Honest, intelligent news
It has a global reputation for dignity, careful writing and astute editing. For decades, reports by The Sunday Times correspondents have been syndicated to other major world newspapers.
European Consumer Claims article
In September 2023, following many weeks of painstaking investigation, detailed research and assiduous fact checking, The Sunday Times published a hard hitting, half page article covering the outrageous behaviour of the European timeshare industry over the last quarter of a century.
And the intrepid claims firm who is bringing them to justice.
The article is entitled The plight of the timeshare prisoners. Respected journalist Eugene Costello, had a personal experience with his own, septuagenarian parents being sold a 25 year timeshare in Portugal (meaning they were committed to paying for the membership until they were 95 years old) for a staggering £20,000.
Due to understandable illness and other age related factors, they were only able to visit their unit 3 times since they purchased in 2003. Eugene’s brother tried to extricate them from their expensive and burdensome contract but sadly passed away before he was able to make any progress. In April this year Eugene’s mother, Eileen also passed, prompting his father to enlist his (Eugene’s) help.
Eugene decided to document his journey negotiating the challenging process of helping his 90 year old father, Dennis to escape from his Portuguese timeshare nightmare.
What the Sunday Times report exposed
Eugene Costello, in the course of writing about his and his family’s experiences discovered that of the 500,000 to 600,000 British timeshare owners, almost half own in Spain. His expert research into the most trustworthy and capable timeshare claims firms led him to European Consumer Claims (ECC), an industry leading company with an highly successful 7 year history of both compensation claims and relinquishments, based in the UK, Spain and New York.
Another ECC expert, Steven John explained: “Europe’s timeshare firms have run roughshod over consumer rights for decades,” referring to most companies choosing to ignore a series of laws brought in since 1999 designed to protect consumers from high pressure sales.
Because of this disregard for the law, claims companies like ECC have been suing the relevant timeshare companies on behalf of victims. ECC’s success rate is an impressive 98.6% which demonstrates the weak legal position of timeshare operations in Europe.
ECC has successfully completed over 2800 relinquishments and has 364 positive judgments to date resulting in awards of over £25 million. They are currently handling a compensation claims portfolio of thousands of cases amounting to well over £100 million.
“The reality is that, especially in Spain, but also elsewhere, these rogue operators know that the game is up and it is only a matter of time before their businesses are out of action,” comments John.
Choose the right firm
“A journalist who writes for The Sunday Times is clearly highly skilled at research,” says Andrew Cooper, CEO of ECC and noted philanthropist. “Eugene Costello was not just researching for his article, he was personally invested because it was his own father he was trying to save.
“What Eugene quickly came to understand,” continues Cooper, “is that there are many firms out there offering relinquishment and claims services who are scam operators. There are various ways to tell honest from dishonest claims firms. The key is to make sure you don’t enrich a scammer.
“Eugene Costello’s research led him to us at ECC, and thankfully we were able to help him and his father, Dennis. Their contract has been nullified and Dennis is free from any further financial obligations to the timeshare resort.”
The Costellos were relinquished from the burden of ownership, but did not fit the criteria for claiming compensation. However Andrew Cooper is adamant that those people who do qualify have a moral obligation to claim what they are owed.
“Claiming your compensation is absolutely the right thing to do. Timeshare companies got rich by ignoring consumer laws and taking money from sometimes quite vulnerable customers.
“Making them pay that money back is the only way to make them accountable for the harm they have done.”