Blog post -
European Consumer Claims (ECC). Heroes or villains?
The Timeshare Consumer Association receives hundreds of communications a day asking for advice on all aspects of the timeshare industry. Right now the hot topic is timeshare relinquishments and claims.
Owners fall out of love with their memberships. The maintenance fee becomes more ´burden´ than ´bargain'. Many people would love to give up their membership and revert to normal holidays. Especially when they were promised an exclusive resort, which now appears on Booking.com for less than they pay in maintenance fees.
Getting people out of their timeshare membership is big business, attracting both legitimate law firms and outright fraudsters. Legal firms claim they can get you out of your timeshare contract, also that they can obtain compensation on your behalf if the timeshare company broke any laws when signing you up (hint - most timeshare contracts signed from 1999 onwards are illegal.)
As the leading consumer watchdog of the timeshare industry, members base their decisions on information they get from the Timeshare Consumer Association. We advise based on our 24 years of experience, as well as feedback we get from timeshare owners and contacts we have in the industry. There are many criminal organisations and few genuine firms.
One timeshare claims firm comes up more than any other, and in response to the high volume of TCA consumer enquiries about timeshare reclaims and relinquishment, we decided to investigate deeper with a visit to their offices on the Costa Del Sol.
Here is our report:
So who are European Consumer Claims Limited?
European Consumer Claims (ECC) are a timeshare claims management company with offices in Southern Spain and the UK. ECC assist timeshare owners with financial compensation claims in Spain, UK and Malta. They also offer timeshare relinquishments (freeing people from unwanted timeshare contracts.)
European Consumer Claims Limited (formerly trading as European Claims Centre Limited) have been processing court claims against timeshare resorts since 2014.
1. Timeshare relinquishments
European Consumer Claims boast to have helped thousands of timeshare owners cancel their contracts. The Timeshare Consumer Association have been given access to ECC´s internal audited reports and can confirm this to be correct. Numerically, this makes ECC the leading timeshare contract specialists in Europe, with the majority of their client’s relinquishments being actioned and finalised in a matter of weeks
2. Timeshare compensation claims
With over 300 successful judgements and several million pounds in compensation claims to date, as well as more than a thousand cases currently in court process, ECC also lead the pack when it comes to timeshare compensation claims. These achievements have been verified by TCA. Consumers wishing to check for themselves can do so directly with M1 Legal, the lawyers who represent ECC´s claimants in Spain and Malta. The UK claims are handled by London law firm Pinder Reaux Associates Ltd.
The downside is that the claim process is far from quick. Anyone hoping for a speedy pay-out will be disappointed as the timescale is between 1 and 3 years. For those with the patience to see the process through, the average pay-out is between £20,000 and £25,000.
ECC performance and reviews
ECC publish their performance on their website homepage www.ecc-eu.com. ECC also inform us that for every victory published, the representing law firm, M1 Legal, post the result on the company website here: https://ecc-eu.com/latest-victories/
The court numbers
ECC timeshare claims expert Steven Warner broke down the numbers to us and they are impressive. "Spanish court claims are mounting," explains Steven. "The idea of timeshare being a cheaper or better quality way to holiday no longer holds water and people want to be free of the commitment. The fact that many owners were given illegal membership contracts means that not only can they discharge the membership, but some people can claim compensation too.
"Right now ECC and M1 Legal have over twenty eight million pounds in claims going through the courts from over 1300 timeshare owners. To date nearly six million pounds in awards have been paid out."
European Consumer Claims customer feedback
Steven Warner was able to demonstrate sound customer feedback. This page can be found below.
The general flavour of these testimonials is represented by the following entry, taken from their site:
“We thank you for your explanatory letter regarding your current position in a world where so many timeshare companies are trying to ruin the reputation of your company. On behalf of my wife and myself, we just wanted you to know that we have always remained loyal and have received nothing but outstanding service from yourselves. We totally trust and have faith in your staff and continue to sing your praises. We believe that you will eventually get the best possible settlement for us against Silverpoint.
We thank you for your continued efforts on our behalf and want you to know that we will always support you against those who cast doubt on your ability. Yours, Mr & Mrs Cope”
Our TCA investigation team were interested to find out why Mr & Mrs Cope had researched ECC and found negative press, so we asked Steven, “can ECC explain the adverse reporting?”
European Consumer claims negative publicity:
"As with any organisation, even giants like BMW and Rolex, we get our share of bad publicity," Steven explained. "Ours can be boiled down to two areas. The first one is the amount of time it takes to get a positive outcome. Timeshare claims have to go through the courts which are often backed up with other cases, both civil and criminal. Add to that the fact that timeshare resorts fight back with appeals against the claims, and you are looking at a timescale of well over a year
“The main thing we at European Consumer Claims have learned since our inception in 2016 is that transparency regarding timescales is vital to a positive client experience. Realistically a client should expect the process to take around 18 months, sometimes even up to 3 years, especially if the developers appeal the decision.
"Every client now is made completely aware of the likely wait for the compensation, and you know what? People don´t mind provided they are treated with honesty and respect. Negative client feedback dried up once we took this on board at an organisational level.
The other bad publicity, Steven claims, is industry generated.
"We do get other bad press, which unfortunately is disingenuously created by the timeshare industry. The RDO (Resort Developers Association) is an association of the most powerful timeshare resorts in Europe. It exists to further the interests and image of the timeshare business. By definition, any company or individual that goes against the interests of the timeshare business is going to be subject to their attacks."
The Timeshare Consumer Association have published plenty of articles about the RDO´s connections to "compromised" consumer watchdog websites . Here is one of our reports on the subject:
"A company like ours represents a serious threat to the timeshare industry, and the financial viability of individual resorts," says Steven. "They are fighting back however they can, and in today´s world that includes assaults on our online reputation. The RDO has created several websites which claim to offer impartial consumer assistance, but unfortunately this is not what they do. What they actually are, are vehicles for misinformation which supports the cause of the timeshare industry. The main three culprits are, KwikChex.com, Timesharetaskforce.org, and timesharebusinesscheck.org".
The Timeshare Consumer Association has independently verified that the timeshare industry fund these sites and that they are used to further the interests of the timeshare industry. The below screenshot is taken from the RDO´s own website
"Luckily in this modern age of fake news, most clients are pretty switched on when it comes to checking the sources of information online. It hasn´t really affected us here, and business is going very well," asserts Steven.
Timeshare Consumer Association verdict
TCA is interested in the truth and pointing the people who contact us for advice in the right direction. When we discover rogue companies we point them out, impartially and without favour.
The other side of the coin is an obligation to highlight operators who act with integrity and professionalism.
ECC have a proven track record. They have an excellent reputation, a professional team and established business.
The calls we got from consumers were often negative a couple of years ago, and the subject was invariably lack of clarity about the time taken for claims to come to fruition.
We accept Steven´s explanation and honesty in admitting that in the past they were not sufficiently open or clear about the timescales involved, and our experience at the TCA of discussing customers´ experiences with them bears this out.
For the last three years or so we have only seen positive feedback about ECC, and have no hesitation recommending them for both timeshare relinquishments, and compensation claims.
If you would like to update us with your own experience of European Consumer Claims (ECC) or their associated law firm, M1 Legal, please get in touch with us at the TCA.
We are available on the below contact details for free, impartial advice on any aspect of the timeshare industry.
Timeshare Consumer Association. Contact us on: T: +44 2036704588 or +44 2035193808 (ask for Daniel), E: email@example.com (Address to Daniel).
WhatsApp (message only) +447586871055
TCA provides a central resource of consumer information on timeshare matters for the media and other organisations – We work towards encouraging responsible, honest, timeshare operators. We also publicly expose negative consumer practices and organisations which operate in a manner detrimental to timeshare buyers and owners.
An important part of our mission is to lobby UK and European Governments and regulatory bodies for improved consumer protection in the timeshare environment and collect information on frauds and mis-selling, for action by enforcement authorities.
We are staffed by former and current timeshare owners, as well as former timeshare industry staff. We know our way around the timeshare business
We are a a proud member of the UK Small Charities Coalition
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