KwikChex Hero Award Demonstrates the Value of Private Sector ‘Fraudbusters’

Yahoo Finance, 21st August 2019

The recent presentation of a ‘Hero Award’ by the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards (CTSI) to online investigations and verification business KwikChex highlighted the value of the private sector in fighting what has been an inexorable rise in fraud

Since 2010, KwikChex has been fighting battles to help prevent harm caused by fraudulent online content.  Whilst much attention has been paid to the exposure by KwikChex of millions of fake online reviews  and the removal of thousands specifically designed to harm businesses and consumers, in more recent times, it has been the KwikChex successes relating to protecting consumers and supporting law enforcement against scammers that have become most prominent.

Chris Emmins of KwikChex receives 2019 CTSI Hero Award
Chris Emmins of KwikChex receives 2019 CTSI Hero Award

 

The effectiveness of the KwikChex fraudbusting work was acknowledged on 25 June 2019, with the presentation of a ‘Hero Award’ to Chris Emmins, KwikChex co-founder and director at a special ceremony in London organised by the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards – representing the vital UK Trading Standards enforcement community. Conor Burns MP, recently made minster for state, Department for International Trade presented the award at One Great George Street, Westminster.

KwikChex was cited as having provided ‘expert’ witness testimony in for the prosecution in a number of cases, one of which with potentially millions of pounds worth of fraud.

Chief Executive at CTSI, Leon Livermore, said: “The Business Award is designed to recognise businesses that demonstrate a dedication to protecting consumers. KwikChex not only strives to help consumers who have suffered at the hands of ruthless fraudsters but has been a strong supporter of our profession. I’m pleased to name them our 2019 Business Hero.”

The successful prosecutions and civil actions that have taken place as a result of KwikChex investigations and support have resulted in custodial sentences for fraudsters and also refunds to consumers totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds – and many consumers have been saved from losses by the free advice provided by KwikChex. Particularly prominent has been the work within the timeshare sector, where the KwikChex-managed ‘Timeshare Task Force’ has assisted thousands of timeshare owners that have been targeted by dishonest timeshare claims and relinquishment rogues.

KwikChex is working ever-closer with law enforcement and government organisations to help stem the tide of fraud – and new resources, which will help consumers avoid the scams and prioritise legal actions against the fraudsters are set to be made available later in 2019.

As the Trading Standards award has confirmed, the KwikChex model of funding from the private sector to tackle internet-enabled fraud is becoming more and more vital at a time of increasing threat and much-reduced funding for law enforcement.  Bringing businesses committed to high standards and strong consumer protection together with intelligence gained from investigations and consumer information is crucial to tackling one of the biggest crime problems the world has faced. It will play an increasingly important and effective role in future.

View the article on Yahoo Finance:
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/kwikchex-hero-award-demonstrates-value-080000901.html?guccounter=1

See the story of the KwikChex Hero Award – on the Trading Standards Journal website
http://www.journaloftradingstandards.co.uk/hero-awards/fraud-prevention-service-wins-award/

KwikChex receiving CTSI hero award

KwikChex – ‘Business saving consumers potentially millions from fraud earns CTSI Hero Award’

Credits: CTSI (www.tradingstandards.uk) 26/06/2019

‘Investigation and verification service provider, KwikChex, has earned a prestigious Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Hero Award for its continuous work and passionate commitment on behalf of consumers, particularly around timeshare scams.’

‘KwikChex has established a free and effective online help service for consumers the Timeshare Task Force, a helpline aimed specifically at assisting victims of timeshare fraud, and consumers ‘stuck’ within timeshare agreements have been targeted by unscrupulous timeshare resale fraudsters.’

Above excerpts and read the full article: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/news-policy/news-room/2019/business-saving-consumers-potentially-millions-from-fraud-earns-ctsi-hero-award

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 becomes Corporate Affiliate Member of Chartered Trading Standards Institute

CTSI-Logo-Corp-Member

KwikChex has been successfully working for some time with Trading Standards Officers in support of identifying and taking action against rogue businesses. This is particularly true within the holiday sector and even more so in terms in terms of timeshare and related products, where we lead the Timeshare Task Force, which is helping protect and provide redress to consumers.

Following recent meetings and discussions with senior police officers and government / official bodies, more news will be released soon regarding active partnerships with enforcement authorities – all with the objective of protecting consumers and businesses.

In addition, KwikChex is now a Corporate Affiliate member of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). This separate element has been undertaken in line with the aims and values of the CTSI and is described as being for businesses who:

  • are concerned about customers
  • help consumers and staff with trading problems
  • promote good business practices

Our membership of the CTSI was granted after sponsorship from two Trading Standards Officers and an approval process conducted by the CTSI.

Post updated 21st August 2015