of Scotland. To use the word ‘Glencoe’ is consciously piggybacking on this, which has clearly worked well for Highland Titles but at last the ASA has caught up with them and finally Highland Titles has been forced to stop.
For many this is too late, some customers think they bought land in Glencoe and wanted their ashes scattered on it, or as a final resting place for a loved one. Many many people have bought a square foot thinking they were preserving Glencoe. Some wanted the title and thought this was real.
So will this finally stop people being able to use the ‘title’ Laird/Lord/Lady of Glencoe? Will this now have to be Laird/Lord/Lady of Glencoe Wood? slightly less impressive. I’m not sure – as people don’t have to own land to give themselves titles like these, it’s probably another legal loophole.
What people thought they were buying
What they are actually buying
A team of legal minds came together on twitter to look at the legality of buying a square foot of land in Scotland and came to the conclusion that at most what people were actually buying was the promise that this foot of land in ‘Glencoe Wood’ wouldn’t be built on and if it was they could sue Highland Titles for £29.99, oh and a shiny tin with a few bits of paper. They went as far as calling it a potentially multi million pound con. These souvenir plots could be sold over and over again making an incredible amount of money.
Andy Whiteman, who literally wrote the book ‘Who Owns Scotland’ wrote this article ‘Who Owns Lord Glencoe’s Plot’: http://www.andywightman.com/archives/4152
Scots Law Blog: http://www.scotslawblog.com/scots-law/scots-property-law-souvenir-plot-ownership-social-media-best/
Malcolm Combe, Lawyer: https://storify.com/MalcolmCombe/buy-land-in-scotland-style-yourself-as-lord-or-lad
Giles Peaker, Lawyer: http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/2015/02/naughty-step-low-road-edition/
In Scotland you cannot own land without your name being listed on the land registry. If your name is not on it, you do not own land in Scotland (https://www.ros.gov.uk/services/ownership-search). So who owns Glencoe Wood? Well it’s Peter Bevis owner of Highland Titles. What Highland Titles (Peter Bevis) did was buy a bit of land in Duror and just call it Glencoe Wood. By being based in the Chanel Islands – yes Highland Titles doesn’t even run from Scotland! they slip through many a legal loophole and get out of paying any tax to Scotland.
Sadly Highland Titles are still managing to get away with selling ‘souvenior’ plots, and has set up a couple of other companies doing the same thing under different names selling pretend Scottish land and pretend Irish land. Highland Titles insist that all their customers understand this and are happy with it. They have been changing the copy on their website and advertising. So you can no longer see on the Highland Titles FAQ page under ‘Is This Really Legal’.
“You are truly purchasing a Scottish Highland Estate in Glencoe, Scotland”
So who does own and preserve Glencoe?
Highland Titles do not. Ironically all the area around Glencoe Wood is protected land, the only bit that isn’t is ‘Glencoe Wood’ which can be sold at any time.