Why is it so important to choose a regulated solicitor?
The timeshare industry has more and more become a hub for scandal and fraudulent activity. Unfortunately, the fact that there are thousands of timeshare owners who are desperate to escape their contracts (and the mounting yearly fees) means that some people and companies see this as an opportunity to target timeshare owners to take more money from them.
The International Timeshare Refund Action (ITRA) is one of these such non-regulated companies. The ITRA claimed to be able to help people stuck in their contracts and for an upfront fee promised to work on their behalf to free them from their unwanted timeshare. Seemingly offering a real escape route, they would persuade timeshare owners to either buy into different schemes that offered more flexibility or to pay large upfront sums to ‘legally’ exit their contracts.
Andrew Penman, writing for the mirror in 2018, reported several cases of people who had been scammed in this way by the ITRA. One example was the case of Julia and Michael King who were scammed out of a large sum of money on false promises. In 2018 they said: “We paid ITRA over £5,000, this was over two years ago […] We have contacted ITRA to cancel as we were no nearer getting a result than when we signed up with them.” This couple was trying to get out of their timeshare in Club La Costa timeshare in Tenerife, but by being manipulated into working with a non-regulated solicitor that seemed trustworthy, they ended up spending yet more money and being no nearer towards getting rid of their timeshare. Unfortunately, this is far from being an isolated case and complaints of this type have been mounting against the ITRA and other such companies.
In February 2019, Penman reported that the ITRA have now been shut down. One unhappy couple, who paid them over £6000 for absolutely nothing, took them to the high court after being palmed off when trying to reclaim their fee. The high court judged that the couple were entitled to compensation and the ITRA were exposed as a company who have been making empty promises and false claims. Although it is excellent news that they will be shut down and therefore won’t be able to target more people, for the hundreds of people who have already handed over thousands, they may well never see that money returned. The sad truth is that these types of companies are not going anywhere soon and when one closes it is not long until another fraudulent company, making false claims, takes its place.
How can I avoid being tricked into handing over money with my timeshare?
The only way to be sure that you will avoid paying money for nothing is to ensure that you are working with SRA regulated, UK solicitors. The SRA means the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This means that any solicitor working under their regulations must uphold their very high standards. Here on their website, you can check a solicitor’s record and make informed decisions about which solicitor you will use.
When you see ‘SRA regulated’ displayed on a firms’ website, you know that the firm is regulated by the SRA, which means they meet the high standards. (If you are in doubt about a website or have concerns this wording might not be true, make sure to check the solicitor on the SRA official website before handing over any money).
By working with a UK, SRA regulated solicitor, you can relax in the knowledge that you are protected should things go wrong. The correct insurance will be in place and you will have the right to escalate matters to both the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman.
What are my next steps?
Get in touch with Athena Law today. We are SRA regulated, UK solicitors. For professional, friendly advice that you can trust, speak with our team of dedicated, expert timeshare solicitors.
We will work closely with you to carefully consider your case and advise you on your legal rights. We have years of experience in this industry and many success stories for clients who have been in your position, and we may be able to help you too. We promise to beat any quote you are given and if we feel there are strong grounds for your case we may be willing to represent you on a no win no fee basis.
We want to know what is making you feel so unhappy about your agreement. Were you manipulated, coerced into the purchase or lied to by your timeshare salesperson? Was the pitch you were given deceptive or untrue? This information could be relevant in helping us to get you out of your timeshare.
Call 0161 839 8847 today
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We look forward to hearing from you soon.