Bogus ‘Consumer Council’ Cold-calling timeshare owners

KwikChex has received reports of a new cold-caller phoning from UK number 01792825993 and calling itself the ‘Consumer Council’.

This is the latest version of fake consumer organisation cold calls. In addition to obvious data breaches, they are also giving false information to consumers.

KwikChex is currently operating an initiative via the Timeshare Task Force, an award winning, Trading Standards approved resource that is investigating data protection breaches and will file reports with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) . Details can be found on the following link https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/cold-calling-data-theft/

Fact File – Links between ECC, the TCA & closed down businesses

 

The indisputable facts that clarify the links between European Consumer Claims / ECC, the Timeshare Consumer Association / TCA and businesses closed down for scamming consumers

A number of consumers have contacted KwikChex to advise that European Consumer Claims/ECC and M1 Legal have been denying that information provided by KwikChex is accurate. They have even stated that defamation proceedings are to be taken against KwikChex.

In addition, ECC have been deceitfully using a website called the ‘Timeshare Consumer Association or TCA, originally not disclosing that they had purchased the site from Mark Rowe, a person currently himself on police bail following his arrest in connection with businesses selling ‘timeshare cancellation & compensation’ services.

Whilst we have provided extensive clarification in the past, in response to these developments we have produced a ‘fact file’ which focuses on the director of ECC, Andrew Cooper. This provides consumers with official and trusted sources and documents that show that far from being ‘consumer champions’, there is a long history of fraud and deceptions.

These include –

  • Bogus holiday clubs and Leisure Credit scams that robbed millions from consumers
  • Illegal ‘bait & switch’ operations that lured in timeshare owners, then pressured them into buying worthless ‘alternative holiday products’
  • 7 businesses closed down by the UK authorities to protect consumers
  • Another closed down in the UK High Court after failing to provide promised timeshare contract cancellations and compensation
  • Misleading advertising confirmed by the Advertising Standards Authority
  • Multiple deceitful ‘consumer associations’

All of the information is verifiable. It includes confirmation in the form of official company records, court documents and authorities.  It includes statements from authorities such as “These companies were set up with the aim of duping consumers” This is taken from the official release into the closing down of seven companies. Clearly named in this document are Bridge View Consultants Ltd and Club Class Concierge Ltd., both of which had Andrew Cooper, the owner of ECC as a director. Also named is ITRA, a ‘sister company’ of ECC that shared the same offices and personnel as ECC until it was also closed down. It also includes multiple links to news stories which additionally confirm the links between the companies, the identities of those involved and the scale of detriment suffered by consumers going back many years. 

We hope that the publication of these irrefutable facts will assist consumers in their quest to establish the truths of these matters and to make sound judgements with regard to the denials of the clear history involved and the attempts by ECC and M1 Legal to dissuade consumers from asking for assistance from KwikChex via the Timeshare Task Force resources, which have been vetted and approved by UK Trading Standards and whose contribution to consumer protection and support of law enforcement was recognised in June 2019 with a ‘Business Hero Award – 

“Fraud prevention service wins award – investigation and verification services provider KwikChex was awarded a CTSI Hero Award for its work in supporting Trading Standards”  https://www.journaloftradingstandards.co.uk/hero-awards/fraud-prevention-service-wins-award/

FILES

ITRA Club Class Insolvency Service CHARLES COOPER ANDREW International Executive Report Dato Capital ECC – European Consumer Claims & Director Andrew Cooper Fact File

 

Police warning for timeshare owners

KwikChex has received details of a warning and advice from the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit UK police. This is related to ongoing matters concerning an investigation into a number of businesses. It makes specific mention of the following:

  • Fake Citizens Advice referrals
  • ABC Lawyers
  • Monster Credits
  • Staycation Lodges
  • Fraudulent claims of existing legal cases where compensation amounts are being held for consumers

The police advice is as follows –

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

In recent weeks we have received an increasing number enquiries from victims reporting contact from several different companies offering services in relation to either their previous timeshares, their monster credits or their investments in Staycation Lodges. The majority of the information provided by these companies when offering their services is incorrect or at times untrue. For legal reasons we are unable to name the companies directly, however if you are contacted by any company that offers a service based on any of the following information we would strongly advise you to not to accept their services.

1. A company claiming you have been referred to them from Citizens Advice Bureau. Citizens Advice Bureau will NEVER provide your details to any company or ask any company to contact you unless they have your express permission. They are an independent body and if they feel you need assistance from any other agency you will be provided with advice on how to refer yourself.

2. Companies offering to take civil action to reimburse you for your purchase of Staycation Lodges.

3. Companies claiming that Monster Credits had a perpetuity clause that was transferred to your Staycation lodges purchase.

4. Companies claiming that you still own your timeshare with an ever increasing maintenance bill and although you have not received contact for years the timeshare resort is looking to send you a large bill.

5. Companies claiming that you still own your timeshare with an ever increasing maintenance bill and that over the years your maintenance demands have been sent to ABC Lawyers.

6. Companies claiming that various defendants have been prosecuted abroad securing millions in compensation but payment is required to release funds to you.

If you have engaged the services of any company who offered their services based on any of the above points and you have concerns then please contact Citizens Advice.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

KwikChex is already providing free assistance to many consumers affected in the ways described and will be pleased to help all those affected or with concerns. As these are timeshare related matters, consumers can use our dedicated online reporting resource – https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/free-assistance/

Azure Liquidation Updates

Updates 07/05/20, 08/05/20, 13/05/20, 19/05/20 & 20/05/20

Azure Services Ltd. Malta Liquidation 07/05/20

KwikChex has been informed that Azure Services Ltd. of Malta has entered into liquidation proceedings.

Click here to view the PDF notification that has been issued concerning this.

At this stage, it is not clear how this may affect a number of issues, from continuing timeshare ownership, to the ongoing matters concerning legal challenges made regarding loans made for the purchasing of timeshares through Azure during the period between 1 April 2014 and 24 April 2016. Click here to view a copy of the PDF of decision made in August 2018 by Judge Timothy Herrington.

All of these matters are likely to be complex and take some time and KwikChex will do all possible to provide updates. In the meantime, we strongly recommend that those likely to be affected – creditors and timeshare owners, register their interest as per the notice by sending an email to the following address – rrohan@alvarezandmarsal.com As there is an initial creditors meeting (by telephone conference call)  at 17.00 hrs Central European Time on Monday 11 May, you may wish to do this as a matter of urgency.

We would also urge Azure timeshare owners to be very cautious regarding any approaches made regarding ‘compensation claims’.  We have seen many examples of attempts to defraud consumers in similar circumstances. The fact is that at present, both the status of the timeshare ownerships and the question of the challenged loans are going through legal processes and the outcomes are currently unknown. If you are approached, get all the details you can – preferably asking those that make the approaches to put details in an email to you. KwikChex will be pleased to respond to any owners making checks in this regard.

 


 

Further Azure Information 08/05/20

Information coming direct to KwikChex and in the media in Malta appears to confirm that timeshare ownership at the Golden Sand Resort in Malta will not be affected by the insolvency proceedings taking place concerning Azure Services Malta, which operated as the sales & marketing company for timeshares at the resort.

Major shareholder Corinthia Group  expressed its intention to conduct the liquidation process in an orderly manner and that timeshare owners would continue to enjoy the same service and benefits as they had in past years. They  reaffirmed that the Golden Sands Resort will fully honour all timeshare commitments arising from obligations entered into with existing members.

With regard to matters related specifically to Azure Services Ltd. such as the review ordered of loans for timeshares that took place between 1 April 2014 and 24 April 2016, this matter remains ongoing. KwikChex continues to urge caution regarding any approaches to timeshare owners by businesses offering compensation services and will be pleased to help owners evaluate any such approaches.

KwikChex has been in contact with a number of parties, including trustees and will continue to provide information to the best of our ability. Further updates are expected to be available next week.

 


 

Azure Clarification 13/05/2020

Several owner / members  at ‘Azure Malta’ – the timeshare clubs Island Residence Club, The Heavenly Collection and Azure Ultra, have been asking KwikChex for further clarification as the information first released regarding insolvency processes was difficult to understand. KwikChex has been in contact with the liquidators, who continue to reassure that the benefits of timeshare ownership will remain.

We have specifically asked if owners have to contact the liquidators to ensure their rights are secured and / or complete the claim forms for creditors and have been advised that they do not have to do this. For the sake of clarity, please see a copy of the response  we received – which also includes a link to a dedicated information website.

With regard to consumers that may have already been seeking to relinquish their timeshares or are actually involved in claims processes,  these will need further assessment and KwikChex will be pleased to assist upon request.

Some consumers have also been seeking clarification regarding the earlier court order concerning loans made to purchase timeshare between 1 April 2014 and 24 April 2016.  This is an ongoing review process by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and will continue.

We again advise members / owners to be extremely cautious if approached regarding claims  said to be connected to the liquidation process. KwikChex will be pleased to help evaluate any such approaches.

Response to our request for clarification below:

……………………………………………

Thank you for your email.

At the current stage, the members do not have to contact the liquidators or complete the claim form.

Members of the timeshare clubs managed by the Company are considered to be a stakeholder in the liquidation to the extent that the Company remains the club manager for Island Residence Club, The Heavenly Collection and Azure Ultra. As mentioned in the FAQs, we are working diligently to transfer the role of club manager so that the club can continue and members remain able to utilise their timeshare holiday entitlement. We will provide members with updates on our progress through the dedicated website – https://cvr.global/azure/.

We will have more information in the coming weeks.

Kind regards,
Martin Brylka
Executive
cvr.global


 

Update 19/05/20

The first creditors meetings have taken place with regard to the various ‘Azure companies’. These were formalities as such to enable the continuation of the liquidation process.

For Azure timeshare owners, the principal interest is in the continuing right to use their weeks at the resort and KwikChex is advised that there is no change to previous statements in this regard – i.e., that the rights will continue as soon as the travel restrictions related to Covid-19 are lifted.

KwikChex will continue to provide updates.

Claims processes
If you are an owner that is currently involved in a claim alleging misselling of any type or have been approached in this regard with a view to making a claim, this is a separate but potentially connected matter likely to fall into a number of different categories, including matters associated with loans being reviewed by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and claims that may have been or may in future be submitted to the UK Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). KwikChex will provide free information assistance to any consumers affected by such matters.

Update 20/05/2020

We have been advised by an Azure consumer of an important update from the Joint Liquidators. The email received by the consumer from Azure contained the following information:

Please note this important update from the Joint Liquidators, which includes reference to the appointment of the new club manager.

Alternatively, download the update directly (PDF download).

 


 

Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) deceptions

12/05/2020

The now infamous Timeshare Consumer Association website, often known as the ‘TCA’ has been taken over once again by people connected to scams against timeshare owners.

Concerns have been rightly raised by consumers that the TCA is not by any means an independent ‘watchdog’.  Until recently it was owned by Mark Rowe, who was arrested and is currently on police bail regarding the activities of his Monster Travel and SellMyTimeshare.tv businesses. It was recently taken over (along with other trading names and websites previously owned and operated by Rowe, including ABC Lawyers and Timeshare.Lawyer) by European Consumer Claims (ECC), a business controlled by Andrew Cooper, who was previously one of the principal figures behind a number of businesses closed down by the UK authorities and civil actions by consumers, these included Club Class Concierge and ITRA.

The latest deceits by ECC follow exposure of similar practices when the site was controlled by Mark Rowe, with the Daily Mirror producing an article in December 2016, titled “The Timeshare Consumer Association claims to be an independent consumer champion, but is it?” – see details on this link https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/timeshare-consumer-association-claims-independent-9367808

KwikChex is advising any consumers that are contacted with information about the TCA or who see online information about the TCA, to exercise extreme caution – and ideally report the matter to Citizens Advice and the Advertising Standards Authority.

 

Update 15/05/2020

Following complaints made by consumers and information provided by KwikChex, European Consumer Claims (ECC) have now published the following information on the TCA website.

“TCA is sponsored by European Consumer Claims Limited, registered in England and Wales under registration number at Companies House: 10243428 ECC is registered as a data controller with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) under registration number: ZA291149
All content on this website is dependent on the opinion of the author. – Privacy Policy”

This ‘part-admission’ confirms that information provided to the TCA is shared with ECC. More information will be provided shortly

 

The level of service overall was excellent

The level of service overall was excellent. The amount of supporting material was extremely helpful as was the encouragement to not give up. The level of information allowed me to identify and avoid the “Rogue” companies which are still preying on us, unfortunate victims.
The friendly and supportive attitude of Mr Chris Emmins gave I am grateful for.

 

(Reviewed May 2020)

EUROC / KwikChex initiatives to provide free assistance to timeshare owners start to yield results

Whilst the initiatives being worked on between KwikChex and EUROC are still in their early stages, there are already timeshare owners making use of the free assistance.

Both EUROC and KwikChex have been contacted by owners that have had access to the online advice and the appropriate assistance is being provided – and valuable information is being collected for the fight against rogues.

 

Multiple scams case

One owner provided details where they had been targeted multiple times, had lost several thousand pounds already and were in danger of being scammed again. All instances were perpetrated by rogues known to KwikChex and concerned timeshare relinquishment. As a result of the contact made via EUROC, KwikChex has assisted and continues to do so in the following ways.

  • One payment made to a rogue business of £5000 has successfully been stopped.
  • A  payment made some time ago to another rogue of over £10,000 is now being worked on and there is every chance that these monies will be refunded.
  • A further payment of over £1000 is also being challenged under EU Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs) and a strong case can be pursued for refund.

In nearly every case, the rogues were extremely plausible and persuaded the owners not to make contact with their timeshare company. EUROC and KwikChex are now facilitating contact between owner and developer and the case is a priority for resolution. We are optimistic that now the process has commenced, the difficulties will be resolved.

 

Warning over cold calling

Following the launch of a new EUROC / KwikChex resource to help deal with cold-calling, a number of timeshare owners have been making contact and using the service.  Some excellent information is being provided which will enable further actions by the authorities. One owner also let KwikChex know of a previous scam attempt he had received – a phone call purporting to be from the ‘Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which attempted to gain his bank account details. KwikChex is aware of these scams and many more like them and has seen a big increase in them during the Coronavirus crisis. Our services are available free of charge to assist owners with concerns.

Cold calling initiative details: https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/cold-calling-data-theft

 

Some scepticism and reassurance

KwikChex has also been contacted by some owners that are sceptical of the nature of the assistance being provided by EUROC and KwikChex. They have mentioned the aspect of funding by RDO, the representative body for timeshare companies in Europe. KwikChex understands such concerns and is always happy to answer them very transparently.

The setting up of these resources has been in response to the fact that nothing such as this currently existed for timeshare owners, who are routinely subjected to unsolicited contacts and false advertising from rogue businesses. And of course who also want to understand their rights etc. as timeshare owners. We advise that KwikChex operates autonomously and that the structure is very similar in this regard to organisations such as ABTA and even regulated authorities – funded by the industry, but acting with autonomous integrity. In addition to the reassurance of these services having been vetted and approved by UK Trading Standards, it is also notable that KwikChex receives referrals and requests for assistance from organisations such as Citizens Advice, the police and Trading Standards and government departments – something that only occurs because of the integrity of the Timeshare Task Force operation that KwikChex manages.

EUROC / KwikChex Initiative Launched For The Protection Of Timeshare Owners

Timeshare owners have been reporting ever-increasing numbers of unsolicited approaches from rogue businesses. In response, EUROC, the European Resort Owners Coalition has asked KwikChex to provide additional resources to tackle the problem and help increase protection for owners.

If you have had an unsolicited contact by phone, email or SMS and are concerned as to how your information was obtained and what information is held about you by the business making contact, then please get in touch.

What KwikChex will do with your reports

KwikChex will collate all information provided by owners, investigate further and then present well-prepared evidence to the authorities. Whilst the majority of this will be to data protection enforcement authorities, we will also examine possible other breaches of law. This is because the vast majority of those making contact with owners have already been involved in misrepresentation and fraud – and KwikChex will therefore alert the data protection agencies to such instances to emphasise the seriousness of the problem – and advise law enforcement agencies of the contact activities. We will press hard for enforcement. KwikChex has a significant track record in supporting successful prosecutions and the closing down of rogue businesses.

Please visit this page to make a report.

———–

Please also see below for further advice –

Fraudsters use crisis targeting timeshare owners. What you can do if contacted

Further to recent general warnings and advice from KwikChex about increased activities by scammers, we are now receiving specific reports of attempts at defrauding timeshare owners. Read more

CLC World Resorts & Hotels statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At CLC World Resorts & Hotels, the safety of our Members, Owners, guests and team members is always our top priority. In order to adhere with global and regional guidelines and legislation, all CLC World resorts are closed temporarily until 30th April, a date that will continually be reviewed.

If you are a CLC World Member, please visit www.myclcworld.com for up to date information. If you are not a Member, but have a reservation at one of the resorts, you will be contacted by the travel operator directly.

As resorts were being closed, deep cleans were undertaken to ensure the ongoing safety of all. Deep cleans will also take place prior to reopening.

CLC World always maintains the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene, and the additional measures implemented following the coronavirus outbreak will be maintained once our resorts reopen.

We will ensure that for all Club Memberships, through amendments to the membership criteria or extension of the membership, Members/Owners’ benefits are retained and that their holidays are supported.

In addition, where Membership or Ownership requires reservation/transaction booking fees, fees already paid on reservations that were cancelled due to the travel restrictions will be credited towards the next reservation.

In 36 years of operations, CLC World has seen numerous crises which seriously affected the travel and hospitality industry; however, the need for social interaction and desire to holiday quickly returned.

This crisis too will pass, and when it does the CLC World resorts will be ready to welcome everyone back. We always have and always will stand behind our Members and Owners in ensuring that they receive the holidays they deserve.

We look forward to delivering memorable holidays and experiences to all our Members, Owners and guests in the very near future.

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