20 May, 2012 @ 09:29
1 min read

A law unto themselves in Spain

EXCLUSIVE by James Bryce

A BRITON is warning expats to be wary of a bogus law firm offering to recover thousands in lost money upon payment of an upfront fee.

Reg Pickering, 55, from Cheshire, was cold called by UK Lawyers in Spain after losing €12,500 to a timeshare scam a decade ago.

The Marbella-based firm claimed they could recover the money through the Spanish courts in return for a payment of €1,300, to cover legal costs.

The company even went as far as to send documents with a stamp appearing to be from a Malaga courthouse.

“The original scam was one of those situations where it sounded too good to be true and so it proved,” said the engineer, who was originally a victim of a cashback scheme.

“This time I was much more cautious. I urge others to be equally careful,” he added.

Cold calling from a lawyer’s office is illegal under Spanish law, while normal procedure in legal cases is for a fee to be taken off the final amount, NOT paid upfront.

When the Olive Press attempted to contact UK Lawyers in Spain, the website was no longer available and a mobile phone number was switched off.

The company has also been linked to law firms in Malaga and Valencia, which are alleged to have approached clients offering similar services.

Eloise Horsfield

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  1. Hi,

    You can find more info about this scam at Midntimeshare blog: “http://wp.me/p1kmoi-n7”

    Alberto Garcia
    Director of Mindtimeshare
    Spanish Consumer Association

  2. I am currently trying to finalise a deal for my former timeshare/holiday club membership with a company called Blue Chip who promised to sell my membership for a fee “upfront as usual” after 12 months of numerous buyers who fell through at the last minute,they have now transferred me to another company called “Principle Travel”
    however i have been warned by a English legal assistant working for a Spanish legal firm in Malaga that this just another time bomb deal waiting to explode in the future.
    In the mean time P.H. LEGAL a English legal company has supposedly taken my case for compensation(return of fees,cashback,etc)
    we have been contacted by this company saying our case has been settled out of court but before we can be paid this money we have to pay an up front fee/commission to a Spanish legal firm who arranged a out of court settlement,
    (this does sound familier)any way i have no money to pay this commission,if you have any information or is there anything you could reccomend.

  3. Paul – soulds like it MAY be another scam. If the legal firm has your Settlement & funds, they can pay the Spanish firm the “Commission” (wonder how much it is?) and send you Receipts of: the Settlement, their payment to the Spanish firm on your behalf, payment of ALL amounts due to P.H. Legal and net payment due you from their clients’ Escrow account. If they cannot, it’s a scam.
    Check the British Law Association for bono fides on them.

  4. I also dealt with Blue Chip (BC) in 2011. They were very convincing and we paid them an up front fee. Being uncertain we had made the right decision we kept notes & recording of EVERY conversation. When things started to go wrong (as they always do) they offered us a BETTER offer from Principle Travel, the catch being that we had to pay even more money to get our original payment back. At this point I asked for my money back, they got a bit shirty at this point and pointed out their T&C’s. I raised a dispute with the CC Company who initially sided with BC, after involving the Fin Ombudsman & after several months & many letters I received a full refund plus a fee for my inconvenience. Don’t give up, that is what companies like BC bank on. Contact Alberto Garcia @ Mindtimeshare and get some advice. Go back to your CC provider and the Ombudsman, I found out by accident that my CC Co. were swamped with complaints re Blue Chip.

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