Is it worth approaching Watchdog or another TV programme?

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Anonymous Anonymous 10 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #51781
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi
    Now the new version of the POT plan for Axarquia has been published and agreed by the mayors, it seems that our house (and several others) are in protected land.

    We have been waiting and waiting for the town hall to show us their plan, in which they promise that our houses will be legalised. They now say that the area shown on the POT plan is only a small portion of a very large map and the lines may not be straight, they could go around our houses. This has been going on for over a year now, and we have now been told to wait until 21st December!

    We have paid all the money asked for by the town hall for our building licences and have an electricity contract, gas contract and telephone. What we don’t have is a building licence.

    I don’t want to be on TV but wonder whether the publicity would help or hinder our cause.

    As we are now very keen to sell our house, (ha ha) and move back to the UK, this waiting is getting very frustrating. Each time we speak to the town hall officials they say “tranquilo”, why are you worrying? etc. etc.

    We have been advised not to upset them by bringing in publicity, but we are very annoyed that we have been conned in this way. In fact the town hall were the original instigators in encouraging people to build houses in the area. At the time I don’t think it was protected land, but it was certainly rustic.

  • #61998
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Last week, Watchdog approached Mark(administrator) and he in turn contacted me to do an “on camera” interview with the Watchdog team. They were filming in Malaga yesterday(6th May). I believe Mark was interviewed, as was our “group” Lawyer. I was unable to fly out to Malaga at short notice. I am being interviewed by two other TV programs, one BBC and the other Granada.

    My husband was concerned about this as were a few other members of our group, but I was assured by an independent ex TV producer that it is the responsibility of the broadcasting company to have their lawyers check out the content of the program before it is aired. Therefore I would not get into any legal trouble!

    I have done a local radio interview, but on that occasion I did NOT name names! 🙁 This in turn lead to other people contacting me. I am all for highlighting not just our development problems but also the general situation around Marbella. I hope I can help others, by telling of our own experiences with ESTATE AGENTS, LAWYERS & DEVELOPERS 😈

    I know Mark would have given a” fair ” appraisal of the situation that many of us here have experienced. The program will go out this Tuesday at 7pm.BBC 1

    😀 😀 😀 😀

  • #61999
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @arabrab wrote:

    In fact the town hall were the original instigators in encouraging people to build houses in the area. At the time I don’t think it was protected land, but it was certainly rustic.

    Umm building (house/villa) on rustic land is strictly forbidden and may be demolished, a Town Hall cannot possibly encourage you to do this in any way. I’m sure they never left a trace of this encouragement in a written document.

  • #62003
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Well we have receipts for the monies paid for licences, starting in 2001, a request for a licence for the swimming pool in 2004, (although it was built in 2003) and a receipt for payment. Documents requesting further money in order to facilitate a bulding licence. A document from the town hall addressed to Sevillana saying that we have paid all our licences and taxes and that the town hall have no problem with us.

    They have a large file on us in the town hall, including our architect’s final certificate, and they came round and measured the house etc.

    I understand what you say, and the risk of being pulled down. This is why we are not sure whether to wait and go with the flow, or do something more proactive.

  • #62013
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @arabrab wrote:

    Well we have receipts for the monies paid for licences, starting in 2001, a request for a licence for the swimming pool in 2004, (although it was built in 2003) and a receipt for payment. Documents requesting further money in order to facilitate a bulding licence.

    Paying money for the licence application and receiving receipts is one thing (well 2 actually) but surely you are not supposed to start building until your application is processed and approved and the licence is in your hands? I would say your architect was negligent in letting building commence…

  • #62032
    Profile photo of mariadecastro
    mariadecastro
    Participant

    In the field of appeals against the Administration:

    You can have a judicial administrative appeal once you have a definitive written decision on the License. I very much rely on judicial administrative appeals for these cases.

    Let them know that your lawyer has advised to sue them or at least let them know first that you know what liabilities they have got as an administrative body.

    If you don´t have a written final decission on License you can go to an internal administrative appeal, so they will take your case more seriously.

    Best,

  • #62034
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    katy
    Spectator

    Can’t this sort of case go to the Defensor del pueblo?

  • #62038
    Profile photo of mariadecastro
    mariadecastro
    Participant

    I wouldn´t go to Defensor del Pueblo in a case like this. I would go to the Admnistrative Courts.

    Best,

  • #62039
    Profile photo of Paul
    Paul
    Participant

    Claire. I look forward to the Watchdog programme with interest, and, if legally certain scammers can be named then serves them right, it’s another step forward to cleaning up the Costas’ property scams, whilst warning others who could fall for their lies!

  • #62237
    Profile photo of JohnH
    JohnH
    Participant

    Claire,

    I have to get this off my chest once and for all. I have kept a close eye on this forum and am shocked by how much you are all over it. Almost every post, you have a comment (usually negative) to make, your responses are obviously emotional which is not a sound basis on which to give advice to genuine people needing assistance.

    I get the gist that you have had a bad experience of buying property on the Costa del Sol which is bad for you and you are probably owed money but you have to stop inflicting your bitterness onto everyone else.

    Yes I am an estate agent and proud of my small company. I am honest, not greedy and I take care of my customers. Yes there are some terrible agents here and they need getting rid of but what you are doing is so wrong.

    , how can you go on all these TV programmes and radio stations slating the industry in general, you’re basically robbing us honest agents from trying to earn a bloody living. Do you now think people are going to get sick of your face and bored with your repetative moaning?!! What concerns me the most, is that you’re going on prime TV, attempting to give advice to the general public when you are not even qualified….you got a bad deal with the agent you used and that’s where your experience stops, your lawyer should be helping you with your situation.

    There are many success stories to be shouted about but people like you are infusing the destruction of an honest man’s living. STOP NOW, how would you like it if someone tried to stop you from earning a living, although with the amout of times you are on this forum you probably don’t even have a job.

  • #62238
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Watched the Watchdog programme. Very disappointing and not very informative. Have had experience of using this course of action myself against a large UK builder. Same result – different country – although they did name names.

    The Spanish now seem to be taking the bull by the horns. At least around the Marbella area – we should be happy about that – let’s give them the credit for this – and say so!

    In all countries there needs to be a clear framework setting out the process of buying and selling property. There are now many books available about buying in Spain (including those highlighted on the Resources section of this site.) More people should read them. I suspect that translating the idea of having a dream holiday home is often done with the heart – not the head! Buyers who make decisions whilst on holiday in the sun, and in holiday mood are perhaps more likely to fall easy prey to the “shark” agents and developers.

    In the current market – we should all be steering clear of “off-plan” speculation buying – selling on in this scenario seems dead in the water at the moment.

  • #62239
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    John H

    I hope your chest is feeling better. Pity you haven’t got your facts right. But hey…that’s usual in REA jargon isn’t it?

    I’m flattered that you should think that I alone could have such an impact on Joe Public. Sadly not. 😉

  • #62240
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi I would just like to write in defence of Claire who I know is speaking for quite a number of us who now correspond with each other out with this forum. I would point out that very few of us bought whilst on holiday in the sun our purchase was a considered one especially as for many of us it involved either re-mortgaging our uk property or borrowing by other means a very large amount of money to enable us to pay a deposit. ( a very large percentage of which went to line the pockets of estate agents) I am certain there are reputable estate agents however that is not our experience all we want is to be treated fairly and to get our money back after 3 years of waiting. Claire has every right to be bitter and I am grateful to her for her contributions to this forum as it provides therapy at the very least for those in a similar situation and we don’t feel so helpless and alone. The offensive nature of your posting does nothing to change my negative feelings about many who work in you profession if anything it reinforces them

  • #62242
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi JohnD, What most of us are upset about is that these “big companies” promise to look after your interests and when it comes to off plans, sell them for you before completion. One couple on this forum was talked in to putting all their equity into two off plans with all the promises that went with it. Now they are faced with losing all that. You may say that it is their own fault and serve them right for being so gullable, but it is not that simple! These salesmen are higlhy trained and when it comes to the crunch, they are nowhere to be seen. I think people have the right to feel deeply upset, don´t you? How would you feel?I don´t think anybody here has had any problems with small decent estate agents. I, for one, has bought property from small estate agents and had wonderful service and after sales service from them. They all have been wonderful. I have not heard Claire critisising any small businesses, it is the behaviour of some of the big companies that we all want to expose. I would be very suprised if a small company would behave in this way.

  • #62243
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Don’t forget that many small agents have set up after working for the big ones and have the same practices. A few from Interealty have set up and others have worked for Viva, there’s probably a small one that used to work for OE. Some small agents have opened after being in the country only a few months, don’t speak spanish and know little about the systems here.

  • #62244
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I would also like to defend Claire.

    Her posts have been informative with lots of good advice , she says it as it is.
    Lots more people I think would have fallen for the fancy flowery rubbish given to purchasers with these large companies if it hadn’t been for Claire and this site pointing out the pitfalls.

    There are good agents out there we know that. But hundreds of people have been caught by unscrupulous builders agents and disappointingly solicitors. Why do these people need to deceive ? Greed maybe!
    I myself have been subject to this , a house I can’t live in because of licences etc and much more . Almost everyone I have known buying property has had so much grief . Please lets hear from those who have sailed through their buying process without problems.

    It will give us doubting thomas’s a boost to know there could be a light at the end of the tunnel and its not all bad.

    Everyone needs someone to fight a cause and Claire has fought for many.

    Axwhale

  • #62246
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thank you all sooo much for your support 🙂

    Whilst I am happy to share the information with people that I have learned from this forum, from Drakan, Cesar Jose Maria Sanchez and lately Maria, and all of you I often say in my post IMO, in my opinion, IME, in my experience. We all learn from each other and my husband & I are so grateful for this forum in that it has enabled us to meet others in a like situation and we can share experiences. That is what a forum is all about. Before finding SPI, we had no idea about the problems with building licences etc.
    Believe me, I am actually quite a private person “outside this situation!! I’m a Cancarian and like my sign I’m shy until provoked and then I’ll bite and not let go until I’m ready!! 🙂 I am amazed myself at the number of posts, but I have used this site for over a year now. Come September I hope all will be resolved.

    Claire

    I do feel very sorry for the good, honest people out there trying to make a living. They could help themselves by doing something to get REA regulated and have a code of conduct.

  • #62247
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi Katy, With small agents I meant local, well known, established estate agents that have been here for a long time. I know the ones you mean though. Axwhale, the house I live in I bought from a local agent and from start to finish everything went like clockwork. My mistake was to get involved with the big companies!! 😳

  • #62248
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    JohnH Your posting, in my opinion, is offensive and unjustified. I am one of the group who is in touch with Claire outside of this forum, another who has suffered at the hands of a greedy estate agent who doesn’t want to know once things go wrong. We used a small agency who got a very large commission. When problems with the licence for our development arose and it was obviously never going to be built, we contacted the agency to see if they could could be of any help (before we found this forum and joined up with ‘Claire’s group’ we were in the dark). Their response in summary “come out again and we will show you some other developments you might want to buy into if you get your money back !!??”. I agree that there are good small estate agents out there but just because they are small doesn’t make them good !!

    Two specific things you said to Claire, I want to mention :

    Quote:
    your responses are obviously emotional which is not a sound basis on which to give advice to genuine people needing assistance.

    Quote:

    YOUR posting is nothing if not emotional but that is not something I would condemn you for – it’s the way normal people react if they feel they have been unfairly treated.

    Quote:
    Yes there are some terrible agents here and they need getting rid of but what you are doing is so wrong. [quote]”
    Well what are YOU and other small honest agents doing to get rid of the ‘terrible’ agents – I would have thought it would be in your interest. At least Claire is doing something !!

    Personal insults are not the way to achieve anything and do nothing to enhance the reputation of good small agents of which you say you are one. Those of us involved in buying in the CDS want nothing more than to be able to trust an agent we are dealing with, confident that we are being given the full facts, that the agent has our best interests at heart and that if something goes wrong they will be there to support us – is this too much to ask ? Unfortunately dealing with large agents this has not been the experience of most people on this forum. Maybe the small, independent agents need to form their own group with their own code of ethics, distance themselves from the big boys and advertise this fact. Agents, buyers and sellers would all benefit from this.

    So, John, instead of castigating Claire, maybe you should be grateful at what she has stirred up and use it as a springboard to launch such a group – you would be surprised at the support you would get from all of us buyers who have been stung by those who have made a bad joke of your industry !

  • #62251
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Well Claire you certainly hit a nerve with JohnH – he obviously thinks you are having an impact! Keep up the good work.

  • #62252
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I am a Spanish estate agent and an important part of my income comes from finding villas for British buyers.

    I do believe that many buyers who come unstuck are at least partly to blame for not having done their homework and having naively placed their confidence in a smooth talking salesman.

    However, I am sure that without whistleblowers like Claire there would be even more fraudulent builders and agents. Claire is clearly on a mission but the advise she offers in her emails is invariably sensible and astute.

    John – the problem is not that people like Claire are giving us and the Spanish coast a bad name. No, the real problem is that honest agents are not doing enough to name, shame, and regulate the bad agents.

    We tend to shrug our shoulders when we hear examples of malpractice and fraud. Yet, we are also the victims because we will all be eventually tarred with the same brush.

    So John… before criticising Claire – perhaps it is worth asking yourself what you personally have done to protect our reputations and future. It is question all agents should be asking themselves.

  • #62253
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @johnh wrote:

    Claire,

    with the amout of times you are on this forum you probably don’t even have a job.

    And the problem with not having a job is ……………. ?

  • #62281
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello every one
    I have just found your forum as I usually use another one. It has been of great intrest reading all your postings. Like some of you I have been buying on an off plan develpment for the past three years and have had nothing but trouble. We brought through an estate agents in the UK and it was only when we arrived in Almeria that we discovered that we had been passed on to a bigger company. The completion date we were given in 2003 was 18 months, house in Uk sold so that the money was ready to complete with. Then we were given another 8 months and so and so on, the development still not finished and the bit that has been, some have completed without water and electricty. The whole thing is a mess and quite a few of us feel as if we are banging our heads against a brick wall and have no idea were to turn to for help. We too wanted to get in touch with watch dog, but when we go on online we have had no luck.
    If anyone has any idea about what we can do we would all be really grateful as we are all terrible upset, and this year work has not started again, so it looks as if we will all be going into yet another year. 🙁

  • #62323
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    Paul
    Participant

    Claire, I totally support you regarding your posts, as you know I had the same vitriole from an agent or two because of my constant warnings to others about Awful and their lawyers.

    Keep at it, it really does help many people learn of the pitfalls and ‘who’ to avoid.

    Paul

  • #62328
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks Paul! 🙂

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