Meet Andrew Cooper: CEO of European Consumer Claims (ECC)
There is a lot of information online about Andrew Charles Cooper, much of which provides a skewed perception of his past and the business areas in which he works and has worked.
The majority of negative information has been created by timeshare special interest groups to tarnish his (and his companies’) reputation.
Discrediting Cooper is a business driven strategy, designed to safeguard the finances of a questionable industry.
Why would they do this?
Timeshare companies have ignored protective legislation for years in order to maximise profits at the expense of consumers.
The organisations Andrew Cooper has worked with threatened the industry’s illicit earnings, and are currently enabling thousands of timeshare members to seek restitution and compensation to which they are legally entitled.
This is costing the industry millions of pounds.
Businesses fail sometimes
Much has been made (by timeshare industry representative groups/sites like the RDO and KwikChex) of the fact that businesses Mr Cooper worked with or managed in the past have failed. According to Simply Business UK, 80% of all businesses do fail, unfortunately. Times change, and so do markets.
What the timeshare spokespeople neglect to add is that Cooper’s associated businesses all genuinely provided help and assistance to thousands of consumers, and in spite of some failures along the way, Andrew Cooper remains dedicated in the quest to assist consumers who have been materially (often repeatedly) wronged by the timeshare industry.
Despite partisan reports and sponsored attacks on the internet, Mr Cooper has only ever fought for the rights of consumers. Still today he leads the battle, enabling aggrieved timeshare consumers to seek redress.
The real story
At the age of 21, Andy Cooper moved to Tenerife to sell timeshare for the well known UK home developer, Wimpey. This was 1990 when timeshare was a genuinely intuitive product and sales were compliant with the relevant law.
These were the days of ‘holidays from hell’ and people being disappointed with low standard package accommodation. Timeshare gave people a better quality of holiday, and they were prepared to pay for it.
After two successful years (in which he was promoted to management), Andy decided the business had a limited future. Returning owners were asking how to sell their weeks. The package tour companies had upped their game and were providing quality accommodation without the commitment of timeshare. Andy knew the timing was right to move on and understanding the market demand, he moved into the timeshare resale industry.
There is no longer demand for timeshare resales. Any suggestion to the contrary is a lie. Back in the 90s however there was a strong market and for a number of years Cooper and his colleagues helped owners to resell their unwanted timeshares.
The timeshare resorts, threatened by the existence of a resale market, started to create barriers (such as unreasonable transfer fees) to kill the industry.
Over time the market naturally evolved with the supply of owners wanting to sell exceeding the demand for people wanting to buy timeshares.
Timeshare resales became a thing of the past. Cooper once again moved on
Business is about solving problems. The main timeshare problems were no longer quality standards, but flexibility and cost of ownership.
With less demand the resorts had begun to inflate the annual maintenance fees.
Understanding the market shift and having a great network of contacts by now, Andrew Cooper entered the holiday club industry
At the time holiday clubs were a revolutionary concept, providing access to timeshare quality resorts, with more flexibility and less outlay. Initially the timeshare resorts embraced these new clubs as it helped them fill inventory. Then they got greedy, creating their own clubs and cutting ties with third-party suppliers.
Greed was rampant throughout the industry. Resorts were continuing to raise fees and create new products to “upsell” their members. Even the exchange companies were skimming weeks and selling them for a profit.
Timeshare was becoming predatory and often toxic. Andrew Cooper was becoming disheartened, even angry at the way resorts were treating their owners.
For the first time, he switched sides to work with the owners against the industry.
Cooper began working with a company called International Timeshare Refund Action (ITRA). ITRA helped timeshare owners to legally get out of their membership contracts. They also launched legal challenges on behalf of owners who were mis-sold or misrepresented by their timeshare companies.
This venture began with a campaign against the major exchange company, RCI, who were taking the best timeshare weeks and renting them out to package tour companies; weeks already paid for by timeshare members.
RCI Class action
A no-win no-fee class action was launched on behalf of around 15,000 owners against the giant exchange company.
The claimants successfully proved the case and RCI were found guilty but their high priced lawyers managed to avoid paying thanks to a legal technicality — namely the Judge found that despite breaches, there was no loss caused to the owners.
Many of the timeshare owners ITRA were speaking to at this time simply wanted rid of the financial burden of owning a timeshare. The annual fees were a millstone around their necks, and the timeshare companies were making it difficult for people to escape. There were horror stories of little old ladies getting CCJs and being doorstepped by bailiffs demanding money with menaces. ITRA began helping people to escape their unwanted membership contracts.
This caused fresh umbrage to the multi million-pound timeshare players. A campaign of media and other online attacks was launched against Cooper personally and any company he was connected to.
European Consumer Claims (ECC)
In 2016 the principal of ITRA was diagnosed with cancer (passing away two years later) and he was unable to continue running the business. Also that June, Andrew incorporated ECC Ltd to provide UK support (administration and marketing services) to US based entity ECC LLC.
With thousands of claims in progress ITRA continued to come under serious attack by the industry which resulted in timeshare funded activists Kwikchex pushing clients to take court action against ITRA.
ITRA at the time was no longer trading and running on limited resources to manage the fulfilment of its existing clients. It was not in a financial position to defend these attacks and the director made the decision to wind the business up.
In order to avoid ITRA clients with claims in process being left high and dry, ECC offered to manage these clients’ claim files for no extra charge.
Today ECC LLC is managing over 3000 claim files and has successfully relinquished thousands of timeshare contracts.
The truth about Andrew Charles Cooper is probably best told, not by his sworn enemies in the timeshare industry, or even by his own organisation.
There can be no better witnesses than clients of his business. Their voices carry louder and higher than all the paid propaganda an angry timeshare industry could ever create.
- European Consumer Claims client feedback
- KwikChex: Compromised by timeshare industry funding?
- RDO: Under TCA investigation
- Escape an unwanted timeshare
- Who are European Consumer Claims (ECC)?
- Can timeshare owners really claim compensation?
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ECC provides timeshare claims services, expert advice and help.
E (for media enquiries): firstname.lastname@example.org
T: 0800 6101 512 / 0203 6704 616
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First published on MyNewsDesk April 2021