‘Time-share fraudsters sentenced to more than 20 years in prison’

Credits: www.westmercia.police.uk ‘Time-share fraudsters sentenced to more than 20 years in prison’ 23/02/18

Nine people have been sentenced for their parts in a ‘deliberate and cynical’ campaign of timeshare fraud, following an investigation by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit.

Appearing at Stafford Crown Court between 21 and 23 February were:
• James Barrass, 37, from Norwich: Charged with money laundering. Sentenced to two years in prison.
• Matthew Barker, 25, from Bromsgrove: Charged with fraudulent trading. Sentenced to one year and one month in prison, suspended for one year and six months, and 250 hours of unpaid work.
• Brian Carr, 31, from Redditch: Charged with conspiracy to defraud and perverting the course of justice. Sentenced to six years and eight months in prison and disqualified from holding the position of company director for ten years.
• Daniel Carr, 24, from Redditch: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to four years in prison.
• Steven Cross, 37, from Worcester: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to six months in prison.
• Dawn Gingell, 55, from Hampshire: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to three years and six months in prison.
• Brendan Hicks, 28, from Redditch: Charged with fraudulent trading. Sentenced to one year and one month in prison, suspended for one year and six months, and 250 hours of unpaid work.
• Alan Sharp, 66, from Norwich: Charged with money laundering. Sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for a year, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
• Craig Walker, 27, from Redditch: Charged with conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to three years in prison.

Read the full article from West Mercia Police here: https://www.westmercia.police.uk/article/44436/Time-share-fraudsters-sentenced-to-more-than-20-years-in-prison

Further article by the Coventry Telegraph (including photos of those charged): https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/local-news/evil-fraudsters-stole-875k-vulnerable-14341211?mc_cid=0d844242f7&mc_eid=313919f626

Timeshare Legal Services & The ‘Timeshare Ombudsman’ Warning

We have recently received a report that the company Timeshare Legal Services (www.timesharelegalservices.co.uk) has been contacting consumers and stating they were given their information from the ‘Timeshare Ombudsman’ (www.timeshareombudsman.org.uk).

We are not aware of an official service under this name and both websites do not provide transparent business details i.e. legal entities/company numbers or in the case of the ‘Timeshare Ombudsman’ even an address. We would class this as a transparency warning.

The ‘Timeshare Ombudsman’s domain also shows the registrant name and address as hidden, which again is a transparency warning flag.

Timeshare Legal Services make the following claims on their website ‘SERVING THE INDUSTRY FOR OVER 20 YEARS’ and ‘With extensive experience in the industry, we have helped over 2,000 people break free from Timeshare Contracts, and recovered over one million in reclaims.’ As the website domain was registered only in June 2017 and a company by the same name with the same address was only incorporated in November 2017, we would be interested in determining the truth of these claims.

We are also concerned as to the sharing of data between these companies.

Generally, we advise extreme caution regarding any business making unsolicited calls/emails/SMS, not least because there may be Data Protection law breaches involved -i.e., that they may have obtained and /or are using your data illegally.

We are passing our concerns to the relevant authorities and will provide an update when available. In the meantime we would be interested to hear from anyone contacted by these companies or currently using their services: http://timesharebusinesscheck.org/report-your-concerns/

Another Court Judgement Against ITRA

Consumer awarded over £4800 as judge declares that breaches of contract by International Refund Action Ltd. (ITRA) were “completely unacceptable”

KwikChex can report that on Friday 19 January 2018,  at Weston-Super-Mare County Court, another consumer it has supported has won a judgement against International Timeshare Refund Action – ITRA.

The judge ordered ITRA to repay the consumer £4802.60, having decided that ITRA had not provided the services promised.  The judge also commented that the “Breaches were as fundamental as they could possibly get” and that there had been “so little done for so much money”

The consumer asked for the assistance of KwikChex via the Timeshare Task Force resources that KwikChex manages, which are funded by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) after ITRA’s multiple failures to clearly respond for over a year to requests to detail what ITRA had carried out on her behalf. KwikChex provided free  advice and support for 18 months during the dispute, which culminated in the court hearing, with ITRA vainly trying to defend the lack of work carried out and poor communication. Attempts to carry out some work at the eleventh hour, well after legal proceedings were started were rejected as ‘too little, too late’.

KwikChex Director Chris Emmins provided a witness statement and attended court in support of the consumer, which detailed ITRA’s involvement in the notorious Club Class Concierge scams which resulted in the winding-up of seven connected companies by the UK authorities. Also included in the statement were details of complaints made by consumers to Action Fraud about ITRA and the misrepresentations that ITRA had a ‘Head Office’ in Gibraltar – something the Gibraltar authorities had confirmed was untrue.

ITRA attempted to defend the claim by using their favoured law firm, Pinder Reaux and a barrister, whilst the consumer represented herself. Two witnesses appeared for ITRA – the first was a Patrick O’Connor, who from the outset admitted that he used an alias when working for ITRA, calling himself ‘Steven John’ a name that has been quoted by many consumers making complaints against ITRA. He stated that the alias was easier for consumers to remember. The second witness was identified as Andrew Cooper, who in his witness statement said that he was a ‘consultant ’for ITRA. However, a solicitor from Pinder Reaux described him as ITRA’s CEO – and when questioned whether he was a director of ITRA he replied that he was. Andrew Cooper was also a director of two of the companies closed down by the UK authorities in 2012 – Bridge View Consultants Ltd. and Club Class Concierge Ltd. He is also a current director of European Claims Centre Ltd., a business that claims to have helped thousands of people to exit timeshares, though it was only formed in June 2016 and uses the serviced  / virtual offices to conduct its business as ITRA.

The latest case echoed the well-publicisied win by Mr & Mrs Walker against ITRA in court in 2016, who were refunded over £7000 – see the report by the Daily Mail – http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-3709511/Couple-win-7-000-victory-faulty-timeshare-contract-following-18-month-legal-battle.html

KwikChex and a number of consumer protection and advice agencies continue to receive complaints concerning ITRA.

Free advice and assistance is available for consumers on the Timeshare Business Check and Timeshare Task Force websites and via the Timeshare Helpline – 0044 (0) 1202 832012 timesharehelpline.net

KwikChex and the Timeshare Task Force services have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards and are the only business operating within the timeshare sector to have received official accreditation under the Trading Standards Buy With Confidence scheme – see the accreditation and verified consumer feedback on the following link  – www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/profile/kwikchex/24358

KwikChex – looking back at 2017


For KwikChex, 2017 was dominated by successes and praise in the timeshare sector, where KwikChex manages the Timeshare Task Force, providing totally free assistance to consumers.


Consumer feedback

Click here to read feedback from timeshare owners about the assistance they received from KwikChex.


Rogues arrested, in court & guilty

Our work in cooperation with the authorities has always been a vital part of our consumer protection efforts. In 2017, in cases supported by KwikChex, 6 people appeared in court over scamming timeshare owners.  Two of those have already pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in 2018. The other four go to trial in April. And in the longest running investigation, multiple offices were raided and owners and senior executives of one network of businesses were arrested.


Civil claims

KwikChex continued with the well-publicised success of the previous year, providing more free assistance to timeshare owners who have been scammed by rogue claims businesses, providing evidence that helped forced settlements in civil court and Section 75 claims – helping to win back thousands of pounds.




Many timeshare owners were helped to relinquish their timeshares at no cost or for low cost payments to their timeshare companies. The majority had been lied to by rogue claims companies about their legal and contractual rights and only found that they could exit easily after making contact with KwikChex via the Timeshare Task Force.



New Timeshare Helpline opens

KwikChex, supported by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) added to the online Timeshare Business Check – www.timesharebusinesscheck.org with a new telephone helpline for consumers which again provides completely free assistance +44 (0) 1202 832012 www.timesharehelpline.net


Trading Standards Approval for KwikChex

Definitely one of the highlights of the year.  In addition to our existing Corporate Affiliate membership of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), the integrity of KwikChex services was demonstrated again when we were awarded one of the most trusted accreditations for any UK- based business – Trading Standards approval through the Buy with Confidence scheme – and consumers that we have helped since gaining the accreditation have been quick to provide more feedback, giving us a 5 star rating.



Presenting at the 2017 Consumer Affairs & Trading Standards Conference

KwikChex had a full session at our presentation to many Trading Standards Officers at the annual CTSI conference – helped by the popularity of the topic we presented – overcoming funding problems to help beat rogue traders. KwikChex was able to demonstrate how our investigations, verifications and resolutions services have helped cash-strapped law enforcement authorities in the battle against scammers. There was also plenty of activity at the KwikChex exhibition stand, with law enforcement and other authorities involved in consumer protection visiting to discuss cooperation.



 Online defamation, harassment and distortion

The story that never goes away. 2017 saw many more businesses from across the world seeking help from KwikChex. With a seven year track record that has been covered by the media globally, a wide range of businesses continue to seek our assistance when attacked by liars and cyber-bullies. Hotels and restaurants complaining of fake reviews on TripAdvisor remain the largest group – but many other professions, including lawyers, doctors, online businesses, health & fitness and even funeral directors have sought our help – and we continue to provide the unique services so often seen and heard on television and radio and in leading national newspapers.


EZE Group guilty of scamming consumers

Clarification on Sunday Times advice regarding timeshare claims

On 5th March, the Sunday Times published a response to a question regarding timeshare claims in Spain.

Whilst the general context of the reply regarding a Spanish Supreme Court ruling was correct, the writer went on to recommend that contact for further advice should be made with The Timeshare Consumer Association and also gave contact details to a ‘Timeshare Compensation’ business. The response claimed that consumers would get ‘independent advice’. Our own evaluation is that would not be the case as both sites mentioned are connected to businesses that have been the subject of consumer concerns and media coverage suggesting that extreme caution is advised.

Comments explaining the concerns were submitted to the Sunday Times and emails sent to them alerting them to the issues, but no action seems to have been taken by the Sunday Times to date. The content of the comments is published below.

A clarification note regarding the two websites / organisations mentioned in this article. 

The Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) was sold to a company named Tolmex Ltd., which was owned by Mark Rowe, who also owns a number of businesses such as SellMyTimeshare.tv. The Daily Mirror investigated this thoroughly and cast doubts on the independence of the TCA – see article http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/timeshare-consumer-association-claims-independent-9367808. 

SellMyTimeshare.tv was the subject of an undercover BBC investigation, which showed that consumers seeking advice on timeshare relinquishment were persuaded to buy other holiday products which claimed to provide discounts and were purportedly a ‘financial investment’. See the link to the BBC article – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-37690840

The site timesharecompensation.co.uk is also under the same ownership through a business named ABC Lawyers Ltd. See Companies House profile – https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10477058/officers.  There are no legally trained persons in this business. 

Jodie Beard, who is described as “Head of Timeshare Compensation’s legal department” is in fact the ‘Marketing Director’ of the businesses controlled by Mark Rowe and has no legal expertise – see her Linkedin profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/beardjodi/ 

Consumers are advised to take these facts into consideration and to exercise diligence by carrying out comprehensive research on the businesses involved.

Consumer testimonials

Here is what consumers had to say about KwikChex during 2016:

Timeshare Task Force Testimonial

Can’t recommend these guys highly enough. If you have any issues with timeshare, holiday clubs etc. get in touch for impartial advice FREE. Their help enabled me to get a full refund of monies paid out for a product I didn’t want or need but was pressured into buying.

Mr M, Nov-16

Timeshare Task Force Testimonial

I have had no further contact from ITRA, thankfully, after they returned all my documents. I have now been released from (my timeshare) at a very low admin cost so I am relieved with that.

I have no objections to helping others if I can and have appreciated the help and information given by yourselves and Mindtimeshare who gave me your contact details.

Mrs B, Nov-16

Timeshare exit success

Another thank you to KwikChex from a couple that wished to exit their timeshare due to poor health. This was achieved for a low cost administrative charge (under £400) and once again demonstrates that consumers should always check with a trusted source as to their options should they wish to exit their timeshares as there are often no cost or low cost possibilities – and in some cases even sales of the timeshare are possible.

“Just a note to let you know that we have accepted the offer from our timeshare company.
We will certainly be glad to get closure on this matter.
Without your wonderful team we would still be in the same situation.
Thank you all very much. Keep on doing your good work.”

The assistance from KwikChex was provided free of charge as part of the Timeshare Task Force initiative. All consumers receive free assistance and advice from KwikChex thanks to funding from RDO.
Alternatively and additionally, free advice can also be sought from Citizens Advice and local Trading Standards Officers.


Timeshare Task Force Testimonial

Having experienced a timeshare issue and having been totally mislead by Timeshare Release/ITRA/ECC, I was lucky enough to come across KwikChex – a reputable company who help consumers like me with timeshare issues. The responses from Chris and Gemma were quick and extremely helpful: their advice has been invaluable . For the first time in months, we have piece of mind. For anyone who has timeshare issues, you should make KwikChex your first port of call for professional, friendly, and honest advice.

Mrs M, Oct-16

Timeshare Task Force Testimonial

We would like to express our grateful thanks to KwikChex and staff member Mr Chris Emmins, for the help and understanding of our situation involving a Leisure Credits company.
During a visit to the offices of the Leisure Credits company, we were asked to pay a deposit towards what would be the full cost, which we duly paid. Sometime later we noticed in the ‘small print’ that this was payment for a Tablet and a book of discount vouchers, and not for a deposit at all.

We contacted KwikChex for their help and advice regarding our situation. We were relieved to have the understanding and expertise of Mr Emmins who explained the procedures they would take, and who kept us regularly updated.

The Financial Ombudsman became involved which resulted in the return of the ‘deposit’ we paid under false pretenses.

We cannot speak more highly of the help and support from the above.

Mrs G, March-16

Timeshare Task Force Testimonial

Thank you KwikChex for helping get my 88-year-old father’s money back. He was clearly taken advantage of and had been mis-sold services costing him nearly £5000. With advice from KwikChex, and the template letter they prepared for us, we were able to recover all the costs from the credit card company. This was a real bonus as we thought pursuing the money would be a lost cause.
Mr S, Feb-16

Timeshare Task Force 2016 year in review

Successes for consumers right across the spectrum

The Timeshare Task Force, which is managed by KwikChex, has produced an unparalleled series of results for consumers during 2016.

The free service has become increasingly vital and more used  by consumers in the last 12 months, with the Timeshare Business Check website playing the leading role in consumer protection and assistance. The site has been a very effective resource for consumers seeking advice on businesses across the timeshare spectrum – from advising caution through to winning back monies for consumers and helping timeshare owners understand and exercise their legal and contractual rights.

Consumers contacting KwikChex via the Timeshare Task Force resources have benefited from:

  • Refunds from mis-sold holiday and rogue timeshare reclaim businesses.
  • Advice and direct assistance leading to contractually and ethically correct, no cost and low cost timeshare relinquishment.
  • Help with civil actions, including legal assistance from qualified lawyers and the provision of evidence to support claims.
  • Advice that prevented consumers from falling prey to scams.

Every single case has been assisted by KwikChex entirely free of charge.

The court case won against ITRA

The highlight of the year must be the support KwikChex provided to Harold and Brenda Walker, who came to KwikChex with concerns about monies they had paid to ITRA –  International Timeshare Refund Action. It was obvious from the outset that ITRA had made false promises and misleading statements in order to persuade the Walkers to pay over £7000.  Requests to ITRA for a refund were either ignored or rejected, so the only option was to take ITRA to court. Even though the Walkers were using the Small Claims Court, ITRA used the services of a specialist law firm and a barrister in trying to defend their actions – so KwikChex appealed for help from the RDO – the Resort Development Organisation, who responded with funding for similar representation for the Walkers. KwikChex went on to provide evidence and acted as a witness in court in support of the Walker’s claim. The judge subsequently ruled for the Walkers, declaring the ITRA actions illegal and the contract null & void. The Walkers were awarded a full refund and costs.

The Walkers
Harold & Brenda Walker 
[Image by Damien Mcfadden]
It would be difficult to imagine a nicer couple than Harold and Brenda Walker – both in their 70s, they epitomise human decency and civility. Brenda was at the time undergoing treatment for cancer, which added to the stress caused by ITRA’s deceptions.  Sadly, Brenda passed away not long after the case against ITRA was won, but Harold was so kind to say how much she had appreciated what KwikChex had done.  And in reality, as was quickly demonstrated by KwikChex, the couple had no need of the alleged services that ITRA said they would provide regarding relinquishment – because their timeshare was with an RDO member and they were entitled to a free relinquishment, which was subsequently arranged. ITRA lied about many things, including telling the Walkers that their children would be liable for their timeshares as their heirs and then tried to use ‘legal muscle’ to defend what should have been the indefensible. They failed – and now the publicity from the case has resulted in more consumers coming forward keen to take legal action against ITRA.

Read the full story in the Daily Mail – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/bills/article-3709511/Couple-win-7-000-victory-faulty-timeshare-contract-following-18-month-legal-battle.html

and the follow up exposure of ITRA – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-3810740/Can-trust-firm-says-rid-timeshare-price-families-did-lived-regret-it.html

KwikChex support for law enforcement and regulatory bodies

During 2016, KwikChex has continued to work closely with the police, Trading Standards and various regulatory authorities, providing vital evidence and intelligence on rogue operations.

Responses by KwikChex to police requests have resulted in the opening of a formal criminal investigation.

Responses by KwikChex to Trading Standards have resulted in the opening of investigations – and the resolving of complaints made to Trading Standards by consumers.

Four complaints about misleading advertising in the timeshare sector made to the Advertising Standards Authority were upheld in 2016 – against Easy Consulting SL t/a directresortsinternational.co.uk ; Timeshare Relief UK  and European Claims Centre LLC t/a Timeshare Advice Centre (a part of the ITRA operations).

In addition, an initiative in cooperation with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to stop Data Protection offences, including unsolicited contact and data theft is now well on the way to producing evidence that is likely to lead to prosecutions.

ctsiKwikChex also exhibited at and presented a session at the Consumer Affairs & Trading Standards Conference and Exhibition in 2016 – providing new ways and means of detecting scams and helping to bring the perpetrators to justice.

< Left – KwikChex talking with Trading Standards Officers at the Consumer Affairs & Trading Standards Conference and Exhibition.





The work will continue in 2017 and will include the continuance of free assistance to consumers, responses to requests by Citizens Advice for the provision of update advice, participation in the 2017 Consumer Affairs & Trading Standards Conference and active support in both civil legal cases and criminal prosecutions.


KwikChex quoted in Mirror article -The Timeshare Consumer Association claims to be an independent consumer champion, but is it?

Credits: The Mirror, By Andrew Penman, 1st Dec

The Timeshare Consumer Association claims to be an independent consumer champion, but is it?

‘Timeshare Consumer Association refuses to say who owns and runs it.

The business vetting site Kwikchex approached the TCA, posing as a consumer wanting to sell a timeshare.

“The response from the TCA stated that it had done due diligence on sellmytimeshare.tv ,” said Kwikchex founder Chris Emmins, “and provided a link to a report implying the business was outstandingly successful in selling and disposing of timeshares. We would dispute the claims.’

Above excerpts and read the full article: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/timeshare-consumer-association-claims-independent-9367808

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