While most of us remain focused on keeping ourselves and our families safe during the current Covid-19 crisis, we wanted to draw your attention to some ruthless individuals and companies that are seeking to exploit people’s vulnerability at this time.
Sadly, there are some shameless, highly-organised operations in the UK and Spain which are exploiting this period of uncertainty to deluge unsuspecting Members online with fake offers promising thousands of pounds. These outfits often claim some legal expertise or disguise themselves as a ‘consumer’ group.
The truth is their only interest is getting their hands on your money – usually upfront. As you can read below, some of these companies have been brought to book and arrest warrants issued, but the truth is the law cannot keep up with these shadowy figures. Although most of our Members remain vigilant, sadly some unsuspecting CLC Members have already lost thousands of pounds as a result of these scams.
If you are approached by one of these companies, please come to us first and we will happily address any concerns and issues raised. We will be open and honest with you about your rights, as we always have been for more than 35 years in business. Please do not sign any agreement with them before at least getting some independent legal advice. However, we would hope you would come to CLC first and we are ready to answer and address any queries, concerns and questions. Unlike these companies, we operate in the light of day, not the shadows.
Please exercise extreme caution and do not sign anything or give these outfits any funds upfront.
We are hearing reports from Consumer Bodies of cold calls and unsolicited emails being sent to CLC Members seeking to scare them into paying fees/entering into contracts with unregulated claims companies.
One such email has been sent from timeshare-compensation.com, providing a mailing address in Edinburgh where in fact the operation is run from Tenerife. Information regarding this business has been published on the Timeshare Business Check website – see link https://timesharebusinesscheck.org/directory/timeshare-compensation-com/
It identifies the company behind the website as Viking Consultants and includes the following “The CEO of Viking Real Estate and Consultants is Mike Farhoud. They are known to contact consumers by cold-calling and unsolicited emails – consumers are advised to ask how the businesses obtained personal data and what data they hold? If not satisfied, with answers received, reports can be made to the relevant data protection authorities.”
In addition, reports are also being received of cold calls to CLC Members using the same scare tactics, with the callers fraudulently identifying themselves as a ‘Government Advisory Service’. Such deceptions are illegal practices and combined with breaches of data protection laws are a very serious matter. These are now being brought to the attention of the authorities in Spain, the UK and other EU countries. CLC Members who are being approached in this way are urged to report them.
With increased awareness and warnings, Members have become wise to the approaches of these companies. However, these companies have developed increasingly devious schemes and scams – as we highlight further below.
Operated behind the scenes by Mark Rowe, a recent police investigation into their activities resulted in the issue of several arrest warrants. Companies that have allegedly associated with Rowe over the years include Lansdown Financial Ltd and Addlington-West Group, Praetorian Legal Limited, Mercantile Claims Management Solutions Limited, TESS Paralegal Services Ltd and the wholly misnamed Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA).
Operated by Dominic and Stephanie O’Reilly who have recently received prison sentences for their part in what Trading Standards described as “a major scam”. Companies that have allegedly associated with the EZE Group include Praetorian Legal Limited and Fullbrook Associates.
Operated behind the scenes by Andrew Cooper, Club Class Group was wound up in the public interest several years ago but resurfaced under the new identity of ITRA (International Timeshare Refund Action Ltd). This too was wound up after losing cases in court where costs were awarded jointly against the Company and the misled customer, who was left with a big loss.
They now operate in exactly the same way, and likely with the same results, under the name European Consumer Claims sl. Companies associated with them include – once again – the Timeshare Consumer Association (TCA) and M1 Legal sl who operate out of an office above a supermarket here on the Costa del Sol.
A CLC Member has very recently reported receiving a call from a Claims Company pretending to be acting on behalf of the Bank of Spain (Banco de España). The Claims Company advised the Member they had a big settlement waiting to be paid out to them. All they needed to do was pay just over £1,000 in taxes to release these undeclared funds.
CLC have informed the relevant authorities of this latest scam but it would seem that there is no end to what these companies will say in order to gain your confidence.
So, please be extra vigilant for it appears that the Claims Companies are becoming ever more desperate in terms of what they are prepared to say or do.
Simple untruths to be aware of:
This will not be the case. Never. Ever. If anyone says this to you then beware
There is no such register in existence. If anyone says this to you then beware
This is untrue – speak to CLC World Member Services for a reality check
Needless to say, CLC World Member Services will support all enquiries fairly and correctly. Claims Companies will seek to isolate you; the better to extract money from you
Under a recently launched initiative, the RDO, KwikChex and EUROC are urging timeshare owners to file reports on every single cold-caller and other unsolicited contacts such as by email and text at the link below in order to assist in closing these firms down for good:
All reports will be investigated, and evidence of data protection breaches and other unlawful behaviour will be collated and presented to the relevant authorities throughout Europe.
Please remember you can contact CLC World Member Services at [email protected] for further advice and assistance; they will provide full and correct information to all Members