Tag Archives: RDO

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

Clarification re the scope of The new RDO timeshare helpline, managed by KwikChex as part of the Timeshare Task Force

Data from law enforcement agencies and details received by KwikChex via the Timeshare Task Force resources show that the majority of consumer complaints being made within the greater timeshare and long term holiday products sector’ concern the following.

  • So called timeshare alternatives; where it is claimed that substantial discounts are provided by paying very large fees upfront. These include the products often known as ‘Leisure Credits’.
  • Illegal ‘bait & switch’ practises where timeshare owners are lured in with promises of ‘legal help’ and are then duped into buying another product.
  • Poor or fraudulent offers of assistance with timeshare relinquishment,  claims and resales.
  • Unsolicited contact by phone (‘cold-calling’), text message and emails.

Because these are the great majority of complaints received by Action Fraud, Trading Standards and KwikChex, this is the key focus of the Timeshare Task Force resources.

Of course, some consumers do make complaints or express concerns about traditional timeshare resorts and products, including RDO members. These too are unequivocally accepted by KwikChex and the same diligent processes followed. Some cases are quickly resolved to the satisfaction of consumers. Where this is not immediately possible and it concerns an RDO member, they may be passed (with the consumer’s permission) to RDO’s Consumer department. RDO has a mediation and arbitration service to resolve cases under their members Code of Conduct. However, KwikChex continues to monitor such cases and to provide further assistance if the consumer wishes. This is independent of the RDO processes and is subject to scrutiny by Trading Standards.

In all cases, where resolutions are not quickly achievable, KwikChex will advise consumers as to their further options. These may include assistance with using the UK ‘Small Claims’ court processes, claims under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, or where these are not practical, advice to consult an expert and qualified lawyer. The latter is often the advice given if the case involves for example, parameters that may be within the scope of the Spanish Supreme Court decision primarily regarding ‘perpetuity’.

Any consumer contacting KwikChex with concerns regarding a RDO member is made aware from the outset that the free services being provided under the Timeshare Task Force initiative are being funded by RDO and RDO members and it is emphasised that they are of course, free to seek additional or alternative assistance from other sources, such as UK Citizens Advice or a solicitor. This information is also transparently published on the relevant websites managed by KwikChex.

Timeshare Task Force resources helping bring prosecutions

RDO Statement on Timeshare Release – Avoid the scammers

RDO

We understand that sometimes you just need to relinquish (hand back) or sell your timeshare; it may be you no longer use it, or may not be able to afford it anymore. Regardless of the reason, it is best if you contact your member services first who should be able to talk you through your options.

Stay away from scammers. Further details, above excerpts and read the full article – http://www.rdo.org/timeshare-release/

RDO Statement on Timeshare Release – Avoid the scammers

RDO

We understand that sometimes you just need to relinquish (hand back) or sell your timeshare; it may be you no longer use it, or may not be able to afford it anymore. Regardless of the reason, it is best if you contact your member services first who should be able to talk you through your options.

Stay away from scammers. Further details, above excerpts and read the full article – http://www.rdo.org/timeshare-release/

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/

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

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 Task Force Hitting Targets

TTF250x100

Case study

The recent case of Mr & Mrs B was a classic example of how the Timeshare Task Force has been instrumental in meeting its objectives of assisting consumers and tackling rogue businesses.

Pensioners in poor health, (Mrs B is disabled), they were lured, via the website www.timesharerelease.co.uk to a meeting in Malaga with ITRA, (the infamous International Timeshare Refund Action business). Even though the ITRA employees could see the poor health and knew the age of the couple, ITRA proceeded to tell them that they could release them from their timeshare within 4 – 6 weeks at a cost of £4,500 – which they paid. (ITRA had originally said they would handle the case on a no win no fee basis). When they were not released as promised, they went online and found the information about ITRA on the Timeshare Business Check website, which is provided by the TaskForce – and immediately sought help.

A fast and free solution was available all along.
As their resort was a member of RDO, the first action that took place was to liaise with the developer with regard to allowing them too surrender their timeshare under the exit provisions drawn up by the RDO and agreed to by the developer. Just over a week after contacting the TaskForce, it was confirmed that their situation warranted an immediate surrender, with no costs or fees.

The second element now being tackled is to assist the reimbursement of the £4500 paid to ITRA . Although the couple originally had a claim rejected by their credit card company, support and evidence now being provided by the Task Force should ensure the imminent return of their monies – this is another standard and frequent service provided by the Task Force.

Pursuing criminal prosecutions
Finally, the evidence is now being presented to law enforcement authorities in the appropriate European countries (on a cross border basis) and prosecution sought. The Task Force vigorously pursues such cases and will if necessary help victims take action via a private criminal prosecution.

All the elements so typical in Task Force work were present in this case – the deceit of well known serial offenders, the fact that free, fast and effective solutions were available if the timeshare owners had only used the Task Force resources first – and the subsequent assistance in refunding monies and enabling prosecution.

Cooperation and coordination paying off

The various organisations working in partnership are also greatly contributing to the results being achieved.

Cases received by the ECC network concerning RDO members have been quickly resolved – previously such cases were not even being reported to RDO, so no action could possibly have taken place.

Cases received by TATOC have been passed to the Task Force for investigation and resolutions processes, with many resulting in very fast reimbursements and others being prepared for criminal offences actions.

Information received by the Timeshare Business Check website has resulted in joint actions by Trading Standards and the Task Force.

In addition to quick resolutions, RDO, after forcing the resignation of a member for non-compliance, have passed the case details to the TaskForce for follow up action, including refund of monies and criminal prosecution.

A summary of achievements is below.

  • Over €100,000 being refunded to consumers so far after reports of malpractice etc via the Timeshare Business Check andTask Force websites
  • Actions taken on 3 persons featured on ‘Timeshare Criminals’ section of website. Authorities acting on all. Two of those reported are under suspended prison sentences / banning orders, so there is a high probability of them now being sent to prison
  • Identification of 73 offences / breaches by 34 businesses reported with clear evidence and details of specific breaches provided to authorities
  • Swift and effective action on complaints received from consumers about new travel products (software and member clubs) that promise substantial discounts
  • Increased cooperation with law enforcement and consumer authorities on an EU wide basis and coordinated process formed for investigation and prosecution
  • Cooperation with media highlighting specific rogue businesses to warn consumers and provide advice as to how to seek help from Task Force
  • Undertaking by UK ECC to reopen evaluation of Leisure Credits products in relation to EU Timeshare Directive
  • America Maya, the KwikChex Legal Officer and in-house lawyer is coordinating the actions between the Task Force investigations team and the authorities. She said “This is only the start. – the more information received by the Task Force, the greater the potential for resolutions, refunds and enforcement actions. Cooperation between all the various authorities and organisations is absolutely essential to deal with cross border problems and EU-wide legislation and regulations.”

    http://timesharebusinesscheck.org/

    http://www.timesharetaskforce.org/

  • 1 2