After being cold called from so many different firms over the years.. countless times trying to sucker me in for numerous different reasons, I have decided to do the public a service and make my own blog. I will dissect all these companies 1 by 1 in the event to eventually let the world know who are scammers and who are legitimate companies actually here to help us…

Posts tagged ‘Lawyers’

ABC Mediation, or Anthony Bains Cohen?

A new mediation company has been brought to our attention over the past few days called ABC Mediation.

ABC Mediation is cold calling, and it seems (for the moment) that they are targeting DWVC members especially. The story they tell is that the directors of DWVC are to appear in the Mercantile Court of Malaga on the 23rd of May and the victims of this company can place a claim.

ABC Mediation is based in London. Their address Suite 1097, Kemp House, 152 – 160 City Road, London, ECIV 2NX, and contact details are Telephone: 0203 627 4664, Fax: 0203 627 4767 and Email: info@a-b-c-mediation.com

That is exactly the same address and phone numbers as the one for Bains Cohen, a dubious lawyers office who also started cold calling recently with the same story.

The website for ABC Mediation http://www.a-b-c-mediation.com was registered on the 3rd of May 2012.

ABC Mediation charges £378 upfront to cover all costs, on the understanding that the full amount will be recovered from the defendants. Since when does a lawyer guarantee he will win the case?

Apart from the £378 ABC Mediation also invoices a 15% of the agreed settlement if the claim is successful.

All this is explained in the documents they send to the consumer after the initial cold call, including the bank details of Anthony Bains Cohen for the transfer of the fee!

Do we need to say more? We have a dubious lawyers office / Mediation Service who changes name and websites in a timeframe of 1 month, cold calls timeshare consumers and talk about a court case nobody knows off, asks for an upfront fee to be paid by bank transfer and ..it just doesn’t sound right!

Have you been called by Bains Cohen or ABC Mediation from London?

Please let us know: yourtimeshare@hush.com

Asociados de Hacienda, Málaga

We don’t use a lot the word fraudulent but in this case we have no problem to put it as clear as it is, Asociados de Hacienda is a fraudulent cold caller!

This company which supposedly is based in Calle Puerto 9 – 12, 29601 Malaga, Spain, cold calls timeshare consumers to notify them of the sale of their timeshare and the fact they need to pay an 8% tax over the sales price.

Explanation is once again the “famous” NIE number, the Tax Registration number which they claim is necessary for this transaction.

Asociados de Hacienda even spent time on elaborating a website where they display logos of the Spanish Tax Office and pretend to be genuine lawyers dealing with real estate sales and tax declarations.

The website http://www.asociadosdehacienda.com was registered on the 29th of March 2012 and lacks all information required for a website.

As contact number they have a Spanish mobile +34 602 155 609

The timeshare owners, who informed us about this scam, did luckily their research and realized that the supposed Tax payment form 214 that was sent to them has not been in use for over 3 years now. Neither did they find it logical that the tax payment was to be done to an individual with a British name; Paul Robert Strickland on a different address; Senorio De Aloha, Avda Manolete, 29660 Nueva, Andalucia, Malaga

Please be extremely cautious when companies like Asociados de Hacienda or any other claiming to be working on behalf of the Spanish Government or Tax Offices, as these companies are not for real!

DO NOT pay ever money by bank transfer, Western Union or Money Gram in names of individuals that supposedly work for Lawyers offices, notaries or other official institutions in Spain.

Have you been called by Asociados de Hacienda from 0034602155609 ? Please let us know!

You can place a comment or write to us at:

yourtimeshare@hush.com

Bains Cohen from London?

This alert is a tricky one, as we have a company cold calling timeshare consumers under the name Bains Cohen, but there is also a genuine company with this name that has nothing to do with this!

Our cold caller Bains Cohen claims to be based in London and say they are going to take DWVC to court in Spain and ask the timeshare consumer to join this court case.

The timeshare consumer has to send all relevant paperwork and an upfront fee of £378

They also mention a firm in Spain on the Costa del Sol under the name of South Coast Management who eventually will be dealing with this case. But the fee requested is also to cover the costs of sending a representative over from Bains Cohen to the Mercantile Court in Spain to fight the case. If the case is won, Bains Cohen will keep a 10% of the money. (On the website it actually mentions 15%)

Bains-Cohen has their own website http://www.bains-cohen.com/ which is all focused on the fact they are a law firm specialist in Holiday Ownerships. This website was registered on the 3rd of April 2012

There is no UK Companies House registration number on the web, neither any other details which as stipulated by law for a website.

Their office address is Suite 1097, Kemp House, 152 – 160 City Road, London, ECIV 2NX and contact details: info@bains-cohen.com, Telephone 0203 627 4664, Fax 0203 627 4767 and a telephone number that actually appears on the screen when they call 01409 174 919

Please note that the real law firm Bains Cohen has a website http://www.bainscohen.com and is also based in London. So obviously the “fake” ones are trying to confuse the consumer and make them believe they are dealing with a genuine law firm.

Please do NOT let them fool you!

We have been informed that the real Bains Cohen are made aware by worried consumers that someone is using them as a front for their activities and will be working to defend themselves and catch the others.

Have you been called by Bains-Cohen for a court case against DWVC in Spain? Please let us know!

You can place a comment on the blog or send us a direct email to:
yourtimeshare@hush.com

Timeshare Pitfalls Continue to Trap Consumers

Reports that new tactics are catching new victims!

AUSTIN, Texas – Mar. 7, 2012 – It is a common scenario. Someone receives a mailer or email offering a free trip or other fantastic prize and all he or she has to do is sit through a half-day seminar. Once the victim is there, the company turns on the high-pressure tactics in an attempt to sell a timeshare.

Often, the offer is legitimate, if unwanted. Other times, the offer is a scam meant to bilk honest people of thousands of dollars. Such scams have prevailed for decades, and most savvy consumers are wise to them.

So, the con artists have changed their game, prompting new warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and enforcement efforts from the Federal Trade Commission.

Better Business Bureau received more than 2,600 complaints nationally about timeshare resell companies last year, and almost 200 more in January 2012. Some complain about available dates or other management issues, but many allege that companies collected money for fees or other charges and then disappeared.

Corpus Christi resident Thurman Huddleston complained to BBB after wiring more than $10,000 to a Dallas company promising to sell him a timeshare in Mexico.

“The people were good,” he said. “I really beat myself up, because I should have known better. It just sounded like a viable thing.”

Huddleston said when he first got the call, he researched the company online and did not find any red flags. When the company asked him for a payment to cover the closing costs, he did not hesitate. He wired the money, leaving no trace for law enforcement to follow later.

Then they came back and asked for more money to cover the annual property taxes.

“So that sounded a little fishy, but I figured they probably won’t (let me buy a unit without paying taxes),” he said. “That should have been the last red flag, but once you’ve got that much money in it, it’s hard to walk away.”

Soon after, the company he was dealing with became impossible to contact. Huddleston suspects the timeshare never existed to begin with.

Now that people are more aware of scams like the one Huddleston fell for, scammers have started targeting victims that might not be as diligent: current timeshare owners.

The FTC cracked down on telemarketers claiming to have buyers lined up, then disappearing with the thousands of dollars owners paid to cover fake closing costs or as a deposit that would be later refunded.

The FBI reported a similar scam, with a con artist contacting the victim by phone or email and promising to sell the victim’s timeshare in a short time, often between 60 and 90 days. The scammers asked for hundreds to thousands of dollars to cover anything from closing costs to listing fees.

Sometimes, according to the FBI’s warning, the victims are then contacted a second time — this time by someone claiming to be from a recovery company. The scammer, who may be connected with the original resale company, tells the victim that he can recover the lost money for a fee.

Once again, the scammers disappear after the victim pays.

Huddleston said that though he lost thousands to the con artists who contacted him, and he feels like a dupe for falling for the scam, he is just happy to have learned his lesson.

“I didn’t get too angry over it. I hated to lose the money, but I learned a lot,” he said. “The next time somebody calls, I’ve graduated from that class.”

When buying or selling a timeshare, Yourtimeshare offers the following tips:

· Beware of upfront fees. Though there may be closing costs or other fees associated with purchasing a timeshare, be wary of any company that pressures you to pay any such fees upfront or before reviewing any contracts.

· Read the fine print. Especially when selling a timeshare, make sure to read the contract carefully. Find out if the company is actually selling your timeshare or simply charging you to advertise the listing.

· Start with trust. Visit http://www.yourtimeshare.net to check out the Business Review for a company before paying any money.

· Never wire cash. Credit cards offer a certain amount of fraud protection that you cannot get if you use a wire service. Walk away from any deal that requires you to pay cash or wire money, especially to locations in other countries.

· Get it in writing. Ask the salesman for all information in writing, including all fees, timing and ways the seller plans to advertise the unit.

· Check the license. Ask for licensing information for the seller’s agents, and check that information with the Real Estate Commission. Only deal with licensed brokers and ask for references.

· If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Be wary of any seller who promises a big selling price or quick turnaround. High-pressure tactics are always a red flag.

· Know where to turn. Before selling your timeshare, read the FTC’s advice on selling a timeshare and report any scams to yourtimeshare@hush.com

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit yourtimeshare.net

About Yourtimeshare:

Yourtimeshare’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. Yourtimeshare accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

Businesses that earn Yourtimeshare Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Yourtimeshare is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.

For more info please don´t hesitate to contact us: yourtimeshare@hush.com

Keystone Solicitors in Coventry

An alert goes out for a company that calls themselves Keystone Solicitors and claims to be based in Coventry.

A Mr. Michael Phillips of Keystone Solicitors cold calls timeshare consumers with the news that they are going to refund the money paid by the timeshare consumer to a dubious resale company previously.

Keystone Solicitors gives as address; Queen Street, Coventry CV19 4PR and for contact the telephone number is 0247 632 0530

The story is that the solicitors are handling the case against the “dubious” resale company and the judge has ordered that the victims are to be paid back.

In order to get this money back the timeshare owner needs to pay a fee and this can be done at the local post office through Money Gram. The fee is £290. Once the consumer pays the fee, Michael Phillips will ring back to get the post office reference number and then he will arrange for a cheque to be delivered to the consumer’s house the next morning at 10 AM

Ringing the number 02476320530 you actually get a fax machine and calling the directory inquiries you will find out there is no such solicitor’s office at the mentioned address.

Is this a scam? You tell me!

Cold caller, knowledge of personal data and also information on previous dealings with other dubious companies, a payment by Money gram, a phone number that doesn’t work and an office that doesn’t exist!

Have you been called already by Michael Phillips or anybody working for Keystone Solicitors?

Please do let us know!

Fincas S Pedro y S Pablo in Tarragona

An alert goes out for a supposed Real Estate office in Tarragona, Spain under the name Fincas S Pedro y S Pablo.

A cold caller from Spain, with great news as always when they tell the timeshare consumer they have a buyer lined up for their timeshare.

This company with a Spanish name, pretends to be in Tarragona on the address: PlaÇa Catalunya 4, 43007, Tarragona, Spain

No website, unfortunately but they do have an email address ventas@realtyagent.com You can also call them on a Spanish mobile +34 698 734 722 or fax them on 0701 0021 727

This company is one of those who have elaborated the pitch thoroughly and after the initial call they send off the paperwork by email. Paperwork that looks very professional and official as it is even written on Government paper with stamps all over.

The person calling was Lee Warning, but his secretary Kirsten de Vries kindly sends the paperwork signed on his behalf.

A bit cheeky though that they pretend to work by the European Directive which stipulates money should be held in an escrow account. Does it?

They also add a stamped form which confirms the buyer has already deposited the money for the purchase. All the details of the buyer are on the form, shame these buyers always live in a different country where they speak a different language!

The Escrow account is not only for the money of the sale, they also request a 9% of the sales price to be paid by the seller into this account (!!) prior to the sale..

Hold on, that’s an upfront fee!

Even more surprising is the fact that this “Escrow” account seems to be in a bank branch situated in Malaga on the Costa del Sol. Wow, that’s a long way from Tarragona!

Research has shown that there is no such real estate as Fincas S Pedro y S Pablo in Tarragona handling timeshare sales. Add this up to a cold call, guaranteed sale, upfront fees and a bank transfer to an individual in a faraway place….let just say we don’t recommend dealing with this company!

Have you been called by Fincas S Pedro y S Pablo from 0034 698734722 ?

Do let us know!

ETOAC Ltd, a Legal Service?

ETOAC Ltd has started to mail out letters to timeshare owners in which they present themselves as supposed Legal Advisors.

They try to make the consumer believe that with a “recent” law in Spain brings legal right for timeshare owners to have their contract declared null and void and these owners will be able to recover their money.

It is not the first time doubtful legal advisors try using this for their pitch.

They refer to a law from 1999 where it was stipulated that a cooling off period of 14 days should be honored for all timeshare purchases. These laws exist but what isn’t true is that people who purchased before this date can claim their money back based on this law!

ETOAC Ltd offers to pursue the procedure through on a no-win-no-fee basis with no up-front fees or Court costs payable by the consumer. The letter states also that administration fees are fully refundable if the timeshare owner has no claim but does not ask for anything more than the return of brief details of the timeshare week(s) concerned.

So no-win-no-fee but there is an administration fee? The actual form they ask the owner to fill in for that purpose does refer to a £295 admin fee so the inference is that the matter will not proceed without that payment!

There is no explanation in the letter about where they obtained the timeshare consumers’ details.

And who is ETOAC Ltd anyway?

On their letter headed paper they display an address in the UK which strangely enough seems to be a post box: PO Box 1221, Warrington, Cheshire, WA4 9PR

They are registered at the UK Companies House since March 2011 under the number 07549756 and with another Address in Warrington: ETOAC LIMITED, 3 Freckleton Close, Great Sankey, Warrington, Cheshire, WA5 2TH

Director and administrator of this company is Robert Woosey

So there is obviously not an office. No accounts have ever been filed and yet again for 2012 are overdue.

Their telephone number is 0845 307 6288

Our investigations reveal though that most probably they are based in Spain as we have clear indications that ETOAC is connected to other dubious Timeshare Resale companies based on the Costa del Sol in Spain under the name Avantgarde Management and AVG Holidays. Companies who were under police investigation in the past years.

Seen the above we certainly do not recommend to have any dealings with this company.

Have you received this same letter from ETOAC Ltd or maybe a call from 08453076288 ?

Please let us know!

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