I’ve anonymised this in all respects for reasons that I hope will be obvious, and I ask that there’s no open speculation in the comments below, but I hope this might assist people who find themselves in a similar situation at any point.
Someone who made an investment some years ago in Tenerife lost a considerable amount of money because of it, and was recently contacted by a firm of lawyers inviting him to take part in a class action against the company responsible for the investment. The offer was for no-win no-fee representation, but required a procurador to be paid up front. I was contacted to ask if this was normal – the matter was quite urgent because there was a hearing booked in the courts in August.
I advised the enquirer that procuradors are indeed required in some cases here (see HERE), and their fees are charged separately, so of itself, this would not be surprising. I recommended, however, that the person checked that the firm of lawyers who had contacted him out of the blue was actually registered in the Colegio de Abogados. This is similar in effect to the Law Society in the UK, and if the firm was registered, then the class action would very likely be legitimate.
On checking, it transpired that there was no record of this “despacho de abogados” anywhere in the Colegio’s registers – nor indeed was there any record of the procurador who had been named as the recipient of the up-front fee, which was not far short of €1,000 to be paid by bank transfer. One other thing which identified it as a scam is that the Civil Courts do not sit in August so the promised hearing could not have taken place in any case.
To me, this is a particularly cynical scam because it could well be targeting someone who’s already been scammed, or is desperate. Not very nice. Do be aware that any genuine lawyers will display their official registration number on all correspondence, and this can be checked with the colegio direct HERE.