April 28, 2005 at 10:46 am #51071
😡 I propose that we all get together and name and shame the agents who take the piss out of us. I bought 2 properties of a agent based in Marbella ( Irish Co) and they promised the earth. During the last one and half years they have only managed to rent the property for 2 weeks and cannot sell. They are not even trying to sell as they are more interested in off-plan. Their sales staff are so thick that I will not even employ them as cleaners in my co. I visited them in an exhibition in London and they were there selling off-plan and promising 20-30% increase in value. There should be a law in this country to stop this and also one in Spain. The article from Mark in the sunday times was shocking. Lets all do something about these agents.
April 28, 2005 at 1:33 pm #58198
Sadly your comments are only too familiar. It’s impossible to quantify how many people are in the same boat as you but I would expect it to be hundreds, probably much more
It goes without saying that there are a good number of excellent estate agents in Spain, doing their best to give a professional and ethical service to clients. The problem is that foreign buyers, with no experience of the Spanish property market, have no way of knowing a priori which agents can be trusted and which can’t. Some of the ‘problem’ agents are not so much unethical as simply incompetent (small, unprofessional agents whose staff don’t speak a word of Spanish). Other ‘problem’ agents – generally much bigger organisations – are simply out to make as much money as they can, regardless of the cost to their clients. These organisations are geared up to close sales at the expense of all other considerations and they motivate their staff to do and say whatever it takes to close a sale.
Now ask yourself this question: Do estate agents who are prepared to say whatever it takes to close a sale make more sales than ethical agents who don’t put clients under any pressure and try to give a balanced picture? OF COURSE THEY DO! Which means that aggressive agents earn more money more quickly than ethical ones do, which gives them bigger marketing budgets and therefore more clients. Unethical agents have a competitive advantage and ethical agents can struggle to compete in this environment.
However the good news is that things are beginning to change. The Sunday Times Homes Section in particular has been very good at exposing the sharp practises of some agents and developers in Spain. And then there’s the internet. Forums like this and internet sites that put clients in touch with one another will force estate agents to build good reputations if they want to stay in business. Satisfied clients build good reputations and furious clients, like you, help destroy them. The internet is helping to spread information quickly and widely, and I would go so far as to say that in the future, reputations will become the most important asset that an estate agent can have.
I think there is one other important aspect to all this that needs to be pointed out. Buyers like you have not helped the situation by being, lets face it, a bit naïve. The world is full of dodgy salesman, always has been, always will be, and we all know that. They are selling pension funds, ‘Independent’ financial advice, ‘hot’ stocks, 2nd hand cars, basically everything under the sun and yes, Spanish property too. And in a business like this one that is 1) poorly regulated 2) unfamiliar ground for buyers and 3) very lucrative, you have to expect your fair share of Delboys. There’s big, big money to be made selling Spanish property to naïve foreign buyers who have no reliable sources of information (other than Spanish Property Insight of course!) so unethical salesmen are in their element. Caveat emptor in this business and buyers have to shoulder their part of the blame for allowing themselves to fall for slippery sales techniques that they probably wouldn’t fall for at home.
April 29, 2005 at 1:23 pm #58201
Hopefully you’ve read about my experiences and those of others with the agent in P. Banus mentioned in the latest Sunday Times article. Like you I think it would be great to name them somehow rather like http://www.crimeshare.com who have a blacklist of ‘crooks’. I agree with mark though about the approach as some would use the forum for their own ‘plug’ so to speak. Mark’s done a great job setting up this website and it now seems that lots of people know about it so spreading the word is growing so to speak. In time pressure by Mark and others as a result of ‘feedback’ will be beneficial, but we could also pressurise the Spanish Govt. either in Spain or in London. You could phone Snr. Francisco L. de Arinoso at the Spanish Embassy say on 0207 2015534, or go to http://www.mir.es website which is Spain’s Ministry of Interior and leave an email maybe especially if you think you’ve been ‘conned’ by an agent.
Maybe even leave a story with http://www.bbc.co.uk/realstory.
Keep at it, as it’s time to clean the ‘dodgy’ dealers up.
May 3, 2005 at 10:02 am #58205
Thanks for the websites info. I still do not understand why we cannot name these agents on the forums. Mark should create a website for black listing them.
May 7, 2005 at 6:03 pm #58237
I don’t think it’s such a god idea to name and shame on a forum. The Sur forum has degenerated into farce as one unsubstanciated claim after another appears. Some of these people may well be working for rival agencies who want to discredit their competitors.
I think it better to invite comments privately by email and if 5 or more independent complaints are made of the same company it could be published with details of the complaint
May 7, 2005 at 7:25 pm #58238
I have to agree with you PJA,
The desire to name and shame is understandable, given the way some agents and developers behave, though clients have to bear their share of the blame for being so naïve. The hucksters are quite easy to spot when you get up close.
So far the rules have been you can’t mention companies by name, be it in praise or damnation. The main reason being that when you allow name-calling it quickly degenerates into a farce, as you quite rightly point out. It undermines the value of the forum and dilutes the content. Also it seems that the most active participants in name-calling are the agents themselves, often pretending to be either satisfied or dissatisfied clients.
Then there is the fact that we don’t want people publicly accusing companies of wrongdoing from a position of anonymity and without the facts being available to check. Reputations can be damaged and companies do have a right to a ‘fair trial’, at this website at least.
But on the other hand something has to be done about the impunity with which a bunch of hucksters go about mis-selling property in Spain. They flourish in this business of one-off sales where repeat business isn’t important, and because geographically disperse buyers make life easier for them too.
The internet goes some way to putting buyers in touch with one another and we can see that forums are the perfect medium for ‘client revenge’. This will help to expose the worst offenders. But it is open to abuse so we need a more elegant solution that enables clients to find the best companies and avoid the hucksters.
It needs to be fair to companies whilst protecting potential customers from the sharks. In the property business even the best companies have some miffed clients. The sale of property can be stressful, emotional and complicated, and clients themselves can be unreasonable from time to time, denouncing companies when the fault may lie with them. The trick is to identify the companies that habitually mis-sell or swindle and not clobber essentially good ones that have the odd problem with a client.
May 11, 2005 at 12:52 pm #58249
Regarding naming and shaming.
I for one would appreciate a list of rogue agents (after all forwarned is forearmed) and I’m sure if I had been ‘wrong done by’ I would be keen to blacklist a guilty party.
However after reading the following 2 articles I realise how potentially libelous and costly this could be:
Perhaps this will help us to understand why Mark is reluctant to name and shame. I check this forum everyday and find it a sensible source of factual information and I would hate to lose it in any way.
May 12, 2005 at 10:45 am #58250
May 13, 2005 at 6:15 pm #58257
May 30, 2005 at 7:07 pm #58306
There is a website that has started a blacklist of some companies.
May 31, 2005 at 8:38 am #58307
I´m afraid the above link leads to yet another estate agent plying his wares, with the only assurance for clients that HE has vetted any associate agents, which doesn´t do very much for my peace of mind.
May 31, 2005 at 2:52 pm #58312
Yes, I arrived at the same conclusion. Fishy.
May 31, 2005 at 8:10 pm #58314
Me too, and I’m new at this game !!
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