No more palming us off!

LAST UPDATED: 8 Jun, 2007 @ 15:24
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Buyers sue Palmera Properties after their dream move turned to a shattered dream

DOZENS of angry residents have signed up for a joint action against property promotor Palmera Properties.

The group of mostly British buyers is suing the Andalucia-based promotor for appalling delays, which have left many demanding their money back.
Others are on the warpath over shoddy workmanship and trade descriptions, which include missing garages and gardens.

Now, the group, who include residents in Mollina and Fuente de Piedra, have joined up with the Costa del Sol Action Group to seek damages.

“We are gathering together as many people as we can who have ostensibly been defrauded by Palmera Properties and its associates,” said lawyer Gwilym Rhys-Jones.

“The class action is now in its final stages with prison sentences and restitution orders expected for the miscreants.”

The move comes after hundreds of Britons spent a fortune on dream holiday homes, many of which have still not been built three years on.

“Shattered dreams”

Trina and Tony Abrahams, 41, had hoped to move into their four-bedroom home in Fuente de Piedra, in December 2005, after putting down a 54,000-euro first payment in 2004.

While the house is effectively finished – minus a garden and garage – they have been told they must wait at least another nine months before the habitation licence comes through.

“We would like to just get our money back and move on,” said Trina, 45. “We sold our house in England and moved everything into storage at the end of 2005.

“Since then we have had to rent and eventually gave up and bought ourselves a flat, which has been very tight for four of us.”

The family from Bedfordshire have now changed their minds altogether about moving to Spain.

“It is not even the house we wanted. We thought we were getting a big four bedroom house with a garage and garden. The fourth bedroom is an airy attic, there is no garden and the garage turned into a car port and then nothing at all so they could squeeze an extra house in.

“Thanks to Palmera our dream move turned into a shattered dream.”

Denials

Other members of the group put down deposits of up to 50,000 euros for beachfront apartments on Spain’s Costa Del Sol.

Agent Palmera Properties assured customers that their properties in Benalmadena would be ready by 2004.

But joiner Robert Hayles fumed: “I don’t even think a brick has been laid. It’s a disgrace.”

Robert, 37, from Newcastle and wife Louise, 36, planned to use the apartment for family holidays.

They have a son Luke, one, and another child on the way. Robert said: “I’ve paid 50,000 euros so far and thought it would be a great investment. But now I’m sick of waiting. I just want my money back.”

Spanish firm Palmera Properties deny responsibility, claiming the project and money are in the hands of builders Grupo Mirador.

It’s a familiar story for Steve Walker has been trying to phone and fax the firm for the last 18 months to no avail.

Steve, 42, of Stockton-on-Tees, who’s forked out 30,000 euros, said: “It’s like getting blood from a stone.”

When we contacted Palmera Properties again, they claimed building HAD started and the apartments would be ready in two years’ time.

A spokesman said: “We understand why our clients are angry but all we can do is pass on information we get from the builder.

“Grupo Mirador have the money and they are responsible for the build. We were getting on well until Roman ruins were found on the site. Since then the communication has collapsed. Building has started again though and it should take 24 months to complete.”

But fed-up Robert said: “I’ll believe it when I see it. It’s a joke.”

Lawyer Gwilym Rhys-Jones, of Costa Del Sol Action Group, a non-profit making organisation, has now joined forces with the public prosecutor to help ripped-off Brits. He said: “All agents like Palmera want is the commission from sales. They don’t care if the development never gets built.

“They know customers will complain but they expect them to give up eventually.

“Unfortunately the Spanish legal system is the slowest in the world. But there is recourse for justice. I’d advise buyers to club together and hire dual language lawyers.”

40 COMMENTS

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  1. Tomorrow our legal representatives will take a firm and strong action against your News Paper, the director itself and the journalist who wrote this miserable article full of mistakes including the statement that Palmera Properties IS THE DEVELOPER, misleading readers and even customers to a wrong information with the only purpose of affecting our credibility.

    Every customer has signed a contract with the DEVELOPER and obviously PALMERA IS NOT a building company and DOES NOT sign the contract being just a Real Estate company SELLING on behalf of various developers. This and many other inaccurate declarations are only a proof of how unprofessional your media is. We will sue you for slander and defamation.

    Your article is full of lies and you gave no possibility to defend the honour ability of hour company. Not even an approach to our opinion. We can only calify this as unethical and VERY UNPROFFESIONAL. We will make this to be known.

    La perla apartments is already under construction after a serial of delays due to circumstances out of the control of the agents. IT has BUILDING LICENCE, and the developer has properly justified all the delays. Including and archaeological report from the Junta de Andalucia. All of this is slow in Spain. Who can blame the selling agent for this? What would happen in the uk if roman ruins are found on the excavation of a construction site?

    Despite this, the customers bought these frontline beach apartments at starting price of 85.000 euros. Today with the construction started the revaluation is astronomical. This does not justify the delay which is a developers and not an AGENTS problem, but helps to know that it will be a great investment after all this time.

    We have always been helpful in communicating with the developer.
    And still happy to help or listen to the customers, but we insist WE ARE NOT the developer or builder. Delays or the construction repairs after delivering a property are BY CONTRACT and this has been signed BY CUSTOMERS a responsibility of the actual BUILDER or Developer.

    A travel agency, who does a similar Job, connecting customers with a provider of services, for instance has no control on the repairs of a hotel, or in the maintenance of a plane…customer can always use the agent to reclaim but the final outcome has to come from the developer

    As we said, Tomorrow we will start an action against you, for all the losses your misleading article may generate in our company,

    Palmera Properties

  2. And that justifies delays of that proportion? I think not. If the case was this simple these delays would not be happening at all and wouldnt be happening to just people who have put their trust in palmera properties.

  3. palmera properties (like so many english estate agents in spain) is obviously just taking advantage of people who have just moved to spain. my suggestion to anyone looking for a home in spain is skip the middle man and go straight to the owner which can save a large portion of the price most of the time. my family was ripped off by a estate agents just like palmera properties sound leaving them with a peice of land which was over-priced and didnt have the permission allowing them to live on it despite a verbal agreement. Dont be fooled!

  4. Palmera are wrong in saying every customer has signed a contract. We have been waiting 5 years for La Perla to complete and have deposits on three apartments, as yet we have had no contract to sign. I know many other people who have also had no contract to sign. We have been asking for years because we wanted to sell ours on but you have to have a contract first. However it is strange that many of the Directors managed to sell theres on making big profits.

  5. I have just read the response made by Palmera Properties. I can only say from my experience in dealing with Palmera that:
    1. they do not return telephone calls.
    2. you cannot talk to the manager.
    3. they always pass the responsibility on to another department.
    4. they do not appear to be looking after their client’s interests.
    This makes the situation very frustrating when you are trying to resolve matters.

    I was informed in March 2007 that the developer wanted to complete a.s.a.p. I booked flights for April having been given a completion date of the 17th April. All monies and legal documentation was in place. However, on arrival in Spain we were informed by Palmera that the developer was not ready. Since that date I have been trying to get an answer as to why completion is being delayed. On the 21st June 2007 I was told by the Completions Department at Palmera that the delay is as a result of deposit monies, which I have paid to Palmera, have not been handed over to the Developer. I requested the telephone number of the Developer in order to find out exactly for myself what has happened and how much money is involved. Palmera will not give me the number. If anyone can help in this respect, the developer is: Fonslapis Sociedad Limitada, Edificio roma, Avenida Erasa, Local No 6 la Planta, CP29630.

  6. What a nerve, Palmera talking of sueing for deformation. They love to blame other parties ,but whats their excuse for ignoring and lieing to clients, using deposits illicitly to re invest for themselves,and taking money for properties which they know may never be built and refusing to return deposits. Robert Jones, I too bought through Fonslapis but again Palmera would not give me their details, and there, as you say Palmera are keeping deposits not always the builder.I too was given a completion date for mid April despite NEVER getting or signing a builders contract. Full return of deposits plus interest is my only aim now.

  7. hello could you please email me with a contact number of the person chair spokesmen/women fyou is taking palmeria to cort only i to had my nam to the lit i need to know who to speak to bout this i have been cond outof well over 23.000 euros by this company and compass who is part of them.my number is 0044 7947865001the name iscolette they apointd my awith a laywer for the tranfuring of the first part of the money it turned out he is not a laywer but a bloody ac count in rabat i went there to check the guy out i have the paper work from all my money tranfurs to the bonded ank account they give to there cilents but the money is not paid over to the notary. i have a letter frm notary telling stateing they or there lawer never paid over to him apenny that was transfured to them to pay agaist my apartment ive trid goibg to lawers in spain but cost me more money and got know where. so please contact me s.a.p colette

  8. I have also bought a property from Palmera at Fuente de piedra. Went over to Malaga to get NIE and power of attorney on the 05/09/07 and view the property.When i saw the property it was tiny with a car port not a garage and the garden was tiny too.Can you please give me more information to what i need to do now.I have spoken to Palmera and have been told it is nothing to do with them speak to the developer. The property value in Spain has gone down aswell.I have got the email address for the developer from Palmera today and am going to email him next.
    Thanks
    Dally

  9. In November 2004 I paid 44,647.80 euros to ‘Palmera Properties’ as a deposit for off plan property ‘Sol Villa’ N0.3 in Zurgena, Almeria. Palmera Properties assured me that this deposit fixed the price (184,733.00 euros) of the property.However, in October 2006 I received from the developer a contract for me to sign which was written in Spanish, therefore I was unable to understand its contents apart from the asking price which had increased by 52,000.00 euros.

    I was advised by Palmera Properties not to sign the contract and to send it directly to their office. I did as requested and since have been told that the builder (Nuevas villas) refuses to speak with them. I was then informed by their customer care department that it will be up to me to deal directly with the developer in order to redeem my deposit and that if I delay I could be held in breach of contract for not returning it to the developer himself. I too have the same story of fob offs, lies, non returning of calls and basically being left totally in the dark. I regret the day I ever heard of Palmera properties as my life has been devestated by this as pp have robbed me of my life savings, they are nothing but a gang of crooks who dont give a stuff about who’s lives they destroy as long as they get thier commissions. I have now been over to spain this August and have had to employ the services of an english/spanish speaking lawyer (more money) I am just praying I can at least get my money back and Palmera get what they deserve…a prison sentence!!

  10. We purchased 2 villas from Palmera in September 2004 with a total deposit of £55.000. We have been trying since 2005 to get our deposit back. we have had 3 soliciots on the case but have now employed Costa del Sol action group to help us with our troubles. Palmera insisted that the builders had gone bust on one of the villas, which is a common story that they tell their buyers and the money has gone with the builder. The other villa will never get built because it is on National Park land.. Palmera know full well what developments will or won’t get built, they are theives and I hope they have their day in hell and get a feel of what their clients have suffered for years. Palmera your glory days are at an end. The saying goes ‘What comes around goes around’ Rot in jail or pay us our money.

  11. David Klein and I had a most interesting and, I think, fruitful meeting yesterday with Tomás Fernández and Naomi Webb of IURA Despacho Juridico in Fuengirola.

    The legal system and litigation do not work here like in the UK. I have issued High Court writs as a young man and gone for Order 14 summonses for summary judgment after a couple of weeks. If there is no reasonable defence you get judgment from the High Court Master. They have nothing like that system in Spain.

    Tomás & Naomi are talking to Palmera Properties represented by Gotardo Rodriguez aided by his lawyer. They are also talking to Grupo Mirador and its lawyers and other promoters involved. Naturally there is finger pointing and blame deflection as gradually we wear them down and get to the truth of the matter.

    In three months our lawyers have achieved more than practically everybody who has been banging on the door of Palmera Properties being lied to and fobbed off over the last four or five years.

    They assure me that they are now very close to reconciling and identifying who has taken what money and from whom. All is about to be revealed. When that task has been completed the pressure goes on the recoup the money from whoever has it.

    Palmera Properties have 400 cases of complaint against them of which IURA and we represent a mere 5 per cent but comparatively that is a significant power base. Tomás Fernández states that he needs another two or three weeks before he has a clearer picture at which time he expects to be able to issue a report in favourable terms on resolving the problems and getting money back.

    Both Tomás & Naomi are confident that they will succeed on your behalf. As Tomás said: I am not in this for the money – it is something I believe in.

  12. Hi there, I am also having serious problems with Palmera and Fonslapis at Fuente de Piedra Phase M2, I cancelled my contract in Feb after being made redundant but till now I just cannot make any headway in getting all or part of our deposit back, after all €41,000 is a lot to lose. I am just going into a legal phase so if you have any idea’s it would be welcome.

  13. To contact the action group e mail [email protected] or best to phone on 34 95131 82 77 or mobile 34 699 840 606. I met him last month and he is n extremely knowledgable, up front, and honest man with our best intentions at heart.He will explain how the group works with their lawyers, and explain how this is everyones best course of action against the Palmera scum and asociates.You are not alone in this

  14. Fascinating reading as I have a personal involvement with the Estate Agents and their families……It is exactly the future I forsaw for them !! Hope they are brought to justice and stopped in their tracks. They are serious evangelical church-goers……Maybe it is God´s will ?

  15. What a mess, Medditerreano Properties in Southend on Sea in Essex took our money for deposits on properties in el gocco almost five years ago….
    This company is no longer operating – wonder why,
    no bank guarantees…left high and dry.

  16. In June 2005 I put around 16 thousand pounds down on a apartment at Envia Golf through Palmera Manchester. (They seemed to have disappeared but I do have contact numbers and names of someone who was working there at the time.) Like many other people, I have all the documentation that proved that Palmera have my money. Alarm bells started to ring when I did not have any communication from anyone, I even put the apartment on the market to sell as I was informed from the start that because I had paid the required deposit I could do what I wanted with it. I went over to Almeria before Christmas to see what was happening and found that the apartment I paid for was already built and owned by someone else. I started to bug Palmera Spain and eventually was told by the lady I constantly e mailed that I was not to e mail her again as she was leaving but did not give me anyone else to deal with. Then I found out about the CDSAG and the fine work that Gwilym has done and keeps doing. My powers of attorney is now with the Spanish lawyers and am just waiting to see what happens next. If you have not done so already, I suggest you contact Gwilym who will advise the next steps for you.

  17. On the subject of property conmen. I design and
    coordinate building projects, and was asked by a
    property salesman, who sold new developments ‘off
    plan’, to mostly British clientele. He asked me
    to design and cost two projects for himself,both
    alterations and refurbishments of fincas in Huelva
    province.I smelt a rat, and luckily encountered a
    former work colleague of his, who told me of his
    modus operandi. He had access to the deposit moneys, paid by prospective property owners, which
    he juggled to buy, or contract to buy fincas for
    improvement and resale. All without using any of
    his money. I have seen unbelievable scams operated
    in Spain. Sorry to say he is English, or possibly
    was! After he failed to reply to messages, I noted
    that he had moved on to yet another development.

  18. We have recently won a court judgement against Palmera but have been told that they havent any assets that havent got an embargo against it.We ahve been told that the owner has transferred propertys into joint nmames with his wife and as it is a limited company cant be touched. After the years of waiting for judgement to be reached this is the result?????????????????? Anyone any ideas?

  19. We too bought from Palmera, for SOL Villas ~7 in Zurgena. We’ve also been trying to get our cash back from Nuevas villas for years now
    I THINK (hope) we are finally getting somewhere as we have had the courts agree an embargo on some property owned by Nuevas Villas and go to court for initial hearing against BOTH Palmer and the builder on 12th November – Wish us luck!

  20. To the OP

    I’m interested to know if Palmera Properties have carried out their (badly written) threat to take legal action against your newspaper?

    If they have, then I would be more than happy to contribute to a fighting fund.

  21. hi my late brother paid a refundable deposit of 18000 euro,s [his life savings] on a appartment in envia golf thru palmeria propities the builders where inroal.the appartnent was built and sold.since my brothers death in 2005,aged 39 .and having looked at all the paper work and having spoken to a number of people at palmeria and inroal since my brothers death we were promised the full deposit back.but that has been over 4 years now they don,nt even reply to my emails or phone calls. looking at my brother in the last 6 months before he died he started to change,he started to drink and was,nt himself. i blame palmria and inroal for my brothers death as all he wanted was a good life in spain.as for me i can,t go on to recover the money as i have tried it has taken me 4 years. iam a single parent of 2 kids and looking after my mum and they need my love now. the owners of palmeria and inroal can rot in hell. do,nt ever trust christina thompson from inroal she may work for other companys she is a nasty work if you can help me email [email protected] thankyou

  22. Hi, I paid a deposit for an apartment in Morocco over and then decided to back off and was promised my deposit of over 3600 Euro to be back and so far nothing was done. I dealt with many people in regards to this and everytime an I was promised a solution without anything. The last time I emailed those people, I was promised to help me in order to find a place to relocate my deposit and achieve an agreement with the developer. I couldn’t take a risk again with this people but I want my money back and if anyone has any idea on how to get through this, I will highly appreciate it.

    Thank you

  23. WE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED FOR NEARLY 10 YEARS WITH THEM AND GRUPO MIRAADOR,WE ARE NO CLOSER TO GETTING OUR MONEY BACK THAN WE WE WON OUR CASE NEARLY 4 YEARS AGO,WE HAVE SPOKEN TO OUR MEP LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WE ARE GETTING NOWHERE,AS FAR AS CRIMINAL CHARGES GO I DON,T THINK ITS WORTH THROWING MORE MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN THAN WE HAVE ALREADY,OUR CASE IS STILL WITH OUR LAWYER BUT THE CIVIL JUDGEMENT WE WON HAS GOT US NOWHERE,ANY HELP FROM ANYONE WOULD BE MOST WELCOME,DO NOT REPLY IF YOU WANT EVEN MORE MONEY OFF US!
    ROBERT ROBSON

  24. message for Robert , the lawyer who advised you to take civil action totally wasted your money .Civil judgements mean nothing in spain as every lawyer knows.
    My suggestion is (for what its worth) that you form an action group with a respected lawyer not linked to the builder or promotor(conflict of interest is common in spain)and bring a criminal case together . its your only hope .one more word of advise a criminal case doesnt mean you will get your money back it just means you might if there are any assets after the tax the social security and the banks are paid .

  25. We too have been battling for years, we just need to know which bank our deposit was paid into and hopefully we may be able to move forward, but trying to get this information is nigh on impossible. The developers or Palmera’s solcitor agrees to receiving our deposit but then said they paid a cheque direct to the developer?? Does anyone know if there is such a thing as an ombudsman or equivilent in Spain as surely we should be able to trace where our money went? we purchased through Palmera who as you all know have shirked all responsibility our developer is Inroal – Mirador – Terque.

  26. we too are still waiting have been told by our lawyers at lawbird no chance to get a refund through the bank need to find property that is his name to place an embargo on to get the court judgement enforced and get our money back . Shame there isnt such a long wait to receive deposits and a long list of things to follow before you can place deposits with unscrupulous lawyers who are connected to the agents .

  27. Hi all,

    the spanish system is third world and peasant like. the recession they are going through is payback for there dishonest and corrupt methods of encouraging foreign investors like us to put monies into there economy only to be ripped off.
    spain can rot, and send itself back into the dark ages.
    i am going to write to the spanish monarchy and government to gain there opinion on how they can allow there local authorities, planning offices, building industries and associated agents run amuck with investors money which was there to help keep there countries economy stable. i am an investor of the ill fated la perla de mirador development. i did not legally pursue them, i kept in communication for as long as possible, untill i informed them i was coming to collect my deposit personally. this was met with a threat of police action on arrival. we can only hope the agents and developers have since choked on there ill gained fortunes.

  28. Hi, I have just logged on after watching a UK programe about people being ripped off and looked up Palmera properties. In 2004 my husband and I found some information online about Palmera and visited there Southend office. We took a trip out to Spain to visit the off plan site in Almeria called El Zoco apartements. Guy was very nice of course and we signed up to an off plan apartment. To date this appartment as never completed and after spending £10,000 pounds we have no property and no refund. I will never come back to Spain and give this country another penny of my hard earned cash. Palmera properties have no shame and it is a disgrace how we have been treated. I totally agree that this is pay back for the Spanish they deserve all they get.

  29. I simply REFUSE to give up. We placed an embergo on a properth the owned with no mortgage, then took the developer (Neuvas Villas) to court and won, had them appeal, we won – and they still don’t pay up! So now we are about to sell their property, and (hopefully) recover our deposit, and 7 years of legal / court fees
    Court have approved the auction of the property – wish us luck!

  30. you are very fortunate that you were able to find a property to embargo we were it seems too late by the time we were advised by our lawyer to seek an embargo on a property owned by palmera property they had been able to change the ownership on it seems everything of value? the fact that years were spent awaiting the courts to act and eventually hear our case and eventually find in our favour seems to have been weighted in the property agents favour enabling them to conceal their assets even though they are still trading????

  31. I bought a property from palmera properties in 2003 the apartment was in el zoco almeria, as a off plan property,
    Can anyone tell me what’s happening with palmera properties where about are they,,, this company has done the biggest scam in Spain and now they are getting away with it,,
    It’s almost 11 years now, and I am not going to give up, I paid a huge deposit toward this apartment,,

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