Timeshare Claims Warning March 2019

Important advice re increasing risks related to timeshare claims businesses 

On 22 February 2019, purported ‘timeshare claims specialist’ businesses Meredith Pritchard Consultants Ltd.  and First Law Solutions Ltd. were wound up in the UK High Court following action by UK authorities. 

The Insolvency Service presented petitions to the court on the grounds that both companies traded with a lack of commercial probity by failing to provide contracted services in a timely manner or at all. This included accepting payments in respect of non-viable claims, charging excessive fees, and using misleading and aggressive sales techniques. Losses to consumers deceived by the businesses are believed to be in excess of half a million pounds. 

The news follows the winding up of another timeshare claims operation just weeks before, when International Timeshare Refund Action (ITRA), were also wound up in the High Court after failing to refund monies to consumers as per court orders established, they too had not provided the promised services. 

In the past 18 months, several businesses offering timeshare and relinquishment services have shut down without making good on their promises. Other notable examples include RSB Legal and Standon Mortimer. 

In addition, there have been multiple arrests made by the police and convictions through prosecutions, including the prolific EZE Group that are connected with the targeting of timeshare owners, In August last year, the problem was highlighted by Action Fraud, who reported that victims seeking their assistance had reported losing £7,893,028 in just the first half of the year. KwikChex has estimated that well in excess of £150 million has been lost by consumers to such activities over the last 5 years. 

Over 100 businesses have been identified as operating in deceptive and fraudulent ways or simply failing to deliver the promised services. Regrettably, this has even included regulated businesses including at least one firm of solicitors. Fake lawyers have also been springing up and making unlawful, unsolicited contact with timeshare owners. 

The problem has turned into a large-scale epidemic and KwikChex is currently in discussions with several authorities on how to tackle it. 

 

Free help with checking and due diligence 

KwikChex, via the Timeshare Task Force provides a free service to consumers wanting to check on businesses operating within the timeshare sector. It is the only resource of its kind officially vetted and approved by UK Trading Standards. 

Given the vast scale and nature of the problem, KwikChex is urging consumers to: 

  • Use the Timeshare Task Force resources to check all businesses offering timeshare relinquishment and claims 
  • If they simply want to relinquish their timeshare, to make enquiries of the timeshare developer/ resort at which they own in the first instance to see what exit options may be available  
  • If they believe they have a claim, to check what options are available with the Timeshare Task Force resources 
  • Report all unsolicited contacts – as almost all have been shown to be rogue in nature 
  • Use free resources provided by KwikChex to ensure that all due diligence is carried out and that all information regarding proposed services is put in writing 
  • Avoid any business that states it cannot accept credit card payments 

 

Important information for clarity 

The free services provided to consumers by KwikChex are funded through the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), which represent timeshare businesses in Europe. In order to ensure that the services provided by KwikChex maintain the highest levels of integrity, they have been vetted and approved by UK Trading Standards and continue to be monitored on an ongoing basis. 

KwikChex has an outstanding track record of resolving problems and gaining refunds for consumers free of charge. This has included several well-publicised cases where assistance has been provided that enabled consumers to make successful regulatory-based and court claims. Where KwikChex is unable to help directly and the consumer wishes to take formal legal action, KwikChex will advise that an expert legal professional is used and advise on the selection process. 

The official KwikChex accreditation, approval and verified consumer feedback can be viewed on the following link. 

https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/profile/kwikchex/24358/

Warning – ‘Travel & Leisure Mexico’

A company in Mexico is using the branding and logo design of RDO member Travel & Leisure. They are using the name ‘Travel & Leisure Mexico‘.

Although their website (www.travelleisure.com.mx) is no longer active, they are still making contact with consumers.

They are nothing to do with the Travel & Leisure Group and are also NOT members of the RDO and ARDA, and therefore should not be displaying their logos.

We advise extreme caution regarding this company – if you have been affected or are contacted by this business please let us know by using our free assistance form.

Shut down: the company that took upfront fees…

Credits: The Mirror, By Andrew Penman, 14/02/19

Shut down: the company that took upfront fees from people desperate escape timeshare traps

‘International Timeshare Refund Action liquidated after ignoring court judgment’

‘When ITRA ignored the judgment they took the case to the High Court to have it shut down, assisted by Kwikchex, an online business verification scheme that runs the timeshare industry-funded Timeshare Task Force .

“ITRA has a long record of making empty promises and charging huge fees, when in reality there were free or much lower cost options to exit timeshares,” said founder Chris Emmins.

“That’s why we have provided free help, assisting consumers to take successful legal action. We are continuing to assist consumers that have been affected by ITRA and other similar businesses.”

Above excerpts and read the full article: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/shut-down-company-took-upfront-13994817

 

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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.

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

The service was impeccable, explained everything in easy to understand terms, answered my every query and acted immediately.

The service was impeccable, explained everything in easy to understand terms, answered my every query and acted immediately.

An unbelievable exceptional service. This kind of service is very hard to come by in this environment we are living in. I would love to know every aspect of all the matters they can deal with and do wish they had the power to deal with so much more.

Honest and reliable service.

(Reviewed February 2019)

Trapped timeshare owners who paid thousands to get out of their contracts are being ‘palmed off’

Credits: The Mirror, By Andrew Penman, 17/10/18

Trapped timeshare owners who paid thousands to get out of their contracts are being ‘palmed off’

‘Couple were desperate to sell their timeshare when the annual fees reached £1,500 so paid International Timeshare Refund Action Limited, or ITRA, to help them’

So far ITRA have done very little, getting me to do most of their work,” Laura says.

“After four years I am now informed that I still own the week in Scotland and am therefore liable for maintenance arrears of £742,” said Anthony.

“We paid ITRA over £5,000, this was over two years ago,” says Julie.

Above excerpts and read the full article: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/trapped-timeshare-owners-unwanted-weeks-13431301

If you believe you have been affected by a scam you can report it to KwikChex: https://kwikchex.com/consumers/

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