The subject TESS discusses in this Article is that of the relationship between: –

Eze, Europe Limited hereinafter called (Eze Europe), LCM Law Ltd (LCM) and Mr Gary Smith [1]

Eze Europe, Praetorian Legal Ltd (Praetorian) and Mr Gary Smith [2]

Monster Travel/ABC Lawyers (Mark Rowes Companies) Praetorian and Mr Gary Smith [3].

Eze, Europe LCM Law Ltd (LCM) and Mr Gary Smith [4]

gart smih 3EZE-Group-logo-new

Eze Europe is a Company within a Group of Companies incorporated in the USA. The matrix of companies was formed in or about 2001 and as stated by Eze Europe, that it sells a product called ‘Leisure Credits’ which it claims provides access to discounted flights, accommodation and other leisure activities.

Eze Europe Ltd is the UK registered Company and its consumer base comprises of individual consumers and families all of whom are resident in the United Kingdom.

In or about 2012 Eze Europe averred it was under intense pressure to have eradicated bad publicity which was placed on the internet by Mr Alberto Garcia of Mindtimeshare (a claimed consumer group). Mr Garcia was of the view that Eze Group had a track record of fraud and did dishonestly trick consumers into paying for its points-based holidays and Leisure Credit products. He suggested consumers were required to pay £15,000 to join the Leisure Credit scheme, and asserted [on his website] Eze Groups victims were “confused”, that the product was “intentionally” designed to avoid strict regulations contained in the new Timeshare Directive 2011. Eze Europe alleged the comments made by Mr Garcia were very serious, was having a detrimental impact on their business and were libellous, thus EZE Group sought and took advice from a legal company called LCM Law which operates from Birmingham. LCM was and still is significantly controlled by Mr Gary Smith who also owns or is involved in many other Companies.

The natural order and meaning of the words contained in the Garcia/mindtimeshare articles inferred Eze Europe were miss-selling its products and were operating contrary to consumer protection regulations.

Parenthetically, Mr Garcia professed to be an ex Spanish policeman and was presently a paid compliance/enforcement officer for the Organisation for Timeshare in Europe [OTE] which later became the Resort Development Organisation [RDO]. Eze Group averred the website did not contain the details of the owner, so they registered a complaint against Mr Garcia in 2013 in the Spanish Courts. When that matter came to Court, the judge ruled against Eze Europe’s complaint, so they appealed the ruling to a Superior Spanish Judge who again ruled in favour of Mr Garcia.

In their quest to have the claimed Defamatory content remover from the internet Eze Group petitioned the USA platform “Word Press” [The host of The mindtimeshare website], averring the content was libellous. “Word Press” after submissions from Albert Garcia refused to sanction the website, thus Eze Europe sought advice from 5 RB chambers who settled the “Particulars of Claim”.  This Claim was presented to the Courts and sent to Garcia, however, Garcia did not acknowledge the claims, thus Eze Europe obtained a summery default judgement on 16th May 2014 pursuant CPR12.3(1) (a). I believe that the default judgment order permitted Mr Garcia to provide a witness statement and Eze could rebut that statement if they deemed if necessary. That said, the judgement was made in favour of Eze Europe.

In the end, a deal was struct and [if gossip is correct] about £13,000 in costs and damages was paid by the RDO and/or Mr Garcia, further, it was a requirement of Eze Group that Garcia takes the defamatory publications down under a “Tomlin Order”.

The interesting facts are contained in the Witness Statements of both Stephanie O’Reilly and Mr Gary Smith.

In respect to Mr Smith, he termed himself as a “Legal Consultant” and explained to the Count “he undertook the role of Senior Manager in respect to the Eze Europe Legal and Compliance function. He did so via LCM Law Limited and affirmed he and LCM Law had worked for Eze Europe since 2012.

His role involved ensuring all the Eze Europe ‘consumer sales’ were properly conducted and in compliance with laws and regulations. As Mr Smith termed himself as a “Legal Consultant”, one would naturally expect that he is qualified in all aspects of “consumer law” and regulations which govern the sale of Eze Europe products. However, that may not be the case, as Mr Smith is by his own definition a Law Cost Draftsman [not a solicitor or a member of the regulated legal profession]. My understanding of a Law Cost Draftsman is a person who essentially formulates the costs involved in a litigation and the task is generally given to a Law Cost Draftsman by a Solicitor so that the Solicitor can [in turn] present an account of his client’s costs to a Court, so that Court can determine if the legal costs are fair and reasonable.

Therefore, asserting he is a “Legal Consultant” is, in reality, a far cry from what he is qualified to do, that said adopting the term ‘Consultant’ is [in my view] somewhat over-egging the pudding.

Mr Smith must have been in a position of knowledge and in respect to the Eze Europe business and the products it sold, as he was the Head of Legal and Compliance, had a very good knowledge and in respect to the business, Eze Group conducted in the UK.

Mr Smith on the mindtimeshare website faced allegations of operating under the guise of a pseudo name preferring to be known as “Mr G Force” which Mr Smith says is entirely untrue.

Mr Smith [when addressing the Court] should provide a truthful account, assuming he did, Mr Smith confirmed Eze Europe has [as at the 30th of June 2014] 7,000 Members, each paying an average of £10,000, thus £70 million was generated, therefore we are not dealing with a perceived small Company and having regard the published accounts, which fall within the financial year 31st January 2015 and the fact that future sales could not have been accounted for, the entire value of the Company with sales of 70 million is valued by the Directors as being a mere £44,000.

Having consideration for the removal of bad publicity, the value I have stated is quite conservative. The upshot is, sales of £70 million have been made, yet the Company is only valued at £44,000. Therefore, and having regard for the fact that over 7,000 members have paid £10,000 each [on average] to have future benefits delivered, is  £44,000 sufficient to deliver what was promised? Did Mr Smith know?

For reference, the 2015 accounts reflected a Company value of £9,033 and the accounts of 2014 showed the value was £465.00,

As Albert Garcia was eviscerating Eze Europe over the internet, Mr Smith reported that sales had declined because of the smear and 3 out of the 5 sales presentations [conducted by Eze Europe] where unsuccessful because of the bad press, thus £8 million in revenue was lost.

Eze Europe, Praetorian Legal Ltd (Praetorian) and Mrs Karen Smith [2]

gary smithPL-Team_0002_Karen

The fact is Eze Europe have a need to obtain customers, so they can sell to consumers their wares.  In doing so, the Eze Europe believed they had a need to create a matrix of other associated Companies and a network of others to induce and entice customers to visit with them.

This is referred to as ‘baiting’ and is commonplace in all business sectors. By way of “short” advertisements including glossy presentations, consumers are enticed and should those enticements result in a consumer having an interest in the advertised product, they will naturally seek out more information and in this case, elect to visit Eze Europe salerooms and maybe buy what it is they are/were selling.

Prior to delivering their sales campaign, Eze Group will have a need to establish what their target audience is and in their case, they have elected to target [amongst others] Timeshare Consumers.

When doing so, Eze Europe must have retained a belief that existing Timeshare Consumers had a perceived need to relinquish ownership of the Timeshare and when relinquished, they would have believed an opportunity existed whereby those consumers might consider buying into the product they sold, Eze “Leisure Credits”.

Dominic-OReilly-CEO-of-EZE-Groupdominic o riely

The Eze Group is headed by Mr Dominic O’ Reilly [CEO], who is reportedly an ex-timeshare sales-manager who sold and officiated over the sales of timeshares at the Lanzarote Beach Club [Timeshare Resort].

Having historic knowledge of Timeshare sales and the products sold, he believed a perceived need existed to assist consumers to get out of the Timeshare products. He or those associated with him decided to set up with a Company to deliver the required relinquishments which would provide a clear road to sell Eze Products. That company was called Praetorian Legal Ltd [Praetorian].

To conduct the Legal relinquishment of onerous Timeshare contracts, one would assume Eze Europe would have at its legal “tiller” a Licenced or Regulated Lawyer, however, that consideration was discarded in favour of skills of Mrs Karen Smith [the wife of Mr Smith] and Mr Dominic O’Reilly [CEO of Eze Europe].  Praetorian Legal asserted they were a company of “Legal Experts” however the counter-assertion is, it was controlled by an ex-Timeshare salesman and the wife of Law Cost Draftsman.

Thus, the initial Directors of Pretorian Legal Ltd [when formed] were Mr Dominic O’ Rilley [ CEO of Eze Group] and Mrs Karen Hasker Smith (Legal Sectary and wife of Mr Gary Wayne Smith who was the Eze Groups alledged Compliance Officer).

That being officially transmitted to the world at large and the Courts, Mr Smith mantra did exist in the both Eze Group and Pretorian. Mr Smith is not and to my knowledge a Solicitor, an experience contentious litigator nor an officer of the Court. That said, he does not claim to be, nor to my knowledge has he claimed to be a member of the professional body known as the Association of Cost Lawyers (ACL).

Mr Smith did own and run Legal Cost Masters Ltd and that company is registered at ‘Companies House’ and known by its Company Registration number 05825049 which became incorporated on the 22nd of May 2006 and remains active.

The Directors are himself and his wife Mrs Karen Hasker Smith both registering themselves at 41 Water Orto Road, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, B36-9ER. The Company boasts it sold 2 shares, one owned by each Director who paid the sum of £1 for each share.

The balance sheet shows that the company is technically “insolvent” as it has lost £13,032.00 and after 11 years of trading. See Companies house website

Mr and Mrs Smith also own a company called LCM LAW LIMITED and that Company is identified by Company Registration number 07774658. The Companies correspondence address is again Onyx House Phoenix Business Park Avenue Close Birmingham B7 4NU, is active and was incorporated on the 15th of September 2011. When this company was formed 100 £1.00 shares were sold and the Company is presently worth £23,155.00. That said, this company only commence trading in 2013/14 and potentially to service Eze Europe.

To complete the picture Mr Smith is/was also involved in Insurance & Legal Services UK limited which is identified by Company Registration number 03978541 and its registered office is located at Unit A, Kings Chambers, Queens Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 3EH. That Company was incorporated on the 29th of April 2000, has failed to file is accounts from 2012 onwards and is in liquidation. That liquidation commenced on the 10th of January 2013 and the insolvency practitioner is Mr Peter John Windatt who is located in Unit A, Kings Chambers Queens Road, Coventry, CV1 3EH.

The Company went bust owing £381,492.00 and Mr Smith became a Director on the 5th of March 2012, 10 months before the Company became insolvent.

In respect to The Pretorian Legal Companies

In this mini group, there are two companies Pretorian Litigation Management Ltd and Pretorian Legal Ltd

Praetorian Legal Litigation Management Ltd is identified by Company Registration number 09412556. The Registered office is located at Onyx House Phoenix Business Park, Avenue Close, Birmingham, England, B7 4NU and was Incorporated on the 29th of January 2015 and is active. This Company was set up by Mr Dominic O’ Reilly and Mr Smith the former resigning on the 17th of November 2015.

10 months later Mr O’Rielly left the Company, Mr Smith became the sole Directing mind and in the Companies accounts, it reflected a loss asserting it was worth £-118.00.00. In total, 2 £1.00 shares were issued, both paid for. Subjectively, it can be asserted that they did very little in the way of Litigation Management, however, objectively that assertion is not proven other than they only declared they had £100.00 in cash reserves and to date lost £118.00.

That said, the company Praetorian Legal Limited is more interesting. It is known by its Company Registration Number 09311368 and its Registered office is again, located at Onyx House Phoenix Business Park, Avenue Close, Birmingham, B7 4NU.

The Company is active and was incorporated on the 14th of November 2014. The Directors were Mrs Karen Ann Smith and Mr Dominic O’Reilly [who termed himself as a Marketing Consultant].

Mr O’ Reilly resigned on the 17th of November 2015 and 2 years later, Mr Gary Smith was appointed on the 16th of November 2017 [ He was not termed as a Law Cost Draftsman, but simply a Director]. Thus, between November 2015 and November 2017, the Company was entirely controlled by Mrs Smith, who controlled the operation from an office in her back garden.

What is interesting is on the 14th of August 2015, the Company filed “DORMANT ACCOUNTS” asserting no significant transactions took place from its formation to the accounting end date.

On the 15th of August, the Company filed accounts which showed the total gross profit of £790.00 and the value of the Company was £792.00, which covered the period up to and including the 30th of November 2015.

In contrast, the 2016 accounts were filed in August 2017. This year the Company elected to file Unaudited “Abridged” Accounts [which is their right] which shows the Company has leapt to a value to £334,236.00. and whilst being directed by Mrs Smith.

Having met this lady I formed the opinion that she was not acting alone and that Mr Gary Smith was at the back of the Company running it whilst operating as a “shadow Director” and whilst working for Eze Group retaining a significant position in the Eze Groups “Compliance” Department.

On or before the beginning of January 2016 the Company won a contract with Monster Travel [one of Mark Rowe’s Company] who also sells a form of ‘Leisure Credits’. Mr Rowe is associated with the infamous ABC Lawyers Ltd, which poetically accounts for the Companies leap in value.

Establishing as I have the Companies and the connected Directorships, one can see that they are all [in some form] interlinked.

Now this is where it becomes interesting

To the world at large, the Significant Director is Mrs Smith however mischievously Praetorian, stated (or at least the Scottish Herald were led to believe) Mr Smith was the Director, as on the 11th of July 2014 the Herald consulted Mr Smith who stated” Praetorian Legal Ltd was an eight-year-old PPI “Claims Firm”, which began taking on Timeshare Complainants in October 2013.

As Mr Smith was not a Director but asserted he was, is in my mine mischievous at best. Asserting that Praetorian was an 8-year-old company was again misleading which gave Praetorian Legal an underserved and a false credibility.

Mr Smith also stated ‘Praetorian’ retained more than 100 clients but their attempts to negotiate terminations from those Timeshare Contracts were being rebuffed by the Timeshare Industry.

Mr Smith went on to assert Praetorian’s stance was based on a legal challenge to the ‘in perpetuity‘ contract and that timeshare buyers had not tended to take any legal advice when entering their contracts.

That all stated, Mr Smith was being untruthful, he was not a Director of Praetorian, the Company was DORMANT (inactive) thus could not have been actively representing the 100 clients he asserted the Company was [if the companies’ submission were honest] and furthermore, a question has to be asked, “was this unlicensed, unregulated Law Cost Draftsmen a Director, qualified and or authorised to give advice to paying consumer when the Company was dormant?

Praetorian legal was not a member of any Legal Institution and had no paid employees. Thus, either the claims it retained over 100 clients were either untruthful or the company’s submissions were misleading.

Of course, this could just be a blip or misreporting if it were not for the fact that ‘Welt News’ was given a similar account.

What is also concerning is that a significant apostle and the Legal Compliance officer of Eze Europe [Mr Smith] had an interest in or did received a corresponding benefit from the clients he certified had been correctly sold the Eze Group Product. The question I pose is should the role be operated at an arm’s length?

When Welt News 24 contacted Praetorian Legal Ltd, they again conversed with Mr Gary Smith and he stated: “It gets even more complicated because the resorts are located abroad, which makes the legal work even more difficult”. This was alleged as the reason why “Gary Smith, Director of Praetorian Legal, has so far been able to show success to only a few [seven or eight] of his almost 130 cases”. The complaining Consumer “Margaret Turner” stated she has already paid money to Praetorian. “But nothing has happened for months.” Noting that this article was written on the 1st of August 2014 and knowing Mr Smith was not a Director and the Company was DORMENT one reasonable must question who is running the shop, is the 130 clients real and what [if anything] does Mrs Smith Do?

Again, this shows that there is always a countering view to the assertions which Pretorian puts into the public domain. However, in this example, Mr Smith’s asserts he is a Director which is mischievous at best and if Welt News 24 and the Scottish Herald have reported the facts correctly.

As time has moved on, more and more complaints have amassed and most complaining consumers being in fear of Eze Europe threats of issuing Defamation proceeding against those complainants, no one to date has challenged them officially.

In one case TESS handled, a consumer had been Sold Eze Europe products and complained to Mr Smith. Our consumer reported that when he complained to Mr Smith about the product Eze Group sold him. Mr Smith contacted the police and reported the consumer for harassing him. In this matter, a Police officer was sent around claiming Mr Smith was alarmed and distressed. I believe this is bad behaviour, especially coming from a claimed well-versed Lawyer Needless to say, when TESS intervened the Police accepted that the claimed harassment as a folly.

Some upset and disgruntled Eze Group and Praetorian consumers have elected to “hit” the chat forums and when doing so, they have levelled at the door of Praetorian legal and Eze Europe many other allegations including Contraventions of the Consumer Protection Regulations. Many have also reported their own concerns to authorities.

Therefore, Eze Europe made promises to Timeshare consumers stating that they would get them out of the onerous timeshare contracts and induced by this “treat” many elected to buy the Eze Europe products which offered a termination via its own Company ‘Praetorian’.

After selling the Eze Leisure Credits to Timeshare Consumers the alleged Legal services could not be fulfilled by the Dormant Pretorian [officiated over by Mrs Smith ‘a secretary’]. Publicly Praetorian Legal asserted the law firm was run by Mr Smith, however, he was not employed by Praetorian and was not a registered Director.

Monster Travel/ABC Lawyers (Mark Rowes Companies) Praetorian and Mr Gary Smith [3]

monster-travel-main-logoxvCoGMLg_400x400gart smih 3

Monster Travel is a sales platform for Hollywood Marketing and like Eze Europe, they sell their mischievous brand of Leisure credits and like Eze Group canvass Timeshare consumers. In their case, they developed a website called “Sell my timeshare” however when timeshare consumers courted that idea, they too found themselves in the confines of an arduous Leisure Credit sales presentation.

Like Eze Group, Monster Travel was part of a matrix of Companies [domiciled in far off locations] and internet sales platforms. When they originally asserted to TESS that they had a need to dispose of Timeshares on behalf of their clients and Tess being ignorant of their mischievous Leisure Credits product, TESS did assist in the disposal process however, after dealing with Mark Rowes Company’s and having regard for the many complaints regarding how Monster products were sold in August 2015, TESS decided to terminate the contract after the contractual runoff period. That said, in January 2016 the contract was terminated by Mark Rowe which TESS was happy with.

Monster-Travel-director-Mark-Rowe

To fulfil the role of the requirement to provide termination services Rowe [a pal of Dominic O’ Reilly] made a packed, in that in future, the service would be provided by Praetorian. That said, Mr O’ Reilly resigned on the 17th of November 2015 so the only Director and the significant person at the Company was, Mrs Smith. Again, Mr Smith did not appear on the Praetorian register until 16th of November 2017.

So, when all this work was being given to Praetorian [by Mark Rowe’s Monster Travel] the Legal work was being undertaken by a secretary. Mark Rowes product and the sales practices have been questioned by many, and like Eze Group they have come to the attention of the UK authorities who are presently carrying out an investigation concerning Mr Rowes Companies and his connected suppliers including Praetorian. This fact was confirmed to Tess on the 5th of May 2017. In saying this, the investigations have not been elevated to a criminal investigation.

If you do have a complaint or any issue with anyone associated with Monster Travel including Praetorian you can email the team at MGupdates@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk Or phone them on 01275 648088. I believe DC 4624 Burchill can assist you.

As Mr Smith features in and is related to compliance of the sales and compatibility the legal advice one has to question his role in all the Eze Group sales as it was he who, either sanctioned each sale, dealt with, supervised or had a hand in the attempted relinquishment of Timeshare contracts and the delivery of legal advice.

There is a wealth of other information’s which TESS will disclose later which we hope will assist consumers. That said and at this juncture, it is not appropriate to comment until later in November.

No Win No Fee” applications                       Please contact Mrs Glynn on 01253 208482

Monster Credits/ Eze Credit Claims           Please contact Miss Ali on 01253 208488

Club La Costa compensation Claims           Please Contact Miss Jenkinson 01253 208 483

 

Terminations of your Timeshare                  Please Contact Mrs Trippier 01253 729683.

Accounts jacqueline@tesslimited.co.uk>

Exits and Terminations: dianne@tesslimited.co.uk

Institute of Paralegal Practising Certificate Number IoP 794115

 


Posted on: 17th November 2017