They just keep on coming, and their sole aim is to fleece you of your cash, yes you have guessed it, yet another “New” timeshare claims company, this one is called Sunshine Associates Limited. The TCA highlighted this new cold caller on Monday 12 June, at the time they were initially investigating they found no website, since then however one has appeared.
This website has only just been registered, being only a month old, it is also only registered for 1 year with all reference to the identity of the owner being hidden.
The company itself as the TCA pointed out is what can be labelled an “off-the-shelf” company, the company name is registered and lays dormant until it is needed. This is usually by the many scam operators who need a “ready-made” company with a registered history or one that has not been used in timeshare scams before.
This particular company, Registration Number 13751472, was originally registered by Grzegorz Szewczyk, who also is the registered director of 593 other companies. It was first incorporated on 18 November 2021, and was classified as “Dormant Company”.
On 12 May 2023, the registered director was changed to Ashley Robert Matthews, who is also the director of another company incorporated on 18 July 2022. This company does not appear to be connected to timeshare or claims.
Just this small amount of information gives cause for concern, a dormant company reactivated with a new director, a new website promoting claims and the start of a cold call campaign.
As for the cold call, it is the usual “you have a claim” along with the “sorry you are not actually out of your timeshare, just suspended” routine, so we won’t bore you with the details.
Moving now to the website itself, very basic, definitely looks as though it has been created in a rush, the one thing that did stand out, there was very little mention of “timeshare” in the narrative. The first mention of timeshare we found was on the welcome page and the in the FAQs, back to those in a moment.
Having only been registered just over a month ago on 10 May 2023, and due to expire on 10 May 2024, so only registered for 1 year, another warning sign of a possible scam. The other is the lack of transparency on who owns the website, once again these details are hidden.
The welcome page, begins with:
“Welcome to Sunshine Associates, your trusted partner in resolving contract issues. We are a recently combined team of experienced paralegal consultants dedicated to helping individuals and families get out of unwanted contracts and recover funds lost due to the contractual agreements they have been party to.”
Not a bad opening, “your trusted partner”, considering they have only been in operation for a little over a month!
The third paragraph could also be described as a bit cheeky:
“In addition to helping you get out of your unwanted contracts, we also assist our clients in submitting claims to recover money lost during the contract term. Our team has extensive experience in dealing with the complexities of timeshare scams, and we will work tirelessly to help you recover your funds.”
Don’t you just love the part about “extensive experience in timeshare scams”, I’ll bet they have. As for working “tirelessly” to recover your money, well, I actually think that really means “working tirelessly” to get hold of your money.
Scrolling down we come to their Contract Services and Financial Claims, this is what we would expect, a review & analysis of your contract, assistance in terminating your contract and dispute resolution. In this they harp on about their “paralegal” experts whoever they are, terminating your contract “legally & effectively” and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve through the dispute resolution process, if that does exist.
The financial claims section just rambles on about Section 75 and Sections 140a & 140b claims under the Credit Consumer Act 1974 and also through “Direct Claims”.
Let us now have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section, the first is who are Sunshine Associates, well the answer is the same as the welcome page, so nothing new there. It is when we move down the list to “Are you FCA or SRA registered” that alarm bells begin to ring, this is their answer:
“As dedicated paralegals, we strive to provide exceptional legal support and assistance to our clients. While we are not registered solicitors, we operate under the highest professional standards and diligently adhere to legal regulations. As paralegals, we do not require registration with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Our focus lies in leveraging our extensive knowledge and experience to navigate the intricacies of legal matters, offering valuable guidance and efficient solutions. You can trust that our unwavering commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct ensures the utmost care and attention in every case we handle.”
The only truthful statement they make is that “they are not solicitors”, so not being registered with the SRA is understandable, it is the lack of FCA registration however that gives cause for concern.
Considering the FCA regulates claims, it is surprising that this company states they are “not required” to be registered. We know there are some instances where no registration is required but we don’t think this is one of them, the statement itself raises questions.
The next question “With whom are you registered?” also creates a lot of noise from the alarm bells with their answer:
“We completely understand the importance of trust when it comes to choosing a paralegal service. To provide you with peace of mind, we are proud to inform you that our paralegals are all registered with both the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and the Professional Paralegal Register. These registrations signify our commitment to upholding legal and ethical standards, ensuring the protection of your personal information and the provision of professional services. Additionally, we adhere to strict confidentiality protocols to safeguard your privacy throughout our engagement. By choosing our services, you can have confidence in our qualifications, expertise, and dedication to serving your legal needs with integrity and professionalism.”
We can confirm they are registered with the ICO, so can legally show the logo, however, this does not mean to say they are legitimate. It is actually a very simple process to get registered and very little evidence is needed. In fact, the first thing that appears on the ICO website for registering is “Use this service to register and pay the fee for the first time.”
The information you will need to register is also listed:
- your credit or debit card details, if paying by card.
- organisation name and address; and
- details about the number of staff you have and your turnover.
Not a lot of information to register considering that it is all about “data protection”, so can you actually trust any company registered with the ICO based on this?
All being registered says is that you agree to comply with all data regulations, whether you do or not is irrelevant.
As for the use of the logo for the Professional Paralegal Register, unfortunately, we can find no entry of this company on either this register or the Institute of Paralegals, not even “temporary” registration.
As we can find no registration with those organisations or any reference to any Sunshine Associates registration numbers on their website, it is safe to assume they are not registered. This means the use of the PPR logo on their website may be “illegal”.
These are the contact details for Sunshine Associates Limited,
Customer Service: 0203-137-4989
Registered Address, this is a common registration address for hundreds of companies.
63-66 Hatton Garden
Postal Address, yet another rent-an-office.
85 Great Portland Street
One question that we should also point out is regarding your data and information,
“I have received an email or phone call from you, where did you get my information?”
Their answer is laughable, they don’t actually say where they got your information, they do however start with the “reassurance” they understand the “importance of trust, confidentiality & transparency”:
Skirting around where the information has been obtained, they do say “occasionally” they receive referrals from “trusted sources”, other scammers no doubt. Their other statement of never divulging your details with anyone else without your “express permission” is also laughable, of course they are going to sell it on, especially if you don’t bite.
So, what do we have, a new company that has only just emerged, a website that is only 1 month old, a lack of verifiable information on their website and cold calling, if that isn’t a basic recipe for a scam, then we don’t know what is.
As for the named director of Sunshine Associates Ltd, Ashley Robert Matthews, he may not be the “big cheese” behind it, he is probably just the frontman and potential scapegoat, the “guilty” ones will be well and truly hidden.
This is yet another prime example of why you have to be on your guard especially when receiving cold calls, and we also include emails and texts in there. These operations are well put together, they use the oldest techniques in the book, fear and greed to snare you. The only winners in this “contract” will be the scammers.
As always, we leave you with the old warning.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK