Today we have a quick look at one scenario which has caught out many consumers, the “cold call” offering an “exit & claim”, all on a “no win no fee” basis. It is an “enticer” to get you interested and sign up for their “service”, where a lawyer will do everything. It is not until a couple of years later that everything becomes apparent.
After the call, you will have arranged a meeting either at home or via a “Zoom” type remote meeting, with one of the marketing company’s “consultants”. It is explained that RIP Marketing will handle your “exit & claim” and their “lawyers” will do the work, all on a “no win no fee” basis. However, there is the initial charge by the “marketing company” to start the work.
It also turns out their “consultant” is the very same person that sold the timeshare to you, he also has a very convincing story about what he knows and is using it to help those “defrauded” by the timeshare company. Convinced you sign and so it begins.
All correspondence should be through them and not with the lawyers, later the lawyer confirms that they are dealing with your case and you should keep in contact with RIP Marketing for updates. The law firm/lawyer is contracted to the marketing company not by you the client and everything goes through the company.
At first, you receive updates on how everything is progressing, eventually receiving a confirmation that you are out of your timeshare. A claim for “compensation” has now begun.
Suddenly out of the blue you receive final demands for several years of unpaid maintenance fees, you try to contact the “company” but to no avail, so contact the lawyer. He refers you to his letter stating that in their “opinion” your contract is terminated, and to ignore any demands.
It turns out the timeshare resort has never had any dealings regarding your exiting, in fact, they also inform you that they may have let you out for free (depending on circumstances) if you had contacted them. But now you are stuck with several years of arrears and a final demand where the “debt” may end up in a County Court.
To cap it all RIP Marketing has gone, it no longer exists, forced to close by compulsory order, it also turns out that in the first year of its short life it was registered as dormant, the next entries are for it to be “struck off” the company register. All the classic signs of a company set up purely for a scam.
So what of the law firm? Well, you, our unfortunate consumer, are now receiving bills from the “law firm” for all the “work” they have carried out, including the “claim”. After all, who is going to pay their bill now that the company contracting them has gone?
You got it, you are.
This shortened scenario is based on a true story which has come to light five years down the line, what seemed like a good move at the time has now turned into a nightmare. Remember the decision you make today on the back of a sales call, might just have consequences in the future.
We also have to question the law firm or lawyer in all this, how did they end up working with and receiving clients from what was from the start looking like a scam company, did they do their “due diligence”?
A question that has yet to be answered.
This story has been abridged and with all references to the identities of the clients, marketing company or law firm removed. AIT does however have all details on file for future reference.