About this project
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Costs of the judicial procedure in the first instance
As they are crimes of a certain importance and with possible prison sentences, the procedure will have an investigation phase, which has already begun, and which will close to give way to the oral trial phase, with its subsequent sentence. This is a procedure that can take more than a year and a half from the filing of the complaint to the Court’s sentence, which could be extended even more in the event that one of the parties files an appeal against the first sentence. In this case, the procedure would go to the Provincial Court of Barcelona and the legal costs would increase. If we win the trial and have raised more money than was spent, we will invest it in other campaigns to confront the impunity of these large energy companies that are part of the oligopoly controlling the market.
Costs derived from Goteo.org and commissions from financial entities
Expenses derived from the crowdfunding platform (5%) and financial entities for each transaction (0.8%).
Costs of the judicial procedure in the case of appeal
In the event that the procedure ends without a conviction, we will file an appeal before the Provincial Court. This scenario can also occur if there is a conviction and the denounced party appeals the sentence. This fact would again increase the costs of the procedure (expenses of the lawyer and the attorney and legal costs in the case of not being victorious). If we win the trial and have raised more money than was spent, we will invest it in other campaigns to confront the impunity of these large oligopoly companies.
|Total||€ 3.000||€ 5.000|
At the end of June 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, Yolanda, a vulnerable neighbor from Cubelles (Barcelona) receives a call on her mobile. On the other end of the phone, the person identifies herself as an official of the judiciary and warns her that if she does not pay the more than 2,000 euros that she owes to Endesa in less than a week, all accounts and income will be seized, including social benefits, from the same courts.
Yolanda, terrified at the prospect of losing the little income she has, managed to record the call and transfer its content to the Alliance against Energy Poverty (APE). After listening to the conversation and consulting with different lawyers, we uncovered the truth. The call came from DPS Consulting, a law firm and collectors company hired by Endesa to do the dirty work: harassing and intimidating families like Yolanda to pay their debts, despite knowing their situation of vulnerability.
On July 30, we filed a complaint against DPS Consulting to denounce what we have been witnessing for years: the harassment suffered by families in vulnerable situations by companies such as Endesa, which hire this type of enterprises to claim unpaid debts of electricity or gas. The facts could be constitutive of the crimes of:
- overtaking of public office,
- arbitrary realization of right itself,
The aforementioned crimes can be punished with penalties of up to three years in prison.
On October 27, the Examining Court No. 5 of Barcelona admitted the complaint for processing. When dealing with non-minor crimes, the procedure will include:
an instruction phase, which has already begun, and
the oral trial, a procedure that can take more than a year and a half.
We need support to face the costs of the procedure, which can reach € 3.000-5.000 (in the case of not ending in conviction and having to face its costs).
In the event that we win the trial and have raised more money than was spent, we will invest it in other campaigns to confront the impunity of these large oligopoly companies.
We need you to give a clear signal to companies like Endesa: we are not going to allow them to continue acting with impunity, harassing vulnerable families. Collaborate with us in putting an end to harassment by Endesa!
Main features and goals of the crowdfunding campaign
For the first time, the harassment suffered by vulnerable families for not being able to pay their electricity or gas bills is being brought to trial, practices for which Endesa is responsible, by action or omission. Companies such as Endesa subcontract alleged law firms or collection companies such as DPS Consulting that, with extremely aggressive practices, pressure families in order to collect bills on behalf of the company.
DPS Consulting is one of the companies that deals with the reimbursement claims of Endesa, as well as other large suppliers such as Naturgy or Agbar.
At the time we already reported this type of conduct to the Catalan Ombudsman. His response, in the form of a resolution of November 2018, warned of "the irregular and ethically unacceptable practices that some supply companies exercise on vulnerable persons through collection agencies", and established that "supply companies should not transfer the debt to third parties nor the claims of the debt generated by the non-payment of basic supplies of the people who have duly proven that they are in a situation of risk of residential exclusion”.
Almost a year and a half later, we once again show that these practices have not stopped, but quite the opposite: Endesa's hired collectors seek even more extreme methods to achieve their goals and mistreat families like Yolanda's.
Unfortunately, Yolanda's case is not a isolated case, but it is a very clear example of what this harassment means for thousands of vulnerable families who find themselves in the position of choosing between paying their electricity bills or filling up the fridge.
This trial has several objectives:
Prevent any collection company hired by Endesa or any other supplier from harassing vulnerable families again. It is time for companies, which consent to the practice of these actions, to stop transfering the debt of families in vulnerable situations to third parties.
Get DPS Consulting to take the appropriate criminal consequences for its harassing practices.
Why this is important
This campaign is aimed at all those people who are fed up with the impunity with which the large oligopoly companies such as Endesa operate.
If it seems unfair to you that Endesa is one of the companies that, despite the pandemic, has continued to increase its profits for another year while at the same time continuing to harass vulnerable families to claim their debts; If you are outraged that, while Endesa distributes dividends among its shareholders, there are families who are hesitating between paying their bills or filling up the fridge; if you are concerned that there are families who do not have guaranteed access to basic supplies; If you think that it is necessary to change the energy model and that electricity ceases to be a business and starts being a right; Collaborate!
This campaign is jointly promoted by Enginyeria Sense Fronteres (ESF) and the Alliance against Energy Poverty (APE).
Enginyeria Sense Fronteres (ESF)
We are an NGO for development cooperation that was born in 1992 and we work to guarantee universal access to basic supplies by actively participating in social movements such as APE. We are part of Catalan and European civil society, and as such we respond to the challenges that arise in it. Our social mass and our volunteerism give us the legitimacy to act as such.
We work to cooperate in the achievement of a just international society, that develops without excluding anyone, building and putting into practice fundamental human, economic, social and cultural, individual and collective rights throughout the world.
Given our capabilities, those rights and processes most directly related to the provision of basic utility services, and the management of resources and territory, have a special focus on our objectives.
Alliance Against Energy Poverty (APE)
We are a social movement, formed and led by people affected by this problem, which was born in 2014 to fight to guarantee universal access to basic water and energy supplies, exerting pressure on the Administration to guarantee these rights, and on large supply companies to assume their responsibility in this scourge.
From both energy and water providers and public administrations, we demand:
Universal access to water and energy. Every family, even if they cannot pay, must have guaranteed access to supplies, which allows them to live with dignity.
Stop indiscriminate disconnections. That the administrations exercise their role as guarantors of human rights and do not leave this decision to the utility companies.
That all the costs of ensuring these basic services are borne by the companies themselves with their multimillion-dollar benefits: people come first. We demand responsibilities.