April 8, 2005 at 4:08 pm #51057AnonymousParticipant
I also want to make a point about OAP’s getting ripped off by an estate agent in Spain.
On the 18th October 2004 my partner and l flew to the sunny shores of Alicante, Spain to chose a small apartment to enjoy our latter years of life. Two company representatives, Mandy and Wayne met us at the airport. They were absolutely brilliant. They wined and dined us so much that we needed to get bigger clothes size on our arrival back home. They showed us all of the prospective areas, houses nearest to amenities that we would require. Showed us the beaches, restaurants, shops and beautiful houses.
On our third day we had fallen in love with a wonderful resale house in Jardin Del Mar on the outskirts of Torrevieja. It had everything we needed to move straight in. Furniture, linen, crockery, cutlery, bedding, lamps, cushions, cooking utensils, and pictures on all walls. It was a five-minute walk from the Hypermarket and a newly opened shopping complex that had all the modern day shops. It was out of this world. As this property was the last one to be shown to us. Wayne and Mandy stated that “What you see is what you get”. The price was lowered slightly which made it an ideal purchase. We decided that we would place a deposit on it the next day.
We went back to our hotel, sat on the terrace to celebrate our new home in Spain and to discuss what we could do with it whilst we were back in the UK. We decided that as it was fully furnished, we could rent it out long term so that the rent paid would pay the mortgage. Having decided that we went to Playa Flamenca Beach to join our friends from home and celebrate the new house.
The next day we signed for the house, which was a resale and placed £10,000 down on it. We were still told “What we saw we would get”. We then signed the paperwork. The next day we flew home really happy. We could have flown home with out the aircraft. We were that high.
In November we started to make preparations to fly out to finish our purchase. We decided to make it a week stay instead of the 4 days required to complete the deal. I went onto the Internet and looked for local accommodation around the area where we had purchased. I found 2 prospective apartments each charging 100 Euro for the week. We e-mailed them stating that we were purchasing ourselves and the dates required. On the confirmation of a booking, an e-mail conversation took place where by they asked where we were moving into. We informed them Jardin Del Mar. By return e-mail we were informed “Don’t move into there it is suffering from Subsidence”. I asked for confirmation on this and was duly informed that their solicitor and housekeeper had told them. I then wrote to the estate agents and asked them if they had heard of this problem. I did not get a reply. I phoned Wayne and Mandy Christmas day mainly to wish them Glad Tidings. They did not respond to my innocent remark.
Just after Christmas a family crisis happened. Due to work commitments, this trip had to be put back a month. The company were contacted and informed of this crisis. They informed me that when l had the new flights booked to inform them and we would be met at the airport and conveyed to a hotel. I informed them that l had accommodation for a week. They then informed me that as l was signing the papers the accommodation would be free for four days. I agreed to there offer and cancelled the apartment. We were to pay three nights. We then booked flights for the 11th March 2005.
On Friday 11th March 2005 we arrived at Alicante Airport and met by Martin – a company rep. He drove us to Torrevieja where he dropped us off at the Hotel Madrid. The agents made no contact until Monday 14th March whereby a Representative called Nobby. He was our Moving in Rep. Nobby took us to the Moving in Office. The office was packed so he said we would go and see the property in the mean time, then go to the Bank where the mortgage had been set up.
We arrived at the house. My partner and my hearts just broke. Our once beautiful house had been virtually stripped. Gone were the pictures, lamps, ceiling fans, in the front room. The kitchen was removed of all utensils, cutlery, crockery, cooking equipment everything you would use day to day. The bedrooms had all the linen, pictures, lamps removed. And last but not least the bathroom. Well that was a shell of its former self. The large wall mirror, shelving, cupboards had been removed. All that remained were large holes in the tiles where they had been fixed. We informed Nobby that our purchase had been “as seen”, from our earlier visit. He seemed unconcerned and produced an inventory. “This is what you should have” I tried telling him that it was not at the time of purchase. On the new inventory it had the audacity to include the gate to our roof terrace which was a permanent house fixture.
On our arrival at the Bank the Manager stated that we had been granted an 80% Mortgage and that a further payment of £29000 was required. I asked him why, as l was understood a further £10000 would be required. I also requested to see the surveyors’ report, which we paid a further £200 for. This was not forthcoming. I asked about where all the fixtures and fitting were. He could not answer any of the above requests. On this note Nobby took us to the Moving in Office where a number of papers were signed none of which were for the house. On our way back to the hotel we asked Nobby, which four days were the company paying for, as we were so disappointed we wanted to fly back home early on Wednesday. Nobby said the company was not paying for any. At the hotel l phoned a former colleague up who is on holiday in Playa Flamenca. He took us to a further colleague who now runs an estate agency for some advice. He saw us immediately. He asked us where we intended to purchase. When informed Jardine Del Mar. He called us a few choice words, one of them included “idiot” He informed me that he would not touch these houses as they had subsidence and rising damp. He knew of 5 clients who could not sell because of this problem. Some advice was also given.
On The 15th March at 0500 Pete, who took us to Alicante with a number of other clients to receive our NIE number, picked us up. During the wait my partner nearly collapsed from stress. Pete became most concerned and sought help from an interpreter to assist my partner. After this we were taken back to the hotel. At approximately 13:00hrs my partner and l went to the Client Centre. From then on nobody would entertain us. They sent us to the resale office where they informed us it was the Moving In office. They in turn informed us it was the resale office. This went on for two days. I decided l had taken enough messing around. My partner had broken down and was inconsolable. She took sick and could not leave the hotel room. I decide to go to the main Office on Calle Orhuela. I did not leave until l had some form of answer. The girl l spoke to was quite helpful. She said if you come back tomorrow around lunchtime l should have an answer for you.
On the 16th March l also spoke to 2 other company people. They both informed us that we required the resale department. We informed them that we had been down to that office four times already. They said to go and see Pilar again. At Pilar’s office she phoned a person up – Jan. I talked to him on the telephone for some time reference the property and why l had not signed the contract. He informed me that there was nothing he could do until he had spoken to his Managing Director. I left my telephone number for him to contact me on his decision. I then realised who Jan was from previous encounters. He was the Manager of the resale department where he avoided contact and seeing us three times over the past two days. My partner and l then headed into town and decided to call in at the department and see Jan face to face. On our arrival the receptionist who repeatedly fobbed us off to other Agencies around Torrevieja was told we had an appointment with her boss. At first she did not believe us. She even said that he was out until l informed her that l had just spoken to him on the phone and that he had information for us.
Jan took us to his office. He informed us that we could have only half our deposit back and our hotel bill paid. As we did not want to rock the boat we excepted his offer. He also required that to accept this offer we had to sign a deposition in front of a Lawyer to say we would not instigate proceeding against the company. Considering we were leaving in two days we excepted.
The next day the deposition was signed and a cheque was received for half the deposit. Needless to say we had to bring it home.
“Hotel Madrid”. This is a Pandora’s Box. Although most of the Estate Agent’s Clients had no bother with them 30% of them had problems. The Jamaican couple who had purchased a house 3 years ago (new) has never been built. They had to purchase a resale this trip. The elderly couple who have had an enforced stay at the Madrid Hotel due to the company losing the keys to the property and generally messing them around for two weeks. On there arrival at Alicante Airport they were refused a pick up and when another couple going to the same hotel were picked up by the company were told to get a taxi. Their plight had been going on a week prior to our arrival. They were to be in the hotel for four days. They were still stuck after we left. The company has done nothing to help them and it has cost them in the region of £2000 of expenses so far. Another lady with her sister thought she was getting on great until she moved into her apartment. She met up with us on the Av De Los Marineros in a café. She informed us that she was now having a nightmare. The apartment flooded and the electric failed on her first night. Where was the company? As usual NOWHERE.
Hotel yet again. Although run by a friendly staff. A company meeting point, it has a lot to be desired at approximately £45 a night for B&B. Considering previous stays in other hotels.
1st hotel. Showing first time buyers property. They took you to a hotel with Chalet accommodation, Swimming pool, first class food, free drinks, and took you out, wined and dined you till you were incapable of walking.
2nd hotel. Next visit. Smaller, with balcony to while away the spare time you had. No swimming pool. Beach nearby. Still wined and dined with personal service from the reps.
3rd hotel. Small room. No balcony just metal railings across door to prevent you falling into the road. Not far from the town. Walking distance. Did many times. Must be making up for the previous food we ate on other trips. Left to our own devices. Talking about food. The food if you can call it that. Breakfast consisted of Cold coffee, stale bread, hard-boiled eggs. Reject Tappas from the day before, unused from the bar. Mainly Kebabs, chicken, pork and beef on a stick in a spicy sauce. However the last breakfast we endured consisted of half slices of some meat that was covered in a sauce the night before and an attempt to wash this off prior to being placed in the Bayonne Marie with bacon, ham and kebabs. The only thing in its favour was the cold counter for the continental clients.
So my conclusion for prospective clients is. Go elsewhere. They will wine and dine you till you cannot stand. But when they cannot find a way out or face a problem. They will leave you stranded in a country most people would find strange and daunting. You will pay. They will refuse to return payments made. If they happen to retract from that decision and give you only part of it back. You cannot sue as you have signed a contract not to.
They have still to this date not shown me a Surveyors Report. Nor do l envisage ever seeing it, although they have been paid £200 for it. So all prospective clients who intend purchasing Jardin Del Mar,. Please be sure of seeing the survey report before departing with any of your hard-earned cash.
April 8, 2005 at 9:03 pm #58152AnonymousParticipant
John – I am so sorry for what you and your partner seemed to have endured, it sounds a nightmare.
Maybe if nothing else it will serve as a warning to prospective purchasers though. Never take what estate agents tell you at face value. Take an inventory of what you agree will be included in your purchase, lots of photos too. Always commission an INDEPENDENT full structural survey of your own before parting with any substantial deposit. You would do it in the UK, so why not in Spain?
It is a sad state of affairs but you do have to be so careful.
I wish you (better) luck.
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