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.
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.”
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.”