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.

KwikChex and BBC expose problems with Realistix Solutions product

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KwikChex has once again been working with the BBC to highlight dangers to consumers.

As part of the Timeshare Task Force initiative, KwikChex contacted the BBC 4 Radio You & Yours programme about a product known as Realistix Solutions.

This is a product which is the subject of many consumer complaints.

Consumers are approached with a scratch card promotion, then attend a meeting during which they are persuaded to buy this product, with promises of exceptionally discounted holidays in return for an upfront payment of several thousand pounds. The process involves persuading the consumer to open a software disk (supposedly in order to check it) and getting the consumer to sign that they accept many onerous conditions, including rights to refunds etc. When consumers subsequently complain, the businesses selling the product tell them that they opened the packaging / broke the seal and therefore have no refund rights – and that they signed several aspects waiving their rights.

We have already ensured full refunds for consumers who were persuaded to buy Realistix in Malta and are now working to do the same in Tenerife where at least two companies are selling it. Trading Standards Officers we have consulted with agree that there are a number of Consumer Protection Regulations being breached.

​The consumer featured is currently being assisted by KwikChex – and after BBC journalists contacted the companies that manufacture and sell Realistix Solutions software, he has been promised a full refund.

The programme can be listened to by clicking on this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b067w3pc

Resort Management Direct exposed by the BBC consumer affairs programme You & Yours

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Resort Management Direct had been cold calling RDO members saying they were entitled to a free holiday. An admin fee of approximately £200 would apply.
However consumers found the holidays near impossible to book and some were later advised that they needed to attend a presentation whilst on holiday. Refunds were never given.
Blaine Connell, the owner of Resort Management Direct has previously had civil action taken against him by RCI for passing himself and his employees off as RCI affiliates.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b061txyv
Click on “Holiday Fees”

Resort Management Direct Timeshare Business Check Profile