Tag Archives: cold calling

Timeshare Council – Warning

It has come to our attention that a business calling itself Timeshare Council and using the website www.timesharecouncil.co.uk has been cold calling consumers – some of which are registered with the Telephone Preference Service. Their methods are deceitful and unlawful.

They appear to imply that they are representing the registered company Timeshare Council Limited – company registration number 02513123, which was incorporated in 1990. This is a fraudulent claim.

The website deliberately withholds information regarding ownership and other details required by law.

We advise consumers contacted by persons purporting to be from Timeshare Council to report the matter to Action Fraud in the UK Telephone 0300 123 2040 or use their online reporting system – http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-a-fraud-including-online-crime

Advise Action Fraud that a business is passing itself off as a registered company, making unsolicited calls with suspected stolen data and provide any further details you have of any conversation that took place.

Our Timeshare resources:
Timeshare Task Force
Timeshare Business Check

‘Stop the Calls’ Company fined for making nuisance calls

A business claiming to help prevent unsolicited calls has been fined £50,000 after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found it was making hundreds of such calls itself.

Point One Marketing Ltd, trading as ‘Stop the Calls’ a Bournemouth based company offered a service to consumers to stop cold calling – but was found to be calling people registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), who had specified they did not want to receive unsolicited or marketing calls. At times they called repeatedly on the same day – a practice that is tantamount to bullying and which causes many people severe distress.

The ICO is determined to clamp down on such activities and more prosecutions are certain to follow.

KwikChex, as part of its Timeshare Task Force Initiative has recently engaged with the ICO to tackle this problem within the timeshare and holiday discount club sector. Many rogue businesses that attempt to scam existing timeshare owners or sell consumers bogus or illegal purported holiday discount schemes start their fraudulent processes with unsolicited contact – including cold calling, text messages and emails.

Consumers must check and double-check to avoid being victims of unfair conditions, deception and fraud

TBCFinalWhiteBkgrdSm300

When we examine the details of requests for assistance we receive from consumers, we often see very familiar signs and patterns that should act as warnings.

Overall

Transparency Test

Is the business transparent – do they disclose details of ownership and the details of the legal entity? Many of those we subsequently investigate when we receive concerns and complaints do not. In most cases, EU law requires companies to disclose such details on their websites, documentation and communications, including emails. There are some (few) exceptions – but even when these apply, consumers should ask about ownership, location and to what company / person any payments will be made. – and be very wary if these are not disclosed willingly.

Offshore & virtual offices.

Some businesses will have registrations in countries where it is difficult to obtain details of the ownership – and such registrations can also cause problems in the event of disputes. Such locations include Gibraltar, the Seychelles, Panama and Belize.

Some businesses use what are commonly known as ‘Virtual Office’ addresses. They are not based at the location given, but may use an accommodation address and telephone answering services provided by the owners of the offices. In several cases, we found that rogue businesses were not even paying for the service.

Neither of the above are illegal and do not mean that businesses using such resources are untrustworthy – but it is worth being extra vigilant when this is the case.

Some advice is provided by the UK Metropolitan Police on the subject
http://content.met.police.uk/Article/Office-addresses-and-mail-services-virtual-office/1400013159526/1400013159526

Cold calling / unsolicited contact

Cold calling is not in itself illegal – although offences may occur if the recipient has registered with the telephone preference service http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps. It is sensible though to ask how caller obtained the information – particularly if they know details of timeshare ownership. If the answers are unsatisfactory, a formal demand to answer the question and to determine what information is held can be made by submitting a Subject Access Request to the business making contact.

Timeshare Resale & Relinquishment

Precise details of proposed services

Whilst there are several legitimate businesses in this sector, in many cases, we find that the ‘offers’ being made to consumers for such services are vague — containing few or no details of how the timeshare will be disposed of. Consumers should ask for precise details in writing.

A wise tactic is to request a copy of the terms & conditions that would apply if you were to go ahead – and ask to whom any payments would be made too, so you can carry out further checks. Don’t rush in – ask if you can take the documents away for further consideration and to seek independent advice on.

Offers to purchase

In many cases, we have seen very inflated ‘valuations’ to purchase timeshare – or owners are told that a buyer is already waiting. If such an offer or valuation is made, ask what guarantees are provided – and ask for them in writing.

Legal claims and actions

A number of the requests for assistance received have been from consumers that have been persuaded to part with very large sums of money to purportedly fund legal claims and actions. In many cases, investigations subsequently showed that no action was taken at all – or that the competence demonstrated by the business was inadequate and unlikely to succeed. Several, including some that claim ‘class actions’ are taking place are completely bogus. Even if the service is from a registered firm, ask to have all the details of any proposed action to be put in writing, including an explanation of what risks are present, what fees might be payable further down the line, the likely time such actions will take, an explanation as to the likelihood of success and the consequences of failure and how you will be kept informed.

Check credentials

In the first instance, consumers should check the background thoroughly of any business offering such a service. Are they registered lawyers or claims companies? This is not mandatory, but is worth checking since such businesses are regulated and accountable. If not, consumers should carry out further checks into the business. Ask precisely what process will be used to mount a claim – many rogue businesses are extremely vague about this. Ask for a copy of terms & conditions. If the business is offering a ‘no win, no fee’ basis get them to define what this means – as many use this as an opening and then charge ‘administration fees’.

Switch selling

In many cases, businesses offering resale and relinquishment including legal assistance, then pressure consumers into buying other products – often at high cost. The products being sold in this way include ‘Leisure Credits’ and ‘Lifestyle Memberships’ (sometimes described as Concierge Services). The principal claimed benefits are usually substantial discounts on holidays – but in many cases, the prices can be matched by internet sellers – or the holidays may be promotional visits to timeshare resorts where consumers must attend a sales presentation.

Consumers should check thoroughly into such products to determine whether there are really any credible benefits – and whether it is a product that they genuinely want. Further checks should be made into the precise methods relating to timeshare relinquishment etc. that such businesses say comes as part of a package. Many of the businesses offering such ‘deals’ will also refuse to refund if the consumer changes their minds or states they are not satisfied that promises made are not being kept.

Timeshare / Fractional Ownership

When the product being sold is what can be described as more traditional timeshare, consumers should be sure again that the product is suitable for them and that their rights are being respected. Whilst the European Consumer Centre network has confirmed that there are few consumer complaints being received concerning timeshare itself compared to the other products featured in this blog, consumers should nevertheless ensure they understand the product being offered and their legal rights. The website Go Timeshare, which has been provided by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) provides useful information to consumers on this link http://www.gotimeshare.org/category/timeshare-consumer-news/consumer-guides/

Check and double-check

Consumers should do everything possible to be sure of what they are being offered.

You can contact official consumer organisations such as UK Citizens Advice or the European Consumer Centres. You can also contact your own lawyers.

The Timeshare Task Force also provides free services to consumers that include the Timeshare Business Check which contains verified details of many businesses in the sector – http://timesharebusinesscheck.org/check-a-business/

Services also include free assistance to consumers that:

  • Have concerns about businesses
  • Believe they may have been deceived or defrauded
  • Would like to discuss possible relinquishment – particularly if they are elderly, infirm / have difficulty travelling or are in severe financial difficulties – as in many cases quick solutions are possible.
  • Use the following link for the above – http://timesharebusinesscheck.org/report-your-concerns/

    At no time will the Timeshare Task Force charge any fees for these services and all responses will be made on the basis of verified information. If consumers appear to be victims of breaches of consumer laws, the Timeshare Task Force will liaise with appropriate European law enforcement agencies.

    Consumers must check and double-check to avoid being victims of unfair conditions, deception and fraud

    TBCFinalWhiteBkgrdSm300

    When we examine the details of requests for assistance we receive from consumers, we often see very familiar signs and patterns that should act as warnings.

    Overall

    Transparency Test

    Is the business transparent – do they disclose details of ownership and the details of the legal entity? Many of those we subsequently investigate when we receive concerns and complaints do not. In most cases, EU law requires companies to disclose such details on their websites, documentation and communications, including emails. There are some (few) exceptions – but even when these apply, consumers should ask about ownership, location and to what company / person any payments will be made. – and be very wary if these are not disclosed willingly.

    Offshore & virtual offices.

    Some businesses will have registrations in countries where it is difficult to obtain details of the ownership – and such registrations can also cause problems in the event of disputes. Such locations include Gibraltar, the Seychelles, Panama and Belize.

    Some businesses use what are commonly known as ‘Virtual Office’ addresses. They are not based at the location given, but may use an accommodation address and telephone answering services provided by the owners of the offices. In several cases, we found that rogue businesses were not even paying for the service.

    Neither of the above are illegal and do not mean that businesses using such resources are untrustworthy – but it is worth being extra vigilant when this is the case.

    Some advice is provided by the UK Metropolitan Police on the subject
    http://content.met.police.uk/Article/Office-addresses-and-mail-services-virtual-office/1400013159526/1400013159526

    Cold calling / unsolicited contact

    Cold calling is not in itself illegal – although offences may occur if the recipient has registered with the telephone preference service http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps. It is sensible though to ask how caller obtained the information – particularly if they know details of timeshare ownership. If the answers are unsatisfactory, a formal demand to answer the question and to determine what information is held can be made by submitting a Subject Access Request to the business making contact.

    Timeshare Resale & Relinquishment

    Precise details of proposed services

    Whilst there are several legitimate businesses in this sector, in many cases, we find that the ‘offers’ being made to consumers for such services are vague — containing few or no details of how the timeshare will be disposed of. Consumers should ask for precise details in writing.

    A wise tactic is to request a copy of the terms & conditions that would apply if you were to go ahead – and ask to whom any payments would be made too, so you can carry out further checks. Don’t rush in – ask if you can take the documents away for further consideration and to seek independent advice on.

    Offers to purchase

    In many cases, we have seen very inflated ‘valuations’ to purchase timeshare – or owners are told that a buyer is already waiting. If such an offer or valuation is made, ask what guarantees are provided – and ask for them in writing.

    Legal claims and actions

    A number of the requests for assistance received have been from consumers that have been persuaded to part with very large sums of money to purportedly fund legal claims and actions. In many cases, investigations subsequently showed that no action was taken at all – or that the competence demonstrated by the business was inadequate and unlikely to succeed. Several, including some that claim ‘class actions’ are taking place are completely bogus. Even if the service is from a registered firm, ask to have all the details of any proposed action to be put in writing, including an explanation of what risks are present, what fees might be payable further down the line, the likely time such actions will take, an explanation as to the likelihood of success and the consequences of failure and how you will be kept informed.

    Check credentials

    In the first instance, consumers should check the background thoroughly of any business offering such a service. Are they registered lawyers or claims companies? This is not mandatory, but is worth checking since such businesses are regulated and accountable. If not, consumers should carry out further checks into the business. Ask precisely what process will be used to mount a claim – many rogue businesses are extremely vague about this. Ask for a copy of terms & conditions. If the business is offering a ‘no win, no fee’ basis get them to define what this means – as many use this as an opening and then charge ‘administration fees’.

    Switch selling

    In many cases, businesses offering resale and relinquishment including legal assistance, then pressure consumers into buying other products – often at high cost. The products being sold in this way include ‘Leisure Credits’ and ‘Lifestyle Memberships’ (sometimes described as Concierge Services). The principal claimed benefits are usually substantial discounts on holidays – but in many cases, the prices can be matched by internet sellers – or the holidays may be promotional visits to timeshare resorts where consumers must attend a sales presentation.

    Consumers should check thoroughly into such products to determine whether there are really any credible benefits – and whether it is a product that they genuinely want. Further checks should be made into the precise methods relating to timeshare relinquishment etc. that such businesses say comes as part of a package. Many of the businesses offering such ‘deals’ will also refuse to refund if the consumer changes their minds or states they are not satisfied that promises made are not being kept.

    Timeshare / Fractional Ownership

    When the product being sold is what can be described as more traditional timeshare, consumers should be sure again that the product is suitable for them and that their rights are being respected. Whilst the European Consumer Centre network has confirmed that there are few consumer complaints being received concerning timeshare itself compared to the other products featured in this blog, consumers should nevertheless ensure they understand the product being offered and their legal rights. The website Go Timeshare, which has been provided by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) provides useful information to consumers on this link http://www.gotimeshare.org/category/timeshare-consumer-news/consumer-guides/

    Check and double-check

    Consumers should do everything possible to be sure of what they are being offered.

    You can contact official consumer organisations such as UK Citizens Advice or the European Consumer Centres. You can also contact your own lawyers.

    The Timeshare Task Force also provides free services to consumers that include the Timeshare Business Check which contains verified details of many businesses in the sector – http://timesharebusinesscheck.org/check-a-business/

    Services also include free assistance to consumers that:

  • Have concerns about businesses
  • Believe they may have been deceived or defrauded
  • Would like to discuss possible relinquishment – particularly if they are elderly, infirm / have difficulty travelling or are in severe financial difficulties – as in many cases quick solutions are possible.
  • Use the following link for the above – http://timesharebusinesscheck.org/report-your-concerns/

    At no time will the Timeshare Task Force charge any fees for these services and all responses will be made on the basis of verified information. If consumers appear to be victims of breaches of consumer laws, the Timeshare Task Force will liaise with appropriate European law enforcement agencies.