The Glencoe name con

Glencoe is considered one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in Scotland, and is a part of the designated National Scenic Area of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe. It is also historically significant. So what would be better than to brush up on the dreary and difficult-to-pronounce title ‘Laird of Lochaber’ by switching to the more fancy ‘Laird of Glencoe’? Well, for some people the fact that the land is not located in Glencoe would be a small impediment, but the Bevis family do not let facts get in the way of business. Hence, they ‘renamed’ a part of the woodland on their Tulloch Estate to ‘Glencoe Wood’, claiming that their customers now had the right to use the title ‘Laird of Glencoe’, which historically, of course, is utter nonsense.

On the other hand, Highland Titles reportedly print whatever place name their customers want on the documents as long as they get their money, so if a customer requests the deeds to be issued to ‘Lord of Australia’, that would not be a problem for Highland Titles. Their excuse is that a customer may ‘rename’ their plot to ‘Australia’ and hence ‘rightfully’ become Lord of Australia. Highland Titles are condoning this practice in a thread on their own website (third entry from top).

As long as they allow this practice, it might not be such a big leap to rename their own woodland to something sexier…

Discussion

13 thoughts on “The Glencoe name con

  1. Highland Titles set up their stall at Highland Games in the USA and Australia. I note they don’t attend any Highland Games in Scotland, I rather think if they did, they’d simply be laughed off the park!

    Nobody in Scotland would ever consider the owner of a small plot of useless bogland to be a laird, lord, lady or anything else …. except maybe a glaikit eejit. Can you imagine arriving in Glencoe and announcing that you are the Laird Of Glencoe? I rather think one of those “beam me up Scotty” devices might come in handy, it might take the locals a couple of days to recover from laughing at you.

    The fact is, anybody can call or style themselves virtually anything they want, the fact of land ownership has nothing to do with it, Landowners and non landowners alike have exactly the same right to call themselves Lord Of Glencoe, or indeed Lady Windbag Fartpants if that’s what takes their fancy.

    For the non Scots:
    Glaikit = http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=glaikit
    Eejit = http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Eejit+

    Posted by Highlander | September 1, 2012, 7:34 am
  2. I am one of the many Australians who have been taken in by this scam. How do I go about getting my money back?
    Maggie, Shoalhaven Heads, NSW Australia

    Posted by Maggie Pye | January 20, 2013, 9:39 am
    • Have you tried asking them for a refund?
      Highland Titles claim to provide a 30 days money back guarantee, which admittedly does not appear to be entirely straight-forward (ref the comments made by Paul Darrow on our home page).

      Posted by Scambusters | January 24, 2013, 12:50 pm
  3. I ‘bought’ a few pieces of land recently for various people, as a novelty gift – just to support conservation, but never thought that it conveys a real title to land or lord/ladyship. The assumption was most people were doing it for the same reason, provided actual conservation takes place, which apparently is being questioned.

    Posted by Andrea | February 5, 2013, 7:17 am
    • Agreed. If the Bevis family were selling ‘titles’ for fun and conservation and otherwise went about their business in an honest and decent manner, it is not likely that so many people had bothered with them. However, they have been caught cheating and lying in so many different areas that it is difficult to believe anything they say. There is also a ruthless side to them that is hidden from public view, but manifests itself in the manner in which they treat their named critics.

      Posted by Scambusters | February 5, 2013, 8:33 am
  4. Pardon my ignorance, I might not have all the facts on hand as yet, but why haven’t the authorities stepped in yet? Has anyone made an official complaint? Surely there should be something in place to protect the general public?

    Posted by Andrea | February 7, 2013, 6:02 am
  5. Steps have been taken by various people, but it is far from straightforward. Given that Bevis wife is a lawyer, the company are operating, through loopholes, just inside the law. This is further hampered by the aggressive attacks that are mounted against identified critics. Who listens to anonymous critics?

    It is not illegal to sell plots of land that are too small to be registered, even though such sales only transfer a “personal right” in the land, which would be trumped by the “real rights” of any registered purchaser should the land be resold. Of course, the purchasers could sue the Highland Titles, if they could find them, but to recover such a small purchase price, it would be uneconomic to do so. Some people believe that this should be changed,but the Scottish Parliament currently has more pressing matters before it.

    Trading Standards can not get involved as the contract is for land purchase. To make a complaint one is required to consult a solicitor. Again this would fail any cost-benefit test, as the Bevis family would know.

    However, their misleading advertising can, and has been challenged. There have been at least 4 complaints lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) since Septemeber, 2012. They were all upheld, though resolved informally, which means that Highland Titles have agreed to change their advertising. The two most recent resolutions date from as recently as 20th February, 2013. http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications.aspx#2

    Hope this is helpful

    Posted by Piet B S Jerver | February 24, 2013, 8:00 pm
  6. Thank you for the information, I am sure it will be useful to others as well. This is quite sad and disappointing that people can do this and get away with it.

    Posted by Andrea | March 7, 2013, 12:12 am
  7. errr… I went to asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications.aspx#2 and there were no resolutions concerning this case. What gives?

    Posted by Lord Friedrich | April 10, 2013, 9:25 pm
  8. They are no longer at the head of the list. If you put in Lochaber Highland Estates into Search Rulings, then go to Informally Resolved Cases, there are 3 – 20/02/13, 07/11/12 and 19/09/12 (they could be called up by week). They are clearly there.

    Posted by Piet B S Jerver | April 13, 2013, 11:52 am
  9. I am disappointed to see that Groupon are advertising this product. I brought one for a friend thinking I was helping in the conservation of the woods. now only to find out its a scam

    Posted by rjb | August 2, 2013, 5:34 am
  10. Is it legal to be selling all the plots in Scotland but not paying tax as it all goes through the channel islands .The holiday cottages have a considerable annual profit/turnover but never make enough to pay tax, surely this amounts to money laundering?

    Posted by Anon | September 27, 2013, 10:40 pm
  11. Of course I’m not a real Lord anymore! We lost all our lands, titles, castles (and money!) many years ago mainly because of Bonnie Prince Charlie!! However, Robert the Bruce originally bestowed these as a battle honour (as was the way in those days) so my philosophical outlook is, “Not so easy come but easy go!”

    Whilst I’m grateful to those who (altruistically?!?) invest their time bringing ‘wrongdoings’ to the attention of a naive public (includes me!) I have to say that I’m extremely happy with my initial purchase.

    My principal reason was to set up a Family Trust after discovering that we had no more owned burial plots in 2009; Lucy now resides under a rosebush in Warriston & Bill on the far side of Cramond!

    I’ve been a lifetime member of the National Trust for decades – a donation I’ve been increasingly relaxed with over the years – so as far as I’m concerned, it was a TINY contribution required by Lochaber to secure the rights for our family (In perpetuity!) to erect plaques & scatter ashes!!

    There may well be ‘hidden agendas’ by the owners – there usually is with the Gentry & big business – but as long as their promise to my family is sacrosanct, then I’ll support their stated aims willingly as a true nature lover!

    The TITLE, along with visiting & camping permissions are merely added bonuses for our conservation donations!!

    Posted by Ian Hamilton | November 17, 2014, 3:46 pm

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