International Timeshare Refund Action Limited (ITRA)
This company was incorporated in August, 2002 under the name of International Timeshare Resale Association Limited, the object being to form a self-regulatory body for the timeshare resale industry, similar to the RDO. This company was run from an office in Gibraltar.
ITRA was the brainchild of Mr. Peter Utal who was the dominant force in regard to its modus operandi.
In August 2009 the association disbanded and the company changed its name to International Timeshare Refund Action Limited (ITRA). Again the dominant force being Mr. Peter Utal.
Approximately 3 years ago, Mr. Peter Utal fell ill with cancer and after a short while was unable to work and in March 2018 he died.
It is important to bear in mind that in the year 2008 there was a major crash in property prices and the value of timeshares fell below zero and have never recovered.
Consumers were anxious to get rid of their onerous contracts, the resorts refusing to repossess, preferring instead to employ debt collectors and summonsing their clients to court for arrears of maintenance payments.
Without the involvement of Mr. Utal, ITRA ceased trading in January, 2017.
During its period of trading, ITRA entered into 2,964 contracts, successfully cancelled 1,790 ownerships and submitted 562 cases to the UK law firm, Messrs. Pinder Reaux. In addition, 520 cases were presented to the Spanish law firm, Maxima 1 Legal S.L.
ITRA was also responsible for the creation of the RCI Action Group, which consisted of 15,000 clients. This action group was an independent entity with its own committee and Chairman and was legally represented by the UK law firm, Messrs. Edwin Coe.
ITRA expended approximately £1 million on this project, the clients not having to pay any money to be part of the group which was conducted on a no win no fee basis, whereby ITRA would have received 40% of any award to be shared with its legal representatives.
Unfortunately, the case against RCI Europe was lost but no costs were incurred by members of the group.
European Claims Centre Limited had been incorporated and commenced trading in claims only in July, 2016 whilst ITRA continued to organise relinquishments until it ceased trading in January, 2017. ECC subsequently changed its name to European Consumer Claims Limited (ECC).
ECC undertook to finance the litigation in respect of all ITRA clients in the hands of Maxima 1 Legal S.L. and Pinder Reaux, which it is still doing up to this point in time.
It was ITRA which forced the timeshare industry to offer an exit strategy for its clients who wished to cancel but we soon discovered that in order to cancel, apart from paying a termination fee, clients had to sign an undertaking that they would not take any legal action against their resorts for mis-selling or breach of timeshare legislation.
Without the presence of Mr. Utal, ECC appointed a new management team and albeit that the timeshare industry, through Kwikchex and others, insisted that ECC was merely another name for ITRA, these statements were far from the truth and reality.
ECC was responsible for the establishment of the Spanish law firm Maxima 1 Legal S.L., which now employs 12 timeshare specialist lawyers, together with legal assistants. Maxima 1 Legal S.L. applied to the Ministry of Justice to be regulated which was granted and is now regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims under the registration no. CRM44126.
As far as Mr. Andrew Cooper is concerned, he has never been a director of ITRA, merely a consultant under the direction of Mr. Peter Utal. He did become the director of ECC, which is managed on a professional basis with very few consumer complaints.