Another Court Judgement Against ITRA

Consumer awarded over £4800 as judge declares that breaches of contract by International Refund Action Ltd. (ITRA) were “completely unacceptable”

KwikChex can report that on Friday 19 January 2018,  at Weston-Super-Mare County Court, another consumer it has supported has won a judgement against International Timeshare Refund Action – ITRA.

The judge ordered ITRA to repay the consumer £4802.60, having decided that ITRA had not provided the services promised.  The judge also commented that the “Breaches were as fundamental as they could possibly get” and that there had been “so little done for so much money”

The consumer asked for the assistance of KwikChex via the Timeshare Task Force resources that KwikChex manages, which are funded by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) after ITRA’s multiple failures to clearly respond for over a year to requests to detail what ITRA had carried out on her behalf. KwikChex provided free  advice and support for 18 months during the dispute, which culminated in the court hearing, with ITRA vainly trying to defend the lack of work carried out and poor communication. Attempts to carry out some work at the eleventh hour, well after legal proceedings were started were rejected as ‘too little, too late’.

KwikChex Director Chris Emmins provided a witness statement and attended court in support of the consumer, which detailed ITRA’s involvement in the notorious Club Class Concierge scams which resulted in the winding-up of seven connected companies by the UK authorities. Also included in the statement were details of complaints made by consumers to Action Fraud about ITRA and the misrepresentations that ITRA had a ‘Head Office’ in Gibraltar – something the Gibraltar authorities had confirmed was untrue.

ITRA attempted to defend the claim by using their favoured law firm, Pinder Reaux and a barrister, whilst the consumer represented herself. Two witnesses appeared for ITRA – the first was a Patrick O’Connor, who from the outset admitted that he used an alias when working for ITRA, calling himself ‘Steven John’ a name that has been quoted by many consumers making complaints against ITRA. He stated that the alias was easier for consumers to remember. The second witness was identified as Andrew Cooper, who in his witness statement said that he was a ‘consultant ’for ITRA. However, a solicitor from Pinder Reaux described him as ITRA’s CEO – and when questioned whether he was a director of ITRA he replied that he was. Andrew Cooper was also a director of two of the companies closed down by the UK authorities in 2012 – Bridge View Consultants Ltd. and Club Class Concierge Ltd. He is also a current director of European Claims Centre Ltd., a business that claims to have helped thousands of people to exit timeshares, though it was only formed in June 2016 and uses the serviced  / virtual offices to conduct its business as ITRA.

The latest case echoed the well-publicisied win by Mr & Mrs Walker against ITRA in court in 2016, who were refunded over £7000 – see the report by the Daily Mail – http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-3709511/Couple-win-7-000-victory-faulty-timeshare-contract-following-18-month-legal-battle.html

KwikChex and a number of consumer protection and advice agencies continue to receive complaints concerning ITRA.

Free advice and assistance is available for consumers on the Timeshare Business Check and Timeshare Task Force websites and via the Timeshare Helpline – 0044 (0) 1202 832012 timesharehelpline.net

KwikChex and the Timeshare Task Force services have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards and are the only business operating within the timeshare sector to have received official accreditation under the Trading Standards Buy With Confidence scheme – see the accreditation and verified consumer feedback on the following link  – www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/profile/kwikchex/24358

RDO Statement on Timeshare Exits

RDO

The timeshare trade body, RDO (Resort Development Organisation) and the timeshare owners association, TATOC (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees) have been working closely over the last two years to find solutions for owners who have an urgent need to dispose of their timeshare.

Contrary to some of the media coverage, there are ways for consumers to dispose of their ownership and we would advise them in the first instance to contact their resort/developer for advice.

Above excerpts and read the full article – http://www.rdo.org/industry-updates/rdo-statement-on-timeshare-exits/

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

bbc-radio-4-250x100

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

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

Resort Management Direct Timeshare Business Check Profile

Timeshare firms agree exit deal for owners who die or go bankrupt

HeraldScotlandCredits: Herald Scotland
By: Simon Bain

Timeshare companies have responded to the scandal of timeshare owners being unable to escape liability for their annual management fees even when they die or go bankrupt.

Industry trade body the Resort Development Organisation has said its members will now allow “exit in the case of the death of an owner whose spouse or family does not wish to keep the timeshare and also in the event of the personal bankruptcy of an owner.”

It comes as the industry-funded timeshare association reports that owners lost £1.2million to phone-based scams last year, with 240 cold-calling companies reported to its helpline, 91 of them for the first time.

The Association of Timeshare Owner Committees (TATOC) says it helped owners attempt to recover over three-quarters of the lost cash but admits that the figures, made available for the first time, are “alarming”.

Above excerpts and read the full article on www.heraldscotland.com

European Timeshare Leaders Create a New Task Force

PRWebCredits: PR Web

The leading businesses and bodies in the European timeshare sector have launched a new initiative to tackle issues that potentially affect hundreds of thousands of timeshare owners and consumers; the initiative also signifies a new era reflecting the great strides forward that the industry has taken in quality and integrity.

The Timeshare Task Force brings together RDO’s own enforcement operation, resorts, timeshare owners, consumer organisations and law enforcement agencies to achieve common goals. At the top of the priority list is tackling the rogues that have been defrauding timeshare owners and consumers to the tune of millions of Euros.

Above excerpts and read the full article on www.prweb.com

Other articles www.thisismoney.co.uk

Tarnished timeshare industry acts at last and sets up own regulator as fraudsters’ new twist hits victims TWICE

NewscomauCredits: This is Money
By: Sarah Bride

The battered timeshare industry has set up its own regulator in a desperate attempt to tackle organised criminals defrauding customers, and to restore a reputation left in tatters by a string of scandals.

The latest spate of fraud aims not to sell new holiday timeshares but to sting existing owners. Often short of cash and facing retirement – or regretting their original investment – they are being targeted with fake offers to buy out their timeshares or switch them into new holiday deals that may not even exist.

Above excerpts and read the full article on www.thisismoney.co.uk

Timeshare Task Force Media Release

KwikChex is coordinating a new European Timeshare Task Force designed to help consumers and drive quality and integrity.

KwikChex is the principal coordinator in a new initiative designed to tackle issues that potentially affect hundreds of thousands of timeshare owners and consumers. The initiative also marks the start of a new era reflecting the great strides forward that the industry has taken in quality and integrity.

Timeshare Task ForceThe Timeshare Task Force brings together timeshare resort and consumer organisations, timeshare owners, and law enforcement agencies that share common goals.

At the top of the priority list is tackling the rogues that have been defrauding timeshare owners and consumers to the tune of millions of Euros.

These fraudulent businesses come in many guises – making promises connected to timeshare resales, legal claims and discounted holidays for life. The great majority are simply criminals. They use the internet and cold calling to trap the unwary. They are clever – using misinformation and useless guarantees to lure their victims in.

Nowhere to hide for the rogues now

The new initiatives include identifying the perpetrators – many of which are serial offenders – and preparing prosecutions. In the most serious cases, information is being passed to law enforcement agencies such as the UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau; its exceptional experience and expertise in coordinating cross border investigations are essential in tackling those that operate in several different countries.

The coordinated effort will make life very difficult for those that have targeted the timeshare sector – every website, every advertisement run on Google, every cold call is like to result in an investigation, sophisticated tracing and criminal charges. Every time a fraudster contacts a timeshare owner or consumer, they will be running the risk of talking not to a potential victim – but a private investigator or law enforcement officer.

And in addition to the major cases involving the police, the Task Force will also use private criminal prosecutions to ease the burden on the authorities and speed the process of apprehending the perpetrators.

New online resources to help timeshare owners and consumers

Timeshare Business Check website

Every day practical measures are also being offered, including new online advice resources, such as the Timeshare Business Check which will provide information on businesses selling within the timeshare and related sectors. Key features are the ‘transparency evaluation’ and checks on the business and ownership. And of course, concerned consumers will be able to report any irregularities.

For those that want advice or are seeking resolutions, the Timeshare Business Check provides trusted resources – especially for those that want to know more about timeshare products in the modern era and the laws and codes of conduct that protect consumers and timeshare owners. It will also help those that want to find trusted timeshare resorts and resale companies.

New heights of quality and integrity

The Timeshare Task Force will also see the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) conducting a further review in early 2014 with its members and partners focusing on the quality and integrity of sales processes beyond the existing compliance with EU laws and the current RDO code of conduct. Much progress has been made in terms of dealing with issues such as those needing to exit the industry, for example deserving timeshare owner exit cases involving illness, bankruptcy and death.

Calvin Lucock, Chairman of RDO, commented:
“The next year we expect to continue to work on significant initiatives in the timeshare sector – bringing benefits for consumers and timeshare businesses alike.”

Those responsible for the new initiatives include the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), who, together with their members have taken the lead and are financing it, TATOC, the timeshare owners association, and the European Consumers Centre. Law enforcement agencies and politicians across Europe will also be a key part of the strategy. KwikChex will use the full range of its resources to help ensure the success of the Task force, including extensive online investigation and business verification, resolutions services and legal assistance. The key to making this work within the timeshare sector is exactly the same principle as KwikChex uses in all its work in all sectors – a total focus on quality and integrity that benefits and protects consumers and businesses that are committed to high standards.

Links

Timeshare Business Check www.timesharebusinesscheck.org
Timeshare Task Force www.timesharetaskforce.org
RDO www.rdo.org
TATOC www.tatoc.co.uk
KwikChex www.kwikchex.com

What a difference a year makes…

Credits: RDO (Resort Development Organisation
By: Chief Executive Blog

“With apologies to Jamie Cullum who wrote the lyrics for the song “What a difference a day makes”. This song title came into my head after Chris Emmins (Kwikchex) and I had made a presentation to the staff of the UK and Scandinavian European Consumer Centres Network[i] (ECC-Net) on who RDO represented (the best in timeshare in Europe) and what we were doing to combat the fraudsters in Europe (through RDO Enforcement and the Timeshare Task Force).”

Above excerpts and full article on: www.RDO.org