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Incentive Leisure Group Frequent The Courts
Never afraid to "court" publicity Incentive Leisure Group were often finding themselves and their various associates not only in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons but also in the court's.
In 2005, the Office of Fair Trading had become alarmed at the number of complaints that it had been receiving in respect of consumers complaining that they had been mis-sold memberships of holiday clubs. In order to rectify this the OFT liaised with Designer Way Vacation Club, European Coast & Sun Holidays, Whitebay International, World Travel Program, Worldwide Trave , Holiday VIP's, Bonus Select Vacations, Incentive Leisure Group and others to try and rectify the issues . In response these companies gave a number of undertaking to the OFT regarding issues such as the potential value of any Cashback scheme and providing the consumer with their cancellation rights amongst others.
Week commencing the 8th June 2009 must have been a particularly stressful time for the likes of Garry Leigh and Keith Barker because they found themselves with not one but two battles with which to defend themselves from the various authorities.
On the 9th June they were found guilty as directors of Incentive Leisure Group (UK) Ltd on 11 counts of fraud by Reading Magistrates Court in relation to the manner in which they promoted the Cashback scheme that was being offered to customers and that such scheme was run by an independent lawyer. The general theme to the offences was that they had implied to consumers that they would receive their monies back in respect of the timeshare they had given to Incentive Leisure and for the DWVC Membership Club via a Cashback promotion. Originally Incentive Leisure had been charged with 36 counts of fraud but several days into the hearing they decided to plead guilty to 11 counts of fraud and consequently the other charges were dropped. What amazes us is that no reference was made to the boast offered to some customers that if the Cashback failed to reimburse the customer the face value of the certificate then Incentive Leisure would "make good" the difference. Our impression is that this statement offered to some customers provided a good indication that Incentive Leisure Group had no intention of continuing to trade in the long term.
The day after the trial had ended in Reading, both Garry Leigh and Keith Barker found themselves on the receiving end of further issues with the authorities - the Advertising Standards Authority . The Direct Marketing Partnership Group aka Geo Demographic Market Research Ltd found themselves being found guilty of making misleading statements in the adverts that it had published in the national newspapers and over the adverts it had published. The purpose of these adverts was to try and allure timeshare owners to the offices of Incentive Leisure Group on the pretext that they could offer them an opportunity to dispose of their timeshares and recover 100% of their asking price back in return. The advert misleadingly implied that there would be no charge for the advertisers services and that the customer would need to travel to a "local office". The ad further implied that an offer for the customers timeshare would be guaranteed but failed to mention that the advertiser would need to pay the advertiser to take the timeshare off his hands.
On the 13th January 2011, a notice was placed in the Gibraltar Chronicle informing that Incentive Leisure Group Ltd had entered into liquidation and that Keith Lawrence had been appointed to administer the liquidation. A subsequent notice was later issued to creditors informing that there would be no funds available for distribution . In respect of Incentive Leisure Group (Milton Keynes) Ltd this was dissolved via a voluntary strike off on 17th March 2009 whilst Incentive Leisure Group (UK) Ltd was dissolved via a voluntary strike off on 28th September 2010. On the 19th January 2011, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint that Reclaim Ltd had made misleading statements in respect of the potential return a consumer was likely to receive on maturity of their Cashback certificate. Reclaim Ltd has Keith Barker listed as a director of the company as at September 2011 and its shareholders remain anonymous via two companies one of which is registered in Belize and the other which is registered in the Seychelles.