Reply To: Spanish property market 2008: soft landing or train wreck?

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I do take my hat off to Inez for not having succumbed to being involved with the off plan sales racket.

As a Sales Director for three Spanish Property Development Companies, I did so and in good faith.

However with only one exception when I worked for an outstanding individual in Valencia, were developments handed over correctly and on time. It was perfection at its best. Quite outstanding in attention to detail.

My experience with the other two developers was disastrous and chaotic. I did not suffer, quite the reverse I was extremely well looked after and well compensated when I was sacked from one company, the other I decided to leave to take up my current appointment.

I know that several clients I induced into making a purchase have since been completely ignored with lists of complaints and defects. One couple have yet to move into an apartment I sold them 5 years ago! If they were to show you the photographs of how a luxury 2 million Euro apartment was handed over you would all be speechless.

I have ruined certain peoples lives and I will take this guilt with me to the grave. And Inez is right, and in these circumstances Inez also right to quote the examples given. Clients, genuine buyers not wanting to speculate, were treated like lambs going to the slaughter. They were like children, conducting business in a foriegn country and sometimes in a language they could not even speak or understand. They placed all their trust in us. We deliberately mis-sold and mis-led, because it was more important to satisfy our shareholders than our clients.

However shocking the remarks made by Inez may be, they highlight the true state of affairs and what really went on. I know as I was in the middle of it all. I am not looking for forgiveness or absolution or indeed pity. My life has improved dramatically since leaving Spain. I miss it very much and we will always return to Spain each summer, if only to watch the polo. But one thing I do not miss is everyone lying in business. And for me that will always be the reason why I will never conduct any business in Spain again.

Sometimes we are blind and we do terrible things which we live to regret. Jack Kipling failed the Royal Navy eyesight test, he then failed his Army medical on account of asthma and bad eyesight. His father knew The King and Lord Roberts, Colonel-in-Chief, and Colonel respectively, Irish Guards.

Kipling used his influence and secured his young 17 year old son a commission as well as writing to The Commanding Officer of the Second Battalion that his son Jack had his fathers permission to go into action underaged.

To quote Rudyard Kipling when he came to terms that his only son Jack had been killed, the day after his 18th birthday.

“And if they ask you why you died, tell them your father lied.”

Now reflect upon this, perhaps some of you have seen “My Boy Jack”, and draw parallels and you will have some understanding of the lengths that people go to in order to convince themselves and others that what they are doing is right. Anyone involved in off plan sales in Spain today, is in my mind inducing individuals to take risks that neither they nor their clients truly understand.