Category Archives: News

ASA Informally Resolve Complaint against Easy Consulting SL t/a Exclusive Weeks

ASA

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has informally resolved a complaint submitted by KwikChex regarding Exclusive Weeks http://exclusiveweeks.co.uk/.

The investigation by KwikChex was carried out as part of activities by the Timeshare Task Force http://www.timesharetaskforce.org/ which KwikChex manages.

The complaint challenged the display of a countdown clock promotion which renewed and did not expire on website www.exclusiveweeks.co.uk.

The countdown clock has since been removed.

The details of the ASA adjudication can be found on the ASA website – http://www.asa.org.uk

ASA Informally Resolve Complaint against Easy Consulting SL t/a Direct Resorts International

ASA

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has informally resolved a complaint submitted by KwikChex regarding Direct Resorts International http://directresortsinternational.co.uk/.

The investigation by KwikChex was carried out as part of activities by the Timeshare Task Force http://www.timesharetaskforce.org/ which KwikChex manages.

The complaint challenged whether testimonials on the www.directresortsinternational.co.uk website were genuine because the same testimonials were also displayed on another website www.exclusiveweeks.co.uk.

The testimonials have since been removed.

The details of the ASA adjudication can be found on the ASA website – http://www.asa.org.uk

KwikChex and BBC expose problems with Realistix Solutions product

bbc-radio-4-250x100

KwikChex has once again been working with the BBC to highlight dangers to consumers.

As part of the Timeshare Task Force initiative, KwikChex contacted the BBC 4 Radio You & Yours programme about a product known as Realistix Solutions.

This is a product which is the subject of many consumer complaints.

Consumers are approached with a scratch card promotion, then attend a meeting during which they are persuaded to buy this product, with promises of exceptionally discounted holidays in return for an upfront payment of several thousand pounds. The process involves persuading the consumer to open a software disk (supposedly in order to check it) and getting the consumer to sign that they accept many onerous conditions, including rights to refunds etc. When consumers subsequently complain, the businesses selling the product tell them that they opened the packaging / broke the seal and therefore have no refund rights – and that they signed several aspects waiving their rights.

We have already ensured full refunds for consumers who were persuaded to buy Realistix in Malta and are now working to do the same in Tenerife where at least two companies are selling it. Trading Standards Officers we have consulted with agree that there are a number of Consumer Protection Regulations being breached.

​The consumer featured is currently being assisted by KwikChex – and after BBC journalists contacted the companies that manufacture and sell Realistix Solutions software, he has been promised a full refund.

The programme can be listened to by clicking on this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b067w3pc

Letter from local MP regarding Graig Park/Dyserth Falls

KwikChex, as part of our work with the Timeshare Task Force has been assisting Dyserth Falls Owners. As always, any help that we can provide is free of charge. We have just been made aware of a response made by the local MP and feel this should be shared.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I understand you have been in contact with, or copied Dr James Davies MP, into communications regarding the company called Graig Park/Dyserth Falls Resort. In some cases the enquiries are from non-constituents but we have put together an update for all as below, in order to ensure there is some continuity and consistency of information.

The Local Authority have previously prosecuted a substantial fraud against owners of this site and a previous sales manager, but we understand they are not at this time investigating any matters with regards to the site in Dyserth, known as Graig Park, Dyserth Falls Resort. However we are told the Police are addressing the issue.

Dyserth Falls Resort/ WMB Sales, appear to have been selling a product called “fractional ownership” and taking part exchanges of old timeshares towards the total cost of the contract. The main issue appears to be that the business has not registered the “Fractional” ownership details on the land charges register, which means that the consumers have no “ownership right” to the site, the business also haven’t arranged the return of the part exchanged timeshare product either, so the consumer could still be responsible for their old timeshare fees.

I am aware that the activities of the resort and its previous/ current Directors are being looked at by North Wales Police – any consumer affected can contact Action Fraud and their details will be forwarded onto NW Police. The Police investigation can be contacted by emailing OperationNefarious@nthwales.pnn.police.uk. Their update is as follows although I understand the Companies Investigation Bureau are close to completing their report as regards the Serious Fraud Office and National Crime Agency taking over. We have written to the Police stressing the degree of concern around the matter.

“It would appear that the Dyserth Falls Resort (DFR) complaints that we are in possession of may be part of a much larger national picture. Naturally I am not at liberty into going into any more detail about this, for fear of jeopardising any ongoing investigations. To this effect, a referral is in the process of being prepared for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the National Crime Agency (NCA). I appreciate there may be frustration that the investigation is not progressing quickly enough, but this is a complex investigation, and I would like to assure you that we are doing all we can in conjunction with partner agencies to progress your complaints”.

We have also been told there is an action group set up aiming to work with NW Police – they can be contacted at malcolm@mymaillist.co.uk.

Finally in broader terms we are in contact with Trade Bodies to see what might be realistically done in future to improve legislation covering these activities.

On behalf of,
Dr James Davies MP

Yours sincerely,

Matt Wright
Research Manager
The Office of Dr James Davies MP – Vale of Clwyd Constituency
1 Hanover House, The Roe, St Asaph, Denbighshire, LL17 0LT
Tel: 01745 583270
Mobile: 07791 804599

‘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.

‘Sell your timeshare free’ website exposed over £3.5m refund claims

TheTelegraph

Selltimesharetoday.co.uk continues to flout advertising rules after an investigation found its claims to be misleading.

The original complaint brought forward by the Timeshare Task Force…Timeshare Task Force uses a reputation management firm known as “KwikChex” to challenge adverts for timeshare exit services that it thinks is misleading.

Above excerpts and read the full article on www.telegraph.co.uk

ASA report shows 35% increase in complaints about online ads

ASA

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) annual report for 2014 clearly demonstrated that there are very justifiable concerns regarding misleading content in online /digital advertising and promotion.

They reveal a 35% increase in complaints about online advertising. In 2014, the Internet overtook television for the first time as the most complained about medium, with 13,477 complaints received. From our own experience, this is very much the tip of the iceberg – and that may be because consumers are not yet fully aware that the ASA remit covers Internet based advertising.

The ASA can investigate all of the following:

    • Banner and display ads
    • Paid for (sponsored) search – including Google Ads
    • Marketing / statements on businesses’ own websites
    • Suspicious reviews

In addition, their remit extends to commercial emails and SMS text message ads.

Where it may be outside of their UK jurisdiction, they can often also refer it to the authority in another country. Information on cross border complaints can be found on this link – https://www.asa.org.uk/About-ASA/Working-with-others/Cross-border-complaints.aspx. And the full details of what the ASA covers can be found here – https://www.asa.org.uk/Consumers/What-we-cover.aspx.

KwikChex would like to express their gratitude to the ASA for their professionalism, fairness and diligence. We have submitted many complaints to them and have always found them to operate to the very highest standards. We will continue to work with them and wish them well with their continuing endeavours to protect consumers.

KwikChex becomes Corporate Affiliate Member of Chartered Trading Standards Institute

CTSI-Logo-Corp-Member

KwikChex has been successfully working for some time with Trading Standards Officers in support of identifying and taking action against rogue businesses. This is particularly true within the holiday sector and even more so in terms in terms of timeshare and related products, where we lead the Timeshare Task Force, which is helping protect and provide redress to consumers.

Following recent meetings and discussions with senior police officers and government / official bodies, more news will be released soon regarding active partnerships with enforcement authorities – all with the objective of protecting consumers and businesses.

In addition, KwikChex is now a Corporate Affiliate member of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). This separate element has been undertaken in line with the aims and values of the CTSI and is described as being for businesses who:

  • are concerned about customers
  • help consumers and staff with trading problems
  • promote good business practices

Our membership of the CTSI was granted after sponsorship from two Trading Standards Officers and an approval process conducted by the CTSI.

Post updated 21st August 2015

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/

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