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Can I take an EU company to court in the UK


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My mother recently contacted a company advertising on National TV as a timeshare resaler calling themselves ETOO (European Timeshare Owners Association). She has a timeshare which she has been trying to sell without success. After contacting them, she received a call-back from them advising her that they had a company that were looking to purchase 15 weeks of timeshare holidays and were offering £8500 per week (she has two to sell).

 

They asked for £950 for advertising fees in advance which she would get back when the sale went through. That rang alarm bells, but the seller provided her the name of the regulatory body which would provide a reference, the ITRO (International Timeshare Retail Association). Using the phone number provided she contacted them, and got a glowing reference about their services.

 

I have since found out about this and done some research. It appears that ETOO were the subject of an OFT warning this January regarding the advertisments being carried on National TV. Additionally, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint earlier this year that their adverts were giving the impression that the company was being overseen by a regulatory body, the ITRA, which was not the case. The ITRA is the creation of ETOO and two other companies and has not legal standing whatsoever.

 

After she had received the "glowing reference" from the ITRA, she agreed to their terms and provided her credit card number and agreement for the £950 payment. About 20 minutes later, the firm called back and told her that her bank had declined the transaction and asked her to contact her bank which she did. This was yesterday.

 

Having found aout about all this today, I advised her to tell the back that she believed the transaction to be fraudulent and to do a chargeback. The bank (Co-op) has refused to do this because it was she who authorised the transaction by phoning them.

 

Can anyone advise if she is still covered under the CCA 1974 in these circumstances, and can the bank refuse the chargeback.

 

Thanks

 

(Note to mods. I've also posted this in the holidays section as a warning regarding ETOO and the ITRA)

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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Guest Old_andrew2018

Hi

Just to be quite clear the original transaction was declined by your mothers bank, she then telephoned and arrange payment, is that correct or have I missed something, please advise.

 

Regards

 

Andy

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That's correct Andrew. The original transaction was declined by the banks security system, although they won't say why it was declined. She was then contacted by ETOO and asked to confirm to the bank that this was a genuine transaction.

 

At that stage, she was still under the impression, aided by the reference that she had received from the ITRA, that this firm was reputable so she was happy to comply.

 

I've since found this on the internet which gives a clear idea of how the ITRA and ETOO are linked. Note that it is written by the person who set up the ITRA.

 

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/TonySedgwickG180.doc

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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Guest Old_andrew2018
That's correct Andrew. The original transaction was declined by the banks security system, although they won't say why it was declined. She was then contacted by ETOO and asked to confirm to the bank that this was a genuine transaction.

 

At that stage, she was still under the impression, aided by the reference that she had received from the ITRA, that this firm was reputable so she was happy to comply.

 

I've since found this on the internet which gives a clear idea of how the ITRA and ETOO are linked. Note that it is written by the person who set up the ITRA.

 

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/TonySedgwickG180.doc

Hi

How can the ITRA get away with this, I feel your mother has been poorly treated, however I can't see the bank moving at all on this, I'm sure they will argue that the transaction was authorised at your mothers request.

With luck another more experienced member will come along with useful advice, so if nothing else our replies have bumped the thread.

 

Regards

 

Andy

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Fortunately we also have a couple of other avenues to attack. The media is also liable, since they have continued to carry adverts for ETOO despite being advised back in January by the Timeshare Consumers Association that they were advertising a [problem] organisation. The TCA has offered to assist anyone suffering as a result of seeing their advertising in taking the carrier of the adverts to court.

 

Also, since there has been no contract signed, we will be putting it formally in writing to ETOO that their services are not required, and demanding that the £950 be returned in full. if they fail to comply, then the banks will have no choice but to recover the monies since the money would have been paid but no service forthcoming.

 

The people I feel really sorry for are those who have signed contracts, only to find out that their "buyer" is nothing of the sort, but just another timeshare [EDIT] trying to sell them even more worthless holiday time and then rejecting any refund on the basis that they had made an offer in line with the contract.

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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  • 2 weeks later...

I need some urgent advice please.

 

This is regarding the issue I posted last week.

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/general-consumer-issues/143524-can-bank-refuse-fraudulent.html

 

The police are advising that as money was paid up front, a contract has been entered into even though no contract has yet been provided or signed. The [problematic] are claiming that failure to sign the contract will result in forfeiture of the deposit £950.

 

The company have claimed that a sale of her timeshare will be made in london on May 22nd at their London offices. However, the address that ETOO provide as their London office is an accommodation address (Trafalgar House, Grenville Place, London). I have confirmed with them today that ETOO only use their mailing services.

 

Surely, it is contrary to the UTCCR to have in place a clause in a contract which states that if the contract is not satisfactory the transaction is deemed to have taken place.

 

The bank will only refund on chargeback if it is proved that this is a [problem]. However, to prove it is a [problem], she has to sign the contract and commits herself to a deal which she knows will not happen.

 

Anyone advice on how to proceed, please.

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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This is the marketing agreement that was sent.

 

Bear in mind, that she has been promised that a buyer has already been found and that the contract for the sale will be signed in London on May 22nd.

 

My mother made it clear at the time of the phone conversation that she could not leave the country due to medical conditions, and was told that the sale would be taking place in London at their offices. (They have no offices, the address is a forwarding address). She was also told that they couldn't enter into a verbal contract and the contract had to be signed for the transaction to go ahead, but she couldn't back out of it after that phone conversation (bit of a contradiction that one). Additionally, why are they advertising her property for twelve months whrn they already have a buyer!

 

BTW, trading standards didn't seem to think it was a [problem]. Scarry.

 

 

MARKETING AGREEMENT

 

Marketing Terms and Conditions

 

1. ETOO is authorised to market your timeshare ownership or points and agrees that no further costs will be charged in relation to the sale unless otherwise stated and/or agreed by all parties concerned.

2. ETOO will source the best possible offer available and will refer all offers directly to the vendor.

3. ETOO will utilise the following marketing methods:

a. TV advertising our services on both terrestrial and satellite television on major channels such as Channel 5, ITV, Sky News.

b. Google adwords - Strategic pay per click advertising on Google (the worlds most recognised search engine) places etoo on top of all major timeshare industry keyword searches.

c. Newspaper - advertising your specific timeshare ownership listing in a mainstream international newspaper publication.

d. In-flight Magazines - advertising our services in the in - flight magazines of some of Europes most popular airlines

e. Corporate Offers - Negotiating with organisations interested in selective inventory.

 

4. Your payment will be used to marlet your timeshare during the period of twelve months as stated in no 3 a through e above.

5 etoo agrees to administer legal and transfre procedures, the exception being when documents require notorisation or equivalent, or where direct contact from the vendor is necessary by a trustee. Full assistance will be provided by etoo where needed.

6. The endor must be the legal entity authorized to register the ownership as stated and undertsnads that on occasions the vendor may be requested to be present at the point of sale.

7.At the point of sale, the title deed/certificate will be free of liability, any related finance being settled in full.

8. The management fee is the responsibility of the vendor, not the purchaser, and must be current in order for the sale to conclude.

9. At point of sale, the vendor may be requested to un-bank any banked weeks. Confirmation of such must be provided in writing by relevent exchange company and/or resort.

10. Should you dispose of your ownership without the assistance of etoo, immediate notification must be provided to etoo.

 

Confirmation of details and Terms and Conditions.

I confirm that the above details are accurate and correct, and that I have read, understood and agree to the Terms and Conditions as above.

 

Name Signature date

 

I confirm receipt of this application. Please print your name and date, thank you.

 

Registered Office:Garrison House, 3 Library Ramp, PO Box 1323, Gibraltar, Registered in Gibraltar No 52251.

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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If you have not done so already please call trading standards who may be able to assist with this. Use Consumer Direct and advise them of the amount of money and that your mother is elderly. I recommend calling them rather than using the online service.

they may be able to refer the case for assistance

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My mother has spoken to trading standards again today, having seen the "contract". The numpty on the other end of the phone suggested that it may be a genuine transaction and not a [problem] at all !

 

One wonders who the hell is being employed by tradings standards these days. They must read their own files.

 

The important point that I'm trying to clarify is that when the initial contact was made, my mother was told:

 

1. That she could not pull out of the transaction once she agreed to go ahead even though no contract had been signed at that point.

2. The contract HAD to be signed, because a verbal contract could not be entered into by the sales rep.

3. No refund would be given if the contract was not entered into, yet the contract specified completely different terms to those agreed verbally, and is impossible for her to agree to on medical grounds which they were made fully aware of.

 

If she has is considered not to have agreed to the sale until a contract is signed, then provide her with a totally irrelevent contract to sign, how on earth can they claim that no refund is forthcoming after a verbal conversation.

 

This must be contrary to the UTCCR ?

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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Was it actually trading standards or consumer direct? It is contrary to UTCCR in my opinion, and unfortunately it is a civil matter.

However, there are also possibly criminal elements. Trade descriptions spring to mind, and as they are operating in europe, maybe the unfair commercial practices directive.

 

I suggest that you make a call on your mothers behalf and emphasise that she is elderly and vulnerable. They're targeted on those things. Mention also the number of complaints against them and the ASA action.

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  • 2 years later...

There is a good chance that I shall have to try and recover about £400 from a German company who are refusing to comply with EU law..

 

Am I correct in my understanding that this can be done in the UK via the small claims procedure, providing that they have an address in the UK to which documents can be posted?

 

The company has a UK postal address which is a PO Box number in Liverpool for the purposes of customer feedback, which also appears on correspondence received from them.

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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Perplexity.

 

I have neither the time, the inclination nor the understanding to go trawling through EC regulations you quote in your reply, in order to find what should be a simple yes or no answer.

 

If you wish to assist, please do so in simple terms that this layman can understand. Linking to or quoting specific sections of regulations to back up advice given is often helpful, simply quoting regulation names is meaninless to an average person, especially one who loses the will to live after reading the first five lines of most documents of legal jargon.

 

Sorry to be blunt.

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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Richard, No. Small Claims in ONLY for E&W. You cannot rais an actain for anyone not domiciled or operating a business from England. There is a special EU court process that allows you to issue court documents via a trans-EU judiciary - but it is operated via Luxembourg (although you can file online). You'll waste your money on a SC, always assuming they're smart enough to notice it isn't a UK address.

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That's the thing though Buzby, they do have an English address, in Liverpool at which staff are located.

 

The correspondence so far has been sent to, and received from Liverpool and it is an address which the company lost on their website as the UK contact address.

 

That said, other advice suggests that I would be better off going via the regulatory authority in this instance, although it may take a lot longer.

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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Regulatory action rarely benefit the punter, but regarding the Liverpool presence, where is the company actually registered? EBay has a London office, but can routinely avoid UK court action because it is based in Luxembourg.

 

A contact address in no better than a PO Box. Further, the 'office' could be an agency and has no responsibility for their client.

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Actually, I think that perplexity may be right here.

 

The legislation he quoted concerns cross border claims under a scheme known as the "European small claims procedure."

 

Essentially, it will allow you to take action against this company - usually the country in which the defendant it domiciled will have jurisdiction, but in some instances, the claim may be bought elsewhere - like where you live.

 

Cases where the action can be bought in a Country other than that in which the defendant is domiciled may involve:

 

• a contractual obligation;

• actions for damages;

• matters relating to maintenance; and

• matters relating to consumer contracts, insurance and too individual contracts of

employment.

• Matters relating to patents and trademarks

• Matters relating to ownership or tenancy of immovable property

 

Im a bit busy at present, but for more info, look here: http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/ex725_e.pdf

 

and here: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/protection_of_consumers/l16028_en.htm

Warning: Freemen of the Land Operate here. Think twice before accepting 'legal advice'.

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The legislation he quoted concerns cross border claims under a scheme known as the "European small claims procedure."

 

----

 

(EC) No 44/2001 covers the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters in general.

 

Practice Direction 6B covers the service of a claim form abroad.

 

8-)

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, I too was taken in by ETOO advertising but went the whole way, paid, signed contract, met their so called Corporate buyers in Spain. BBC Watchdog did a programme on it so I filed a claim with FOS. Two years later this has been rejected so still no money back. Thinking about putting in a claim to Small Claims Court but need advice on how to proceed. Can anyone help?

Edited by ELB
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