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.

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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

Fraudsters use crisis in 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.

The latest attempts at scamming timeshare owners involve phone callers falsely telling Hilton Grand Vacations owners in the UK that the business is going into liquidation and offering services to assist the owners. The use of this type of totally false information is not new – but the fraudsters are using the coronavirus crisis to try and convince people that there is substance to it – there is not.

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Update 04/04/2020: Hilton Grand Vacations has issued a fraud alert (below) via email to it’s members and placed a notice on it’s websites (this includes resorts managed by Hilton Grand Vacations).

FRAUD ALERT
We’ve been informed that a third-party company is contacting Owners telling them that Hilton Grand Vacations is in liquidation. This information is untrue. We caution you against engaging with this company. If you’ve been a victim of this scam, please report it to KwikChex, either online through this form or by contacting them at any of the phone numbers listed on their website.

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KwikChex is increasing efforts to assist consumers and tackle scammers during this crisis. The KwikChex team will continue to provide free assistance to consumers and we will do our utmost to answer any enquiries. In addition, we will do all possible to identify the fraudsters and see that enforcement takes place.

If you receive unsolicited calls, texts or emails, the first thing is to know that in almost all cases, those responsible are breaching data laws and have illegally obtained data. KwikChex has a live initiative taking place on this and you can report it to us.

You do not have to engage with such appallingly dishonest people, but if you wish to contribute to the fight against them, you can ask them the following.

  • What is the name of their company?
  • Is the company registered? If so, ask them to provide the company location and registration number.
  • Ask for the name of the actual caller and a phone number they can be contacted on.
  • Ask them where they obtained your details.

Most will end the call. Some will try and bluff, but we advise that you stick to just the above in your responses and if they do provide information, please report it to KwikChex so we can act on it.

Ideally, please use our website resources to make reports as this is the most efficient way for us to collect information Our free assistance form can be found here: https://kwikchex.com/coronavirus-scams-and-dangers/

There are also telephone numbers that can be used. It will not always be possible to talk directly with our team, but an answerphone will also enable you to leave your details for follow up by our team.

Please also see below links for further information –

Our general warnings and advice on scams during the crisis

Advice to timeshare owners during the crisis

Advice for timeshare owners during the coronavirus crisis

KwikChex has been receiving requests for information from owners as to what the policies will be of timeshare companies / resorts should owners not be able to enjoy the benefits of ownership due to the coronavirus emergency.

We have already seen individual, positive examples of how this is being handled and so in the first instance would recommend that owners / members make contact with their timeshare companies / resorts to check on a case by case basis.  We feel that all will appreciate that it may also be difficult to determine what the position might be too far ahead as the situation is still ongoing and evolving and circumstances are likely to vary considerably depending on multiple factors, such as resort location and the time of the year holidays are due to be taken.

KwikChex has reached out to developers and resorts to ask that they do their utmost to keep owners / members informed to the very best of their abilities and also advise KwikChex similarly so we can respond to enquiries.

We send our best wishes for the health of all in these trying times and our fervent hope that the crisis passes soon. In the meantime, KwikChex has been increasing our resources to provide the greatest level of assistance possible.

Chris Emmins presents at EUROC seminar

Chris Emmins, director and co-founder of KwikChex  led a session on consumer protection and law enforcement at the first EUROC seminar held in Sutton Coldfield in September.

The session – conducted as a part of the KwikChex-managed Timeshare Task Force initiatives included information on the rights of timeshare owners, including fair contracts and the battle against rogue claims businesses.

It featured a number of case studies which demonstrated how timeshare owners had been targeted by fraudsters and convinced to pay thousands for bogus claims and relinquishment services – and detailed some of the actions taken to bring the rogues to justice and help recover monies for consumers. Advice is being made available by KwikChex to EUROC members on how to better protect owners against such scams – and to ensure that if they do have concerns over their ownership, they can go through a process of checking and due diligence which will properly evaluate their situation.

Attendees were also reassured of the integrity of the services provided free of charge by KwikChex – including Trading Standards Approved accreditation and the recent Hero Award given to KwikChex by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

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

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

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

Timeshare Task Force responds to over 1000 consumer requests for assistance in 11 months

Since the launch  of the new Timeshare Helpline, in July 2017 the Timeshare Task Force operated by KwikChex, has received and responded to over 1000 requests for assistance and successfully resolved half of these, with the remainder receiving ongoing support.
As a provider of evidence and witness statements the TTF has helped secure:
•       The convictions of 3 persons involved in rogue activities
•       Multiple arrests
•       4 Judgements in favour of consumers in County Court proceedings against ITRA
•       The closure of numerous websites and businesses, including EZE Group
Consumers have been assisted with refunds totalling over a quarter of a million pounds.
All assistance to consumers is completely free, with funding being provided by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), the representative organisation for timeshare developers in Europe.
The Task Force has a 5 star Trading Standards Approved rating, with outstanding feedback – see example below.
“Extremely helpful and supportive and completely free! They helped me to achieve a complete refund of all monies within a few weeks. Totally upfront and with valuable connections to Trading Standards and The Citizens’ Advice Bureau. I would totally recommend them to anybody with Timeshare problems. Definitely use them!”
See more reviews and details of our Trading Standards vetted & approved accreditation – https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/profile/kwikchex/24358/
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