UK Enterprise Awards 2021

20 | UK Enterprise Awards 2021 Apr21296 Best Timeshare Contract Consultancy Specialists 2021 Established in 2015, Carl James Associates is a timeshare contract consultancy with more than 20 years’ combined experience in timeshare products. Following its well-deserved success in the UK Enterprise Awards 2021, we caught up with Thomas Whelehan to find out more. Headquartered in Staffordshire and York, Carl James Associates pride themselves on helping clients get out of unwanted timeshare contracts. To start, Thomas provides a brief overview of the firm and offers more insight into its areas of expertise. “Using qualified UK based solicitors and relinquishment contract specialists, we can offer expert timeshare advice. Typically, an initial consultation covers mis-sold timeshare products, unfair perpetuity clauses in the contract, timeshare contracts that are no longer affordable, excessive maintenance fees and charges from the timeshare provider, and if a client has been pressurised to buy or upgrade a timeshare contract. Additionally, we can assist with other scenarios such as timeshare exit, timeshare dispute resolution, timeshare cancellations, sold points systems, fractional ownerships, floating or fixed week ownerships and holiday clubs we also envisage that due to Covid-19 the majority timeshare owners have continued to pay maintenance on a product they can not use and essentially the only option available was to bank the timeshares, with resorts opening up we can see more frustration for timeshare owners as they will not be able to use the banked ownership due to both the volume of timeshare owners trying to get availability and the timeshares own goal which is to market to new clients. When the next maintenance fees are due timeshare owners will still have to pay the new maintenance to use their banked ownership when they are not getting the availability to use what they already have” In its attempts to differentiate itself from competitors, the firm predominantly focuses on customer service, as Thomas explains further. “At Carl James Associates, we pride ourselves on setting realistic expectations, giving the correct advice and delivering a service that gives clients freedom and peace of mind. In this regard, communication is central, so our values focus on offering honest, direct, and unbiased advice. Offering an industry-standard service at a much-reduced price has been made possible thanks to the philosophy we have in place. The model we operate on is different from that of our competitors, and in essence, this is why it works. At Carl James Associates we have always warned clients of false information, this centres around timeshare financial claims for compensation made for many years by companies based out in Spain and the Canary Islands who have hoodwinked clients into paying Tens of Thousands of pounds believing they have claims against timeshare resorts. These companies operate outside the laws of the UK and the Financial Conduct Authority as such they make these false promises, and it seems no authority is willing to get involved to safeguard the clients from the false claims and promises. As an industry, we hear all too often that competitors fail to deliver on their promises of recompense for those who own timeshares. Naturally then, as Carl James Associates partners are FCA regulated, clients can speak to them directly regarding a claim. Thomas adds, “It is legally mandated that a company is regulated by the FCA in order to pursue credit claims. Through our partners, you can be assured the information you receive is correct. The fact we have never had to refund anyone for failing to extricate them from the unwanted timeshare contract is a testament to the service we provide”. Today, one of the central challenges the firm faces is the stigma associated with the industry, as Thomas elaborates further. “Typically, we find that a number of our competitors are unscrupulous and will go to any lengths to eliminate genuine competition. Moreover, we have even found that Citizens Advice have been recommending companies who appear to have this approach. Even we have had agreements cancelled after clients change their minds in response to unscrupulous cold callers, who are even willing to disparage our business and promise clients unattainable refunds. If and when our deals are nullified, we find that we are 8unable to defend our position if we cannot contact former clients. Collecting payment for work undertaken in the performance of those agreements is then a further issue that impacts us, and around 35 per cent of our invoices remain unpaid”. Despite the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the firm has adapted to the situation admirably, and as Thomas points out, it could well continue with this new way of working even when social distancing measures no longer apply. “Using Zoom, we have spoken to over 500 new clients. This of course has been an eye-opener but it’s something we are interested in persisting with moving forward”. Finally, Thomas discusses some of the changes he would like to see introduced to the industry before looking ahead to the remainder of 2021 and beyond. “Naturally, we believe that a cooling-off period for those who have bought a timeshare should commence when clients return to the UK and not when they are still on holiday. Firstly, buying a timeshare can be an emotional purchase and secondly, people are often pressurised into signing”. Moving forward, our main goal is to maintain the exceptionally high standards of customer service we’ve set since inception. Beyond this, if we can identify further opportunities for growth then the company should remain in a good place”. Company: Carl James Associates Contact: Thomas Whelehan Email: Web: Phone: 01904 215383