Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) deceptions

Please note: Updates from 15th May & 17th June 2020 below

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.

 

Update 17/06/2020

Since control of the TCA website passed to ECC, at the end of 2019,  ownership details have varied.

  • Originally no ownership details were published
  • This then changed to a statement saying that the TCA was sponsored by European Consumer Claims Ltd (ECC)
  • On 11 June 2020, a new company was incorporated – The Timeshare Consumer Association Ltd. and this information currently (information provided 17 June 2020) appears on the TCA website
  • The registered office address is given as Artemis House, 4a Bramley Rd, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, United Kingdom, MK1 1PT
  • The sole director of the company is a Keith Graham Dewhurst, stated to reside in Spain.

As of 17 June 2020, the TCA site remains under the control of ECC.

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

 

The Clampdown on Illegal Holiday ‘Bait & Switch’ Businesses Gathers Pace

The law is catching up with those involved in ‘Leisure Credits’ and Bogus Holiday Club scams, with arrests, prison sentences and heavy financial penalties taking place.

Way back in 2013, the UK European Consumer Centre warned of a new holiday product that was set up to intentionally avoid the legislation that protects consumers in the timeshare sector. They described how holidaymakers were being promised holiday club memberships or discounts for years to come on future accommodation bookings, as well as other leisure products such as spa days, or the use of sports facilities and were being typically being charged up to £15,000 to sign up.

What was not made clear at the time was the ‘double-scam’ involved – the targeting of timeshare owners, lured in with false offers of anything from a part-exchange for their timeshare to purported legal services to terminate timeshare contracts and claim monies back.

The news that father and daughter Dominic and Stephanie O’Reilly, who ran the substantial EZE Group scam have been ordered to pay back over £400,000 has recently highlighted the way that legal and claims services formed an integral part of the scams taking place. The O’Reillys had previously been convicted and given prison sentences and now UK National Trading Standards has had court orders imposed on them to claw back the illegal profits they made

The Bait & Switch

As described by Trading Standards, EZE typically targeted timeshare owners, persuading them to sign up “for services they did not want or need, including services to dispose of timeshares and a ‘club membership’ offering discounts that didn’t really exist. The presentations made false claims that victims’ existing timeshares would last in perpetuity and that huge debts would be passed onto their children unless consumers signed up to EZE timeshare disposal services.“  Other businesses were also involved to help convince consumers of the supposed ‘benefits’, including closely connected travel and legal services companies. In the case of EZE, consumers were passed on to the likes of ‘Everywhere Travel’ – controlled by Stephanie O’Reilly and Praetorian Legal – a regulated Claims Management Company (CMC) that Dominic O’Reilly served as a director of before falling out with owner Gary Smith – the latter who also served as the EZE ‘Legal & Compliance Director’ and who used another company, LCM Law to pursue EZE victims for payments and threaten legal actions against consumers who publicly complained about EZE.

Millions lost by consumers in similar circumstances

Although the most high profile of these scams (EZE were previously sponsors of Birmingham City FC and an ‘Official Club Partner of Celtic FC), they are in fact one of many involved in such deceptions,  and huge losses have been suffered by consumers, many of whom are elderly.

In 2012,  Seven connected businesses known collectively as the Club Class network were closed down by the UK government.  Here, the UK Insolvency Service stated “timeshare owners were encouraged to sign up to a group action against the timeshare industry to be conducted by an organisation called International Timeshare Refund Action (ITRA).  The court heard that instead, the ITRA presentation became a Club Class presentation in which consumers were informed there was a “one-off” opportunity for them to irrevocably relinquish their timeshares in part-payment for the substantial cost of the Club Class membership, which ranged from around £7,000 to £15,000. Consumers were unaware in advance that this was the true purpose of the meeting.” In this case, the ‘legal services provider, ITRA, continued to trade until 2019, when a High Court order closed them down after the business failed to pay refunds to consumers as ordered by the courts. Andrew Cooper, a director of two of the businesses shut down in 2012 and a ‘consultant’ to ITRA is now a director of ‘ECC’ – European Consumer Claims, which has admitted in the past that they “had an agreement in place with International Timeshare Refund Action (ITRA) to introduce clients to ITRA’s consultation centres throughout the UK so that they could contract ITRA services. They further explained that “ITRA and ECC had the same shareholders and were therefore legally associated companies

And in 2017,  police raided the UK and Spanish offices of a business called Monster Travel, making several arrests. Monster had also claimed to be providing this mix of Leisure Credits and timeshare disposal services.  The owner of Monster, Mark Rowe, who is on police bail pending the outcome of investigations, subsequently started up other similar operations where he again connected ‘holiday discount clubs’ to timeshare legal services -with the latter trading as ‘ABC Legal / ABC Lawyers / Timeshare.Lawyer.  Rowe has since closed these too – with Andrew Cooper’s ECC saying they have bought the ‘assets’ – the customer databases and websites etc. (but not the actual businesses).

And in 2018, Francis ‘Frank’ Madden was sentenced to 40 months in prison after a series of offences involving bogus holiday clubs stretching back years. He too often targeted timeshare owners – particularly elderly ones, with promises of timeshare disposal. Madden was also ordered to hand over personal assets of £20,000 in 2019.

Investigations into much of the above and other significant, similar cases is continuing.  KwikChex estimates that over £100 million of consumer detriment has taken place related to such scams.

Seeking assistance

Of course, there are genuine complaints that may be brought by consumers. In many instances, these may be addressed and resolutions reached directly with the timeshare company – or by using recognised mediation services.

Where formal actions are considered necessary, the experience of thousands of consumers affected by situations such as those above demonstrates there is a need for extreme caution and due diligence.  Some claims may for example be made free of charge by consumers and free advice on this is provided by organisations such as Citizens Advice.

KwikChex,  a consumer protection award-winning business which manages the Timeshare Task Force and is accredited by UK Trading Standards has provided evidence and witness statements in these matters and is available to provide free assistance to any consumers that have been affected or have concerns or simply want to carry out checks.

Further clarification regarding ITRA / ECC / M1 Legal

More consumers are advising that following the winding up of ITRA, they are being approached by European Consumer Claims (ECC) and are corresponding with M1 Legal.  These communications concern offers of continuing work said to have been started by ITRA.
As consumers paid ITRA and entered into a contract with that business and it is now the subject of liquidation and insolvency investigations, we advise that such approaches should be reported to the ITRA liquidator, Richard Long & Co., as they are likely to be unlawful – a breach of the Insolvency Act.
The contact details for ITRA liquidators Richard Long & Co are:
Richard Long & Co
Castlegate House
36 Castle Street
Hertford
SG14 1HH
Tel: 01992 503372
We are also being informed that there are denials by these businesses of  the circumstances surrounding ITRA and the relationships between ITRA, ECC and M1 Legal. For the sake of clarification –
ITRA was wound up after failing to provide promised timeshare relinquishment and claims services to consumers and subsequently for failing to refund consumers as ordered by the courts. ITRA had previously been named as a part of a major scam which resulted in the UK authorities shutting down seven connected businesses. The person identified as controlling ITRA was Andrew Cooper.
ECC was set up by Andrew Cooper, who is a director of the ‘UK ECC’ business. He was previously a director of two of the companies shut down by the UK authorities. Current contracts issued by ECC list a USA registered company as the provider of the services, which it has been confirmed has no employees and does not disclose ownership details. In addition, the US registration has a false Gibraltar address and the proxy director is a company previously registered in the Bahamas, which has since been struck off.
Whilst it has been pursuing some claims, Spanish registered M1 Legal was also set up by Andrew Cooper. One of the directors is also a director of the ‘Spanish arms’ of ITRA and the businesses shut down by the UK authorities.
The attempts at denials prompted us to provide information clarifying the facts, with links to some of the media coverage and documents that provide clear substantiation – that information is available on the following link ‘Why ECC is so upset with KwikChex’.

Why European Consumer Claims (ECC) is so upset with KwikChex

We are aware that European Consumer Claims / ECC is deceitfully using / ‘hijacking’  the KwikChex name within a domain name / website they have set up. They are also paying for Google Adverts to promote it.

They seek to discourage consumers from using the free services KwikChex provides to consumers – and to promote their own business and that of their associates.

Actions are now being taken, but in the interim, for the sake of clarity and to safeguard consumers, we are providing an explanation as to why the owners of ITRA and ECC are behaving in this dishonest manner.

Aside from the many inaccuracies and further deceits on the rogue resources,  ITRA and ECC sees this as a way to distract consumers from the multiple legal actions that have been taken against the various connected businesses and the news coverage that exposes their dishonest practices. We recently published a summary of these (hence their attacks on KwikChex), which can be found here – https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/advice-regarding-ecc/

But for the avoidance of any doubt as to the character of ITRA and ECC, we are providing below the links to some of the most notable media coverage and information concerning their activities and the actions that have been taken against them so that consumers can verify the information from trusted and significant resources.

 

Mail on Sunday November 2012

Article exposing the rogue dealings of several connected businesses, including ITRA and detailing how seven connected companies (led by Club Lass Concierge and supported by ITRA) were closed down by the UK authorities.

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-2234417/Couples-stress-belief-timeshare.html

Mail Online / Money Mail July 2016

Article describing how KwikChex provided free assistance to a couple deceived by ITRA and how they were awarded over £7000 by a court.

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-3709511/Couple-win-7-000-victory-faulty-timeshare-contract-following-18-month-legal-battle.html

Daily Mail September 2016

More cases of consumers deceived by ITRA are exposed. Identifies the influential ITRA ‘consultant’  and shows connections to ECC.

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-3810740/Can-trust-firm-says-rid-timeshare-price-families-did-lived-regret-it.html

The Straits Times July 2017

Article reports on the Singapore authorities warning about ITRA

“Case noted that since last October, Icon Solutions and ITRA have been on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Investor Alert List”

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/firm-flagged-over-claims-that-it-can-recover-timeshare-monies

Daily Mirror October 2018

Article reveals multiple complaints regarding ITRA, connections to the businesses wound up by UK authorities and names individuals and mentions two connected law firms.

“The Insolvency Service stated that the companies “were set up with the aim of duping consumers”(referring to the connected companies wound up).

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/trapped-timeshare-owners-unwanted-weeks-13431301

Daily Mirror February 2019

Article about how ITRA was closed down in the High Court after failing to pay refunds to consumers misled by them as ordered by the courts.

Identifies those behind ITRA and ECC and confirms the connections to businesses previously wound up by the UK authorities to protect consumers.

Clarifies the free assistance given by KwikChex to victims.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/shut-down-company-took-upfront-13994817

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling against ECC re misleading advertising July 2016

Complaint brought successfully against ECC by KwikChex. Contains admissions by ECC that they were generating leads for ITRA.

https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/european-claims-centre-llc-a16-334571.html

 

Official filings confirming ownership links between businesses closed down by UK authorities and ECC.

Club Class Concierge – closed by UK authorities

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/05932332/officers

Bridge View Consultants – closed by UK authorities

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06971280/officers

European Consumer Claims  – current business and the one responsible for the attacks

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10243428/officers

 

We believe the above information from trusted resources clearly demonstrates the reasons why ECC and those behind it are so desperate to deter consumers from contacting KwikChex.

KwikChex has been vetted & approved by UK Trading Standards and works closely with Trading Standards and other law enforcement, government and official consumer protection authorities.

Our accreditation and verified consumer feedback demonstrating the quality of the free assistance we provide to consumers can be viewed on this link – https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/profile/kwikchex-ltd-t-as-timeshare-task-force/24358/

Advice regarding consumers affected by ITRA and ECC matters.

  • If consumers have paid monies to ITRA and have not received the promised services. They can contact the insolvency investigators – see information here – https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/itra-insolvency-update This page also has advice on reporting cases to Action Fraud.
  • We have been contacted by a number of consumers complaining about ECC, who are now filing court claims against them. If you feel you have a reason to complain about ECC, you can use our free assistance services to contact us – https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/free-assistance

Advice regarding ECC (European Consumer Claims)

Incorporating information concerning ITRA (International Timeshare Refund Action), M1 Legal and Pinder Reaux. 

ECC association with closed down business ITRA 

The business describing itself as ‘ECC’ and offering relinquishment and claims services to timeshare owners is an offshoot of the business known most commonly as ‘ITRA’. 

It has been firmly established that 

  • ECC is under the same core ownership and control as was ITRA. 
  • Several of those working for ECC previously worked for ITRA. 
  • ECC previously shared offices with ITRA. 

With regard to ITRA, this business has been shut down following a winding up order made in the High Court in England after failing to refund consumers as ordered by the County Court. ITRA was the subject of several court actions by consumers who successfully took action over misrepresentations and breaches of contracts and the failure to provide the promised contract terminations and claims services. 

Prior to being closed down, ITRA was previously named by the UK authorities as playing a key part in a complex, multi-company, international network that deceived many consumers, resulting in losses of thousands of pounds in each case. ITRA’s role was to lure in consumers with promises of timeshare contract assistance – and then ‘switch-sell’ them into fraudulent holiday / lifestyle memberships. The UK authorities acted on these deceptions and closed down seven connected businesses in an attempt to protect consumers. 

ECC has already been the subject of consumer complaints and ongoing actions by consumers claiming misrepresentations have taken place. 

Misleading advertising  

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), ruled that ECC was guilty of misleading advertising and the report clearly demonstrated the close association ECC has had with ITRA – details of the ruling can be found on this link on the ASA website – https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/european-claims-centre-llc-a16-334571.html  

Different entities and name changes 

‘ECC’ is used as a generic trading name. A UK company based primarily in Slough, UK is the primary trading entity and is named as European Consumer Claims Ltd. This company was previously named European Claims Centre Ltd. 

Another ECC entity – one that is used on contracts issued to consumers is registered in Washington State USA. This is currently named European Consumer Claims LLC and was previously also known as European Claims Centre (LLC).  

Further ECC entities are registered in Spain as European Claims Centre – SP Branch  SL and also European Consumers Claims SL 

Concerns over ECC contracts 

Contracts issued by ECC that consumers are asked to sign have stated that the agreement is with a US registered entity – originally named as European Claims Centre LLC and now as European Consumer Claims LLC. Enquiries with the US authorities have shown that  

  • Ownership of the company in terms of individuals / shareholders is intentionally not disclosed. 
  • It is stated that the business trades from Gibraltar – but an investigation by the Gibraltar authorities could find no tracer of the business there. (ITRA previously also falsely claimed to have a ‘head office in Gibraltar). 
  • The company named as ‘proxy director’ in US filings appears to have been previously registered in the Bahamas but has since been struck off. 

Despite enquiries being made of ECC, no evidence has been produced that this US registered ECC has actually itself been trading or actively providing the services promised to consumers. 

It is of concern that consumers are being asked to sign a contract with such a company. 

Ongoing legal disputes between consumers and ECC have been complicated by the use of the US registered ECC company. Despite the UK entity being the business that takes money from consumers and controls the day to day functions of ECC, including the offices, personnel and website, when disputes have arisen over misrepresentations, ECC has claimed that it is ECC in the US that is the provider of services and ECC UK is denying liability. 

Legal firms acting in partnership with ITRA and ECC 

Both ITRA and ECC have been acting in partnership with two law firms. 

M1 Legal – registered in Spain as Maxima 1 Legal SL. 

This business also previously used the ECC brand, being originally named European Claims Chambers. 

A director of the business is also named as being a director of several companies that were the Spanish offshoots of ITRA and those closed down by the UK authorities. 

Pinder Reaux solicitors – a regulated and registered UK solicitor firm. 

Pinder Reaux initially engaged with ITRA as their legal representative – attempting to defend them with regard to claims brought be consumers. The defences that we are aware of all failed, with judgements being awarded in favour of the consumers. 

Pinder Reaux are now said to be acting in a commercial partnership with ECC, pursuing timeshare claims.  

It should be noted that where M1 Legal and Pinder Reaux are engaged in legal services on behalf of consumers that contracts have actually been signed and monies paid by consumers to ITRA (now closed) and ECC. 

 

Consumers with concerns over ITRA and ECC 

Understandably, consumers have been concerned over the fact that ECC can be regarded as an offshoot of ITRA.  

A number of those entering into contracts with ECC have been attempting to cancel and seek refunds after discovering the history and connections. The cancellations have been contested by ECC and in some cases are now the subject of court claims by the consumers – which are also being contested by ECC and are ongoing. 

Some consumers that previously paid monies to ITRA have been approached by ECC and told that ECC is taking over ITRA cases. We would advise that any consumer being approached in this manner makes urgent contact with the liquidators of ITRA, Richard Long & Co., who will be pleased to receive proof of debt against ITRA – and also any information regarding the activities of ITRA and potentially associated matter such as the ECC approachesDocuments relating to this can be found here.

For consumers that have contracted with ECC directly and have concerns, it is essential that a proper evaluation of the circumstances of each case takes place.  This could for example, examine the following. 

  • What services have been promised by ECC? 
  • Given the information provided by the US authorities regarding the US registered ECC entity and the information provided by the Gibraltar authorities, can the validity of the contracts be challenged? 
  • What cancellation rights might apply in terms of the ECC contracts? 
  • What work has been undertaken by ECC since contracts were signed / payments made? 
  • What is the precise basis in law that will be used by ECC in any contract termination or claims made on behalf of their clients? 

 

For the sake of clarity and transparency 

The information above is provided by KwikChex Ltd., as a part of free services to consumers under the Timeshare Task Force initiative.  

  • This service has been vetted and approved by UK Trading Standards – the accreditation and verified consumer feedback can be viewed on the following link  – https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/profile/kwikchex-ltd-t-as-timeshare-task-force/24358/  
  • KwikChex has helped resolve hundreds of cases and assist in recovering hundreds of thousands of pounds for consumers and the termination of contracts. This has all been achieved free of charge. 
  • KwikChex and KwikChex personnel have provided evidence used in civil and criminal cases and have acted as key witnesses in several cases. 
  • The Timeshare Task Force is funded by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), the trade association for vacation ownership across Europe. 

We are always very pleased to answer any questions put to us – simply use the following link for all enquiries and free help with any concerns – https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/free-assistance/

ITRA Insolvency Update

It has been confirmed that Richard Long & Co are to act as liquidators in the matter of the insolvency of International Timeshare Refund Action Ltd (ITRA) and will also investigate matters regarding the business.

Please click here for documents in this regard.

If you have not done so already you can use the included proof of debt form.

We are also aware that in a number of cases that the ITRA sister company, ECC or European Consumer Claims has been approaching consumers that have paid sums to ITRA, stating they will take over cases. Should your receive such an approach, please let us know via our online form so we can provide further advice.

If you have not done so already – affected consumers are also advised to file a report with Action Fraud online https://www.actionfraud. police.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.

If you require further assistance regarding ITRA, then you may contact us using our online form – https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/free-assistance. Assistance is entirely free and the service is Trading Standards vetted and approved.

ITRA – International Timeshare Refund Action wound up in the High Court

On 30th January 2019, International Timeshare Refund Action – more commonly known as ITRA, was wound up in the High Court of Justice England & Wales. This followed a petition made by a couple that had taken ITRA to court on grounds of unlawful conduct involving misrepresentations and failure to provide promised services concerning timeshare relinquishment and compensation. ITRA failed to refund monies as ordered by the court.
 
The original claim case against ITRA was one of several brought successfully against the business by consumers, with a number of courts repeatedly finding that ITRA had used deceptive methods and not provided services as agreed.  ITRA has a long track record of being involved in such deceptions and was previously named by UK authorities as playing a pivotal part in a serious and long running scam – a ‘bait & switch’ operation where consumers were lured by supposed legal assistance and then sold fraudulent ‘concierge services’ – a form of what has also been described as ‘Leisure Credits’, about which the authorities have issued strong warnings.
 
Assistance for consumers affected by ITRA
 
KwikChex, which manages the Timeshare Task Force has assisted  consumers with several successful claims against ITRA and has helped coordinate the Winding Up process.  We are aware that many consumers have been affected and are providing free assistance. There is an ongoing investigation into ITRA activities and consumers that have paid monies to ITRA can make contact via our reporting page –  The service is free and is approved by Trading Standards. See the following link to our accreditation and consumer feedback https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/profile/kwikchex/24358/ 
All consumers will be provided with advice and their cases can be passed to a specialist insolvency practitioner.
 
Connections to ECC – European Consumer Claims.
 
The owners of ITRA are also trading through a business known as ECC – European Consumer Claims. In several cases, ECC are attempting to take over cases from ITRA and in some instances are demanding fees.
 
ECC is also the subject of consumer complaints and has worked alongside ITRA, with common ownership and the same employees and premises.  ECC has been in breach of a number of laws, with failures to disclose ownership on websites and other business communications and failure to register under data protection regulations.   Any consumers concerned regarding these aspects of ECC’s trading can also make contact via our reporting page

Another judgement issued against ITRA in court – and this time they don’t even show up

International Timeshare Refund Action (ITRA) have once again had a judgement made against them in a court action brought by a consumer and supported by KwikChex.

On 4th June at Stoke-On-Trent County Court, ITRA were ordered to refund a consumer all the monies he paid to them plus costs – a total of over £5700. On this occasion, although fully aware of the proceedings, ITRA did not appear to defend the claim.

ITRA have lost several cases at courts across the UK in recent times after consumers took actions, citing misrepresentation and breach of contract. KwikChex has assisted many consumers that have complained that they have been pressured into paying thousands of pounds for supposed timeshare relinquishment and claims services which were never delivered.

The consumer in the latest case thanked KwikChex for the help provided and said that the judge had commended KwikChex for the work being done and for providing free assistance.

Update on ITRA & ECC

In recent times, after a run of defeats in court and adverse publicity,  those behind ITRA appear to be abandoning the ITRA brand and switching to their newer ECC brand, (European Claims Centre or European Consumer Claims). ECC is being operated by the same people from the same locations as ITRA. Complaints and concerns are already emerging about ECC and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have already upheld a complaint against the business  for misleading advertising, with the ruling clearly identifying their close association with ITRA – see link to ruling – https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/european-claims-centre-llc-a16-334571.html