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Consumer advice

How do I Find a Genuine Firm?

This is a question I am asked frequently, there is no simple answer. It is a matter of doing your homework, finding out where to look and how to look. The internet has made this easier, the only problem is which sites are genuine and which are not.

 

Firstly, let´s take a look at small claims companies, these are the ones you may be familiar with doing PPI claims. There are many such entities around, they tend to be using the Credit Consumer Act 1974 Section 75 as a way of reclaiming your money. There have been many pop up around the timeshare industry over the years. Many originated around the time that DWVC was in the spotlight and being closed.

 

A general rule is that section 75 can be done by yourself, Google it and the first two items will be Which and Money Saving Expert. The latter is run by Martin Lewis. Another source of help is Citizens Advice, or even your own bank.

claimmoney

Both these sites explain what the act is and how to go about claiming. Both have an extensive archive of template letters, they are easy to use, replace the markers with your information and the reason for your claim. Generally this will be not receiving the goods or services paid for or promised. Another general claim is the company has disappeared. This particular claim is one I have been involved with in the past, usually from bogus resale companies.

 

If you get a company to do it for you, many will work on a no win no fee basis. But remember when you do have a successful payout it may cost upwards of 40% of your claim.

 

Most legitimate companies will be registered with the Financial Service Authority, some may even be registered with the Ministry of Justice (Claims). These registrations depend on the type of work they do, but obviously they are the ones to investigate further.

fsa logo

Law firms, this should be the easiest, but how many people have been taken in by slick operations and websites?

 

Genuine Law Firms will be registered with the relevant authorities, in the UK it will be the SRA, these can be checked using Bar Registration Numbers. In Spain I use a website reddeabogados, they have made it a little more difficult to use than I remember. Again use the Bar Association Registration Numbers. All practising lawyers must be registered with their bar association. Using Spain as an example, a lawyer working in Malaga will be registered there, a lawyer in Barcelona will be registered in that city.

sralogo

If you are looking to find a lawyer to represent you in another country, a good first stop is the British Consulate for the area the lawyer is in. You can also go to the Embassy or Consulate of the specific country to check. In the world of timeshare doing this just diligence is the most important step you can make. It is the difference between losing thousands or getting the result you wanted.

One reader has sent in a comment which will be of use. There are some European Lawyers that are registered with the UK SRA as “Registered European Lawyers”. You can ask to see their certificate of registration, if they are registered then you can be sure the SRA has checked their qualifications. (See comments for the full version 04/05/16).

 

Inside Timeshare can help begin the process of research, if you have been contacted or are looking to contact any company and wish to know how to check them, we will help. Inside Timeshare can also put you in touch with various companies depending on your problem. We will also offer any advice if you wish to make a section 75 claim, showing where to get any supporting evidence.

 

Remember, do your homework and stay safe from the sharks!

Bogus Calls and Money Awarded.

We have mentioned this item before, albeit briefly. It concerns calls from so called law firms and claims companies, the pitch is usually that a court case has been heard and assets have been seized, usually from companies that have taken money from you in the past.

 

These will range from resale scams, bogus Section 75 claims companies to fake law firms. These new companies are probably the same ones that took the money from you in the first place. Hence they know all the details.

 

If you have ever paid a company and they have disappeared, or even been closed down by the authorities, you would probably have been informed at the time. Especially if you reported it to the authorities yourself. The courts do not contract out to others to trace you. That is the job of the Courts and Police.

police

The way the scam works is very simple, you are informed by telephone or email that the court has awarded you ex amount. Usually more than you actually paid, this is the enticer. Quite often a second call from an official sounding body confirms this. You may be given a number to verify the information given, when you do call, it will be confirmed that this is the case and you have indeed been awarded the money.

(see link below)

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/fraud-warning/

 

Then comes the crunch.

 

In order for you to receive the amount stated, taxes will have to be paid, in advance, you may even receive via email an official looking form from the tax office. (Easily downloaded from the internet see pdf below). Now in order to get the tax you will also need a Spanish NIE number. This is called Numero de Identificación de Extranjero, or Foreigner’s Identification Number. It is a Spanish tax identification number issued to all foreigners. Now this is a stroke of luck, the company calling can also arrange this for you, obviously for a fee.

Spanish Tax Form

Now, you do not need this number unless you come under the following:

 

  • Open a bank account
  • Buying, selling or insuring a property
  • Arranging a mortgage or credit
  • Pay taxes
  • Being employed
  • Registering with employment agencies
  • Registering to study
  • Applying to start a business
  • Registering with social services, receiving social security benefits
  • Applying for a driving licence
  • Inheriting assets

 

You would not need it to receive any money due in compensation paid by a court plus there would not be any tax to pay.

 

For more information on NIE Numbers check the link below:

 

https://www.angloinfo.com/spain/how-to/page/spain-moving-residency-nie-number

 

These types of fraud are becoming ever more sophisticated, we have seen a great rise in recent times of this pitch. This is mainly due to the publicity of genuine court cases being won in Spain, the people use the fact that these cases are being shown in the news, which then convinces you they are indeed genuine.

 

Remember, the courts do not operate in this way, there are procedures they follow. If you are not aware that you are part of a case, then you probably are not. If you have never reported any loss of money to any type of scam, then you probably are not part of any case. There is only one way to claim any compensation and that is by going through the courts yourself with a genuine law firm.
If you receive any calls like this contact Inside Timeshare and we will check it out for you. This is what we do, research and research, giving you the tools to find out the truth. We are here to help you save your hard earned money.

CLA Making the News Again.

It looks like the lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance are becoming quite the celebrities around Europe. Over the past month their legal battles with the timeshare industry have been attracting a lot of media attention.

 

The renowned Norwegian Business Magazine, Kapital, ran a lengthy article on the law firm, highlighting the Grimsbo v Anfi case. This has resulted in CLA gaining a much higher profile among Norwegian timeshare owners.

 

The following link will take you to the articles in Norwegian and an English translation.

CLA IN NORWAYS LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

 

Recently El Diario, a Spanish national newspaper also ran an article on the Anfi cases and the Supreme Court judgements. These rulings appear to have caused quite a stir in Spain, probably because it has made legal history, as well as putting Spain at the forefront of protecting customers from the timeshare industry.

The following link shows the El Diario article.

eldiario

 

http://www.eldiario.es/canariasahora/economia/Anfi-timesharing-reclamaciones-clientes-anticipos-ventas-turismo_0_504650586.html

 

Another newspaper MaspalomasAhora (Maspalomas Today) also ran an article explaining the Supreme Court rulings. They also highlighted the number of cases that are ongoing and those in the process of being submitted. The amounts of money involved so far are quite staggering, with this being set to increase substantially.

 

Follow this link to view the article.masahora

 

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/maspalomas-ahora-highlights-cla-cases-anfi-group/

rdo-logotatoc logoholiday clubanfi logo

So it would look like all the information the RDO, TATOC, Holiday Club and ANFI have been putting out is false. These and other timeshare companies have been denying anything is wrong, that there are no court cases against them. The press around Europe seems to disagree with them. They have highlighted over the past year, many of the cases that this particular law firm has won, including all the Supreme Court Rulings. The industry is certainly feeling the pinch, but they only have themselves to blame, their past and ongoing greed is catching up with them.

 

Inside Timeshare will bring you the latest information as it is received. If you have any question regarding anything to do with timeshare, holiday clubs, resale, relinquishment or how to claim Inside Timeshare will give you the best advice possible. If we don´t know the answer we will find out.