RTE News report on Costa del Sol property pains

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  • #51571
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    Very interesting report from RTE news in Ireland. Nice summary of the usual problems people experience when buying from all the wrong people on the Costa del Sol. The usual suspects are fingered. Their names always crop up when there’s trouble afoot.


    RTE News: Oonagh Smith reports on difficulties faced by inexperienced property buyers in Spain

    You need realplayer to watch it.

    Mark

  • #60961
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    Well….I am utterly gobsmacked!

    I cannot believe that there is another European country that comes any where near Spain in the corruption stakes. It is so widespread, and my “favourite” 😈 Estate Agent is at the forefront of it all. I am actually speechless. It was like seeing our experience with them replayed, almost verbatim.

    What is also disgusting is that the lawyer says Spain’s consumer protection is “very good, but not implemented” 🙄 It appears to be the case that no law is implemented when it comes to property development. What the h*** good is a consumer protection if it does diddly squat to protect the consumer!!!

    I really think many of us from this forum would be doing a public service to front a similar report on UK television. Mark, do you know how we could instigate it. Does anyone have any contacts that would be interested in doing a report based on our experiences?

  • #60962
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    Excellent report, thanks Mark.

    I had the impression reporting on these problems was unpopular, Claire, possibly because there is a whole daytime tv industry etc telling you to go buy in Spain. I guess I got cynical.

    Don’t forget it’s not just open plan buyers that have problems. My solicitor did not have the paperwork ready after a year for one sale, the sale fell thru, but only after the buyer said she was very rude to him at the signing.( I have his written account)she very nearly did the same again. The amount she has deducted for both sales is scandalous. She has sent me the most horrendous personal abuse, and sent me abuse about the buyer and on and on.

    It’s clear she believes I have no recourse, it seems correctly, you have to have lost a lot of money before suing becomes worthwhile-and the complaints procedure is a nonsense.

  • #60971
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    Thanks for that link Mark.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the oft mentioned agent we know as ‘Awful Estates’ always shows up in pole position.

    I agree with Claire about getting this on tv on primetime if possible, any contacts in that area?

    The naming and shaming route will be the only way to clean up the cowboys.

  • #60972
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    Would “BBC Watchdog” be interested? I had some success with them in “naming and shaming” a UK builder!

  • #60973
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    We could try. I guess we would need to contact the BBC. Hmmm! 😕

    HI BRAMBLED:

    In our case the developers have had over £96,000 of our money for 2 1/2 years +7,000 euros that the lawyers had up front for doing nothing beyond signing a purchase contract as nothing was ever built!! In the case of Sophia, the developers have £100,000. That’s just from two apartments!! I think 56 apartments should have been built. In my book, that IS a great deal of money!! I think we must have financed the lower blocks on the development that were built and those blocks are now revoked!! We are thought of as free money , IMO.

  • #60977
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    Hi Claire hadnt meant to say that you hadnt lost a great deal. I understand people have lost oodles of money,but there seems to be no comeback in Spanish law unless you can sue for a substantial sum of money.

    My mum also lost a great deal, in that I think management and lawyers costs swallowed all of the 95k price of the flat in the 8 years it took to have the UK power of attorney drawn up and then(UK power not the same as the Spanish power of attorney granted to your lawyers in your absence, this was granted because Mum was too ill to manage her own affairs) recognised in Spain. I understand with a competent lawyer it could have taken 24 hours to get legalised translations of the relevant documents. I even thought about giving the property away, but apparently a deed of gift would have been tougher then selling it, (wealth tax etc made it a drain on mums income all those years)But no single lawyer was responsible for all of that loss The lawyer who handled the job for the last year, eighteen months, only charged about a third of the sale price, but all the same far more then the overcharging, her conduct was unacceptable, her abuse of me ,the buyer,even my mother,and her total indifference to my mothers interest. This final year or two has felt like a sustained rape, and has had an enormous affect on my health. And certainly at this juncture, I had a good idea of what needed to be done, my lawyer just was not doing it!

    The first five years were due to incompetence and shilly shallying in the Uk, but the English and Welsh law society says you must answer clients, explain what’s happening clearly. They appear to warn lawyers that they are not happy about dealing with complaints that have mostly arisen because the solicitor can’t be bothered to communicate with the clients. Both my uk lawyers did write polite excuse letters over the years with some attempt mede to make the excuse consistent. One withdrew her bill completely, the other issued a partial apology and docked their bill- even so I would have taken this to the law society had not my Spanish solicitors started to take up all my spare time.

    The Spanish solicitors were also incompetent in both cases, in addition seemed to assume that I was a difficult customer from the word go(after accepting the brief, of course) if only because the previous five years could not possibly be a solicitors fault. They also billed extra for work arising pretty clearly from their own incompetence.

    They didnt answer emails, except for the last who would as I have said answer sometimes with abuse. They felt no shame on breaking payment agreements, losing legal documents, (one legal translation was made at mum’s expense three times!), or sending information inconsistent with other information they had given(by that I guess I mean open lying).

    The coinfidence of the property industry aimed at expats in their untouchability is such that my second set of agents handed me accounts printed on the back of what appeared to be another customers or possibly another agents complaint letter accusing them of unprofessional behaviour. (The complaint does have the writers telephone number on the letter, so if a reporter was interested in following this up- could provide)I can’t imagine that you become so inured to complaints that you become that casual about them anywhere but in Spain!

    I do think those of you buying in Spain need to think of the nightmare handed to relatives who end up having to sort your affairs in an unfamiliar country if you become ill. Especially a country where foreigners have so little protection or sympathy.

    Sorry ranty, I know but solicitors have eaten both my life and my memories of my parents pre- dementia, and it’s not over yet- there’s this plot of land my solicitor still has the deeds to-

  • #60981
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    Hi Brambled,

    You really have gone through the mill!

    A great friend of ours who is a Charterd Accountant & Tax expert, has spent over 3 years trying to get probate of his Aunts estate. She lived in Spain for many years and her affairs were in order. She has a daughter who lives in the UK. I believe her estate was quite complicated as she had shares and investments etc. Our friend said that every which way that he turned the Bank would constantly come up with yet another piece of paper that they had to have! Our friend had been her accountant for years and he is the executor of her will, so he knew every detail of her estate and that it was all in order. He speaks Spanish as he lived in Argentina until his teens, so the language is not a barrier. He told us recently that they( the Bank) said they needed bank statements going back ? so many years but in Spain they only keep them for , I think he said, 3 years. Another ploy by them not to hand over her money! Our friend said” no problem. I have all of her statements” Her daughter is still waiting for the probate to come through. !!

    I really hope you can see light at the end of the tunnel soon.

    Best Wishes, Claire.

  • #60983
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    It may have been done in June 2005, but it is still relevant today. I was talking to somebody today who bought on the Alcaidesa development and the situation remains the same. At least we have a bank guarantee to fall back on.( I hope & pray) 🙁 which is more than those people have. 😥

  • #60984
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    With more and more licences being revoked, the situation can only have deteriated since the programme was made.
    For me, when exactly the programme was made (3 months ago, 6 months ago whatever) is irrelevent.
    The importance of it for me is that slowly the corruption is being exposed so hopefully people will go out to Spain with the knowledge that they mustn’t take everyone’s word at face value (i.e. the agents and developers……and some lawyers??) – but to check everything very thoroughly.

    And if the SITE model and brochure has a pool and seaview, but the contract has a clause where the developer can change the plans/spec etc. – DON’T BUY.

    Personally, I would not sign another Spanish contract EVER unless it had a clause that stated if the developer is in breach of contract/fails to build the development, one finger per month must be amputated until he returns my money.
    Sitting on £100,000 since July 2003, not building anything, and not returning our money (unless we accepted its return without any interest!?!) is not acceptable.

    I think if the law changed to make the legal interest payable in a Bank Guarantee at least one and a half % over the bank lending rate, it might just stop developers looking at taking deposits on off-plan developments a cheap way of borrowing.
    The current rate of legal interest in a Bank Guarantee makes for cheap borrowing for a developer and only encourages this scam.

    The three directors of my and Claire’s development co. are sitting on over £6 million of deposits since 2003 ……I wish I knew a couple of London nightclub bouncers who fancied a little ‘moonlighting’ to Spain…… 👿

  • #60988
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    Hi Mark,

    3 wind-up posters here having a pop again ( disgruntled employees of said agent), you can recognise the posts quite easily, just be assured that they are nothing to do with me. Being exposed in the media so often doesn’t sit comfortably with their image on the Coast, simple solution, clean things up and look after clients instead of misleading them!

  • #60989
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    Thanks for your sympathy Claire. I have heard other stories of probate difficulties-

    Paul, I am not sure what you mean by wind up posters- can you clarify- because otherwise people might think posts in these threads are not genuine?

  • #60990
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    Brambled, Hi.

    Paul made a post, then some saddo made two more posts using Paul’s surname for the second post and “is crazy” for the consecutive 3rd post. Treat it with the contempt it deserves.

    Paul along with myself and many ,many people find the “modus opperandi” of Awful Estates morally repugnant, as “Mellisa” recounted in the news report.

    Actually this edited post is to say that the saddo made all 3 posts. The Genuine Paul made none of them. Probably an O Estates employee.

  • #60991
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    Oh, yes, obvious. even if I didnt know Paul’s surname.sorry.

    My sympathies. Paul.

    But I think logging on with a false id loses your tormentors the argument!

    🙄

  • #60992
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    Hi Claire and brambled,

    Thanks Claire for pointing out the sad person trying to mimic me and sometimes Guest. ‘She’ has done this before on another site under various guises like ‘better things to do’ etc before being rumbled.

    She hasn’t the bottle to post under her true identity, but sits in her ‘awful’ offices with her mates posting dribble, she once thought I was John Arlidge who writes for the S. Times. Shows how business must have slowed for them.

    But being a bit slow, each time they post, brings Mark’s link back to the top for others to click on to see the tv prog exposing them.

    I’ve lost count of the times they’ve been exposed in the Press and tv, must be double figures now.

    But hey ho here’s a good link again:

    http://property.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,14052-1260342.html

    there’s plenty more like that.

  • #60993
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    Hi Paul

    Considering “off plan” properties in Spain, new to this board so would really appreciate any other links you can provide to assist potential buyers like me.

    Many thanks

  • #60994
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    @paul ( the genuine one) wrote:

    Hi Claire and brambled,

    Thanks Claire for pointing out the sad person trying to mimic me and sometimes Guest. ‘She’ has done this before on another site under various guises like ‘better things to do’ etc before being rumbled.

    She hasn’t the bottle to post under her true identity, but sits in her ‘awful’ offices with her mates posting dribble, she once thought I was John Arlidge who writes for the S. Times. Shows how business must have slowed for them.

    But being a bit slow, each time they post, brings Mark’s link back to the top for others to click on to see the tv prog exposing them.

    I’ve lost count of the times they’ve been exposed in the Press and tv, must be double figures now.

    But hey ho here’s a good link again:

    http://property.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,14052-1260342.html

    there’s plenty more like that.

    Excellent article, sounds like this outfit is as good as the superior estate agent in Bristol I had the misfortune to deal with. This is 2 companies I will stay well clear of in future.

  • #60995
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    @anonymous wrote:

    Hi Paul

    Considering “off plan” properties in Spain, new to this board so would really appreciate any other links you can provide to assist potential buyers like me.

    Many thanks

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………..
    My advice re. buying off-plan is “don’t”.

    At the moment there is so much uncertainty re. suspect building licences (obtained with a nod and a wink and a stuffed brown envelope), approved building licences suddenly being suspended, an on-going row between the Junta and the Town Hall with bl’s being caught up in the middle, etc.
    Off-plan properties are a ‘minefield’ risk.

    Imperative you have an ‘independent’ lawyer – connected IN NO WAY with the developer or the agent, who will look at any contract with YOUR best interests at heart, and who will fight your corner over any illegal clauses.
    And most important of all, if you pay any deposits and sign a contract – make sure you get a Bank Guarantee, and that the date ties in with the contract.

    There is such a glut of re-sales of off-plans at the moment with everyone ‘jumping ship’ (a figure of over 8+thousand 2 bed appts. in Costa del Sol alone), so even though it is a buyer’s market, remember a bargain is not a bargain if it is a white elephant – as my Nana used to say! 😉

    Make sure you see the t.v. item Mark posted at the beginning of this thread. That will at least steer you clear of 2 of the biggest rogue agents on the costa del Sol.
    Also read the link given by Paul (the genuine one) posted today at 10.34am – it will give you a very good insight, straight from someone who knows, on how a certain agent operates (but I ‘suspect’ there are others who operate the same way).

    There are a lot of heartbreaking stories on this forum, where people have paid money for an off-plan appartment, then it either got stopped halfway or never got built at all, and years later people are still fighting to get their money back. Or the size built isn’t what it should be, or a pool isn’t built like in the brochure, and so it goes on.
    It is not like the U>K> where most problems can be addressed more easily.
    Spend some time reading some of the threads on this brilliant forum – it will be time well spent and you will learn an invaluable amount.

  • #60996
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    Absolutely stay well clear of OE.

    With regards to people posting “in Disguise” Mark can see where each post comes from. So whatever guise you want to use, if you post under 1, 2, 3, different names but use the same email address, he can see that.

  • #60999
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    Thanks, Genuine Paul.

    It was an eyeopening article. I was surprised by the first line, there’s fairy tales about tax dodges? How kids have changed!

    The agents reveal of sales techniques and post sales complaint management was gripping stuff .My Mum’s agents for 30 years,were certainly using the’put on hands free’-

    But I am a bit confused – the lady in this article was exposing her employers – and these employers are the same people that have swindled you? Is that right?

    Back to fairy stories-

    Imagine there was a young person who had worked for a firm for some years that was running into a corruption scandal, that person might think she can kiss goodbye to her future employment prospects, and there would be only one way to tackle that-by whistleblowing-

    Why would that young person having seen the light of honesty ,backslide and impersonate a swindled customer simply to annoy- there is no sense in it?

    Please Ignore this if you want to Paul, I am way too nosy for my own good-or anyone elses, probably-
    😯

  • #61001
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    Hi Brambled,

    “Swindled” is the wrong word to use. Mislead, lied, deceived,…are more appropriate. If the developer of the apartment we were supposed to have had built is to believed, then these agents were paid in commission £ 45,000 of our money! Our apartment has never been built. When we asked them to help us, speak to the developer they did not. They say they “Care about their clients” Huh!! They certainly do not. Their sales method is, to say the least, disgusting. My husband & I have first hand experience. If I had the time and could be bothered, I could write a long post about these agents…. They have taken up enough of our time…and money 😈 😈 😈

  • #61004
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    Hi Claire,

    I think I just misread Paul’s post. I thought he was saying that the nuisance poster was the interviewee, but he just meant a work colleague of hers didnt he?

    So on that mistaken premise my question was why was the whistleblower back running with the pack?

    And I should learn anyway, I keep wanting to work out motives for my solic itors it just doesnt work- it’s unexplainable – you just end up coming up with absurd conspiracy theories.

    I hope you get some satisfaction soon.

  • #61028
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    Thanks Mark for deleting the impersonator and her comments re the RTE programme.

    Brambled, I’m sure young Hayley who worked for OE did everyone a great service in exposing their tactics, there are several other links to mis-selling by them if you type in their name on the Sunday Times website, the Mail on Sunday etc, plus http://www.blagger.com.

    What the RTE tv programme link showed is that they are still mis-selling despite the many exposes, it’s a pity that Spain’s estate agent bodies etc don’t remove them from operating.

  • #61029
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    Hi Guest

    Forgot to answer you but here’s another link to click on to:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1582327.html

    Also try the S. Times homepage and the Mail on Sunday for other links and the RTE programme that Mark posted at the beginning of this link.

    Be careful though if you are new and this site has many excellent postings re advice on agents, developers and lawyers (who to avoid etc)

  • #61080
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    Have just managed to watch the whole RTEprogramme and what a surprise. When asked about the Developer of Seagolf, OE’s Chairman said they were a reputable company building all over Spain, yet he ‘could not’ name any other development of theirs.

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