Update on ITRA liquidation and ongoing investigations 

The business International Timeshare Refund Action, commonly known as ITRA, was wound up in the UK High Court on 30 January 2019 and made the subject of a compulsory liquidation. This followed a number of court claims against the business by timeshare owners seeking refund of thousands of pounds each after ITRA failed to provide promised timeshare exit and claims services.

 

Liquidators report and investigations 

The liquidators produced their last report to creditors on 16 April 2021. This provides the following information. 

  • To date, 124 creditors have submitted proof of debt information totalling over £323,000. However, information received by the joint liquidators indicates that ITRA may have had more than 3,000 customers and it is believed that substantial number of these may have unsatisfied claims.
  • The liquidators and Moon Beever, a specialist firm of solicitors have been carrying out extensive investigations of the circumstances.  Information from the investigations has been sent to counsel to assess potential actions. 


Background 

ITRA was originally a part of a network of businesses known as the Club Class Group, seven of which were wound up in the UK High Court in 2012, after the UK government took actions to protect consumers. The network was exposed as operating a substantial scam involving illegal ‘bait & switch’ methods to lure in timeshare owners with false promises of timeshare exit & claims and a move to a purported ‘Lifestyle Club’ that would provide them with exceptional holiday and other benefits. Consumers paid huge fees for these services, which were subsequently shown to be bogus. 

Photo of Andrew Cooper and Peter Utal of ITRA. Credit: Harry Page/Daily Mirror.
Andrew Cooper & Peter Utal of ITRA. Credit: Harry Page/Daily Mirror.

Of the seven businesses wound up in 2012, five were registered in the Seychelles and hid the identity of the owners. Two of them were registered in the UK and had as a director Andrew Cooper. Cooper also assumed the role of a ‘consultant’ to ITRA and was responsible for some executive roles, including instructing solicitors in unsuccessful defences of claims brought by timeshare owners against ITRA in the years following the actions against the seven connected Club Class businesses. 

A sister business to ITRA, originally named European Claims Centre and later renamed European Consumer Claims and styling itself as ‘ECC’ was started in 2015, with the formation of a company in Washington state in the US, which hides the identity of the owners. This was followed by the incorporation of a UK limited company in 2016 and a Spanish company in 2018. Andrew Cooper is the director of the UK and Spanish ECC companies. 

For a time, ITRA and ECC ran parallel with each other, sharing the same offices and employees in Slough, UK.  They have both also used other brands in their sales & marketing activities, including most notably, Timeshare Advice Centre, which has a long history of cold calling timeshare owners. In 2016, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published a ruling finding ECC and Timeshare Advice Centre guilty of misleading advertising – https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/european-claims-centre-llc-a16-334571.html  The close relationship of ITRA and ECC was confirmed within the details of the ruling. 

Following the winding up of ITRA, ECC started contacting affected timeshare owners with offers of assistance – to ‘take over’ their cases. The ITRA liquidators contacted ECC and instructed them to stop these activities.

 

If you are an affected ITRA customer 

The liquidators are keen to hear from customers of ITRA that believe they may have a claim related to services not being delivered as promised and misrepresentation. Whilst the outcome of investigations is far from clear at present, the possibility of recovery and other potential actions does exist – and registering with the liquidators is an essential part of the ongoing process.  

Contact details to register with the liquidators 

N H Sinclair, joint liquidator
Richard Long  & Co,
Castlegate House.
76 Castle Street,
Hertford
Herts 
SG14 1HH
www.richardlong.co.uk  

A copy of the last report by the liquidators is available here.

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