Timeshare Owners Trapped in Unwanted Weeks
When you picture a timeshare, you probably think of a fantastic resort, sandy beaches and never-ending sun. But to others, it’s a living hell which they can’t get rid of, costing them thousands of pounds a year. They are trapped in unwanted weeks that make holidaying impossible or find themselves unable to keep up with the forever-growing payments decades after they initially signed on.
Frustrated with their predicament, many people turn to companies to try and sell their timeshares or find some other way to rid themselves of this burden. But this doesn’t always turn out for the best. Many people send money to companies promising to help them, who then ignore their emails and calls and completely disappear, leaving them thousands of pounds down and still stuck with a timeshare.
International Timeshare Refund Action Limited
One company that people turn to is International Timeshare Refund Action Limited (ITRA). While they may seem like a genuine and credible company, there have been many instances where they have taken money from willing customers to help sell their timeshares, before abandoning all contact and leaving people still facing their annual fees.
Claims Against ITRA’s Credibility
For Christine Carmichael, this was an unfortunate reality which left her £4,580 out of pocket. She decided she wanted to be rid of her timeshare in Portugal, initially bought in 1999, which annually now cost her around £930. When her husband died in 2014, she decided it was time to sell. Paying ITRA their fee of £4,580, Christine and her daughter Laura expected them to do all the work. Instead, Laura was left chasing ITRA after over a year of little to no contact. In that space of time, Christine has been sent demand letters for the payment of her annual fees, which she cannot afford to pay.
Colin and Gail MacKay are in a similar position after contacting ITRA to get help selling their timeshare in Lanzarote. When their management fee reached £1,500, they knew it was time to let go of the property and find some help. ITRA advised them that they would not get out of the agreement by themselves, and so, the couple paid the ITRA £4,180 to enlist their professional help to avoid leaving their timeshare costs to their children after they died. However, after they paid them, ITRA had no further contact with the couple.
ITRA’s Response to These Claims
Although ITRA claims to have helped thousands of timeshare owners, there are many more stories like the ones above that reiterate the lack of communication from the company. With people receiving demands for timeshare fees and maintenance costs, it calls into question whether or not this company is doing any work towards helping these people.
When the Mirror contacted ITRA about these claims, they said that the Christine Carmichael case was ‘handed over to our collaborating UK Law firm Messrs Pinder Reaux.’ However, as the lawyer looking into this case had been ‘travelling’ they had not been informed about the current status of the case. Regarding Colin and Gail MacKay’s claims, they responded the same.
In their statement, ITRA also explained that they are decreasing their business due to the ‘principal Mr Peter Utal [falling] very ill two and a half years ago’. In the past, Petal Utal’s colleague Andrew Cooper blamed the timeshare operators for delays in terminating contracts stating: ‘it is the very people who sold the timeshare in the first place that put in these hurdles for their members to get out of their ownership’. While this may be true in some cases, the lack of communication and slow work from ITRA doesn’t help the hundreds or thousands of people who are struggling to pay annual management fees. And, when the ITRA comes asking them for more money with false promises of exiting their timeshare contracts, the costs start to mount considerably, and with it more stress.
Club Class Concierge
Utal and Copper where also the couple behind another company, Club Class Concierge, that was put into compulsory liquidation in the public interest in 2012. Their company lured people in who were hoping to off-load their timeshares before having sales rep flog travel club memberships for £7,000 to £15,000. The Insolvency Service stated that this company, and the others liquidised along with it, ‘were set up with the aim of duping consumers’.
Based on this, we can’t trust the ITRA’s promises to help their clients be free of timeshare. Stories like these highlight how careful we have to be when looking for ways to exit our timeshares. Just because you are desperate and can’t afford your fees doesn’t mean you should rush into signing any agreements or sending thousands of pounds in upfront fees.
Don’t let timeshare contracts leave you paying thousands of pounds for unwanted resorts or weeks. Desperate, people often turn to the first company which seems credible, losing thousands of pounds in upfront fees. Here at Timeshare Advice Bureau, we have a team of dedicated and experienced advisers who are on hand to give you free, professional advice concerning your timeshare ownership. We can advise you on how to exit your timeshare agreement, how to best make use of the timeshare you own and answer any other general questions you have in regards to your contract.