26 Jun, 2012 @ 09:30
1 min read

Expats still waiting for dream home in Morocco after five years of broken promises

By Eloise Horsfield

A SCOTTISH couple is among 300 investors still waiting for their dream home in Morocco five years after parting with a hefty deposit.

Craig Menzies, 40, and wife Elaine, 42, handed over €35,000 in 2007 for an off-plan unit at Playa Vista, a large development on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast.

The couple was told the new complex in Cabo Negro – boasting ocean views, a secluded beach and marina – would be ready at the end of 2008, with the remaining balance of €44,800 due on completion.

However in November that year they received a notice saying a ‘stop work order’ had been issued by the Moroccan government.

“We understand this was due to the authorities being unhappy with the number of properties being built and pressures on water supply and other natural resources,” said Menzies, a software tester who lives in Alhaurin el Grande.

“They confirmed they were holding meetings with Moroccan officials and they hoped to reach an agreement with them to recommence construction,” he said.

But with still no sign of any movement almost five years after signing up, Menzies contacted the Olive Press.

Then, in May this year, Playa Vista announced it had some ‘good news’, and that a start date had been confirmed for July 30.

But Menzies, from West Lothian, remains sceptical: “This is not the first time we have had notices like this.

“We also received notification almost a month ago that we would receive individual packs outlining the details relating to our specific circumstance but so far it has failed to materialise.”

The Olive Press has since received similar testimonies from several investors in Spain, France and the UK, including 52-year-old Karen Cleary from Hampshire who has failed to get her €48,000 deposit back.

“I am of the opinion that this is a complete scam and that they should be arrested for keeping our money for so long,” she told the Olive Press.

“It’s all lies.”

Meanwhile other investors accused Playa Vista of avoiding returning deposits to investors by ‘hiding behind an open clause in the contract’ and moving the completion date forward.

When contacted by the Olive Press, Playa Vista said there would be options for clients who wished for their deposits to be returned and admitted it could be more ‘efficient and effective’ in its communications.

Wendy Williams

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62 Comments

  1. I too paid out over £26,000 in 2007 for an apartment not yet started. I hope this development will eventually get under way in July 2012…but there have been lots of false promises along the way and the management of Playa Vista have been anything but helpful only hiding behind a cluse in the contracts that allow them to pushe the start date further and futher back.

  2. Hi. Options for return of deposits? That is a joke. Have any of you now received the letter offering five options none of which is a return of deposits? Instead it is fractional ownership of a property! Would be interested in hearing from any of you affected by all this.

  3. I am affected by this too – I am being bullied/forced into accepting fractional ownership, without any details of future maintenance costs (which I am sure is illegal). I have a contract for a 2 bed apartment – I don’t want a week once a year in Morocco, and £24,000 seems a lot to pay for just that.

    Unfortunately I don’t have the funds to take the company to court. Apparently 70+ other investors are doing so, at a cost of around £1,750 upfront plus 10% of any of the deposit money returned. The solicitors will be doing well out of it!

    Does anyone have a solution?

  4. There is no easy solution I’m afraid Tansie. But don’t be bullied into signing the fractional ownership letter. It consitutes a new contract. There are a couple of groups taking action and you should keep a close eye on this. I am part of a group where we have all paid into a fund to start us off. If you can send me your email I can communicate with you privately. Thanks. ESME

    • Can you help me, my name is melfyn hughes, I also spent £36,000 deposit on a penthouse at playavista morocco, I have been told my my solicitor that the work has stoped again at the site due to legal & financial problems?. He has advised me that the best way forward would be a class action by a number of people affected so that the costs of any action can be shared & it would be best be brought in morocco because they dont seem to have any assets in the uk, Can you get back to me if you are interested or you have any contacts of any other infotunate people who are thinking of what to do next.

      Thanking you mel hughes.

  5. we too have been taken in by this development paying over to snyder £33751.00 who placed it into trust account.
    we unfortunately do not now have the funds to follow up with solicitors either here or abroad just told by barbados that no refunds are being considered.does anyone know of the so-called bond and gaurantee plus insurances that are supposed to be in placed as per the original contract. has anyone contacted the soliciters snyder. a time share option is unacceptable, any information would be a comfort at the moment – dont know what to do or think

  6. Hi zoe and stephen
    If you send me your email address here I wil communicate with you directly by email. Don’t be talked into signing an option as it would constitute a new contract.
    Look forward to being in touch with you.
    Thanks.

  7. We to have got the letter offering fractional ownership which is not an option. We to would like to hear of a way forward. They have responded to our email, but not answered any of our questions. We feel a bit sorry for this Pauline lady who is in the office. She can’t answer anything but must be getting abuse from alot of people. It seems Thompson (sorry don’t know your first name) might have a little more info. If he could please email us that would be lovely. Many thanks
    email address rachaelhopkins@hotmail.co.uk

  8. Hi All, so glad to finally get to hear from some of you in the same boat, we have been going out of our mind for the past few years about Playa Vista, we paid £26,500 back in Aug 2006, and have been so frustarted & getting no answers to our questions, we have been sending constant emails to the developers demanding a refund which in the original contract said we were entitled to, now this fractional ownership letter which we know nothing about has been sent to us and we are not prepared to be bullied into signing it, I got an email back today which stated that it was up to a Barbados judge to decide if we were entitled to a refund not the Playa Vista or ourselves, we are not in a position to be able to pay any more money to sue them, but would be willing to join the group to try and take them to court, could you please keep us informed of any more developments with the matter, we will join in the link for the letter to the king.
    Many thanks

  9. Hello I would love to hear from the group of 70 people who are taking the developer to court as I too am being bullied into signing for timeshare which is not a option
    I want my £31,500 back as they have not delivered the apartments
    Please can you get in touch with me at
    stevethomasbrickwork@hotmail.com
    Kind regards
    Steve

  10. Why after 20 years of these scams do people still handover large deposits. The bottom fell out of Spanish property 15 years ago. Just lease. Buy a second house in UK and rent it out,use the rent to lease in Spain
    Not the Spanish to blame. %90 of all UK buyers cannot speak Spanish or read Spanish so why would you spend a £100,000 plus on something you do not understand. Beyond me.

  11. This site is supposed to be helping people, I don’t find your comments very helpful, it sounds like your laughing at us rather than being useful, for your information it wasn’t for a spanish property it was for a Morrocan, which is still a developing country as far as real estate is concerned, it was an american company and all the document were in English, with an american lawyer.

  12. Hi Thompson,

    I bought two apartments and handed over 65k. I cannot believe how they are treating me.

    My email is “bux@deverepm.com”. Would love to join in on the legal action!

    Thanks

    Bux

    • Have you started any legel action with playavista, I would also be interested because I parted with £ 36,000 for a penthouse, can you get back to me if you have any info, thanks mel Hughes.

  13. While I can understand wanting to leave the EU, I cannot understand your forking out such sums for unbuilt properties. Is it because you’ve been told that these places will cost so much more later ? Unbelievable.

  14. I too paid deposits totaling £47416.48 for two apartments and would be more than willing to join any legal action group my email is “markroche@hotmail.com”

  15. Hi all. There is a possibility of taking group action in Barbedos which is being looked into. There is an initial up front small fee for our docs to be assessed. If interested please reply to me as before and I will forward to the person coordinating this. Thanks.

  16. Hi All,

    It seem nearly all of us have been taken for a ride. I invested in Morocco in £30,000 in 2006 in Paradise and Golf Beach Resort. The project is late by 2 years and the developer claims he has ran out of money. Many investors are forming a group and lobbying the government to recover the investments.So far it seems fruitless.
    There are 128 investors who are keen to take action against the agent,lawyers and the developer. Please let me know if your actions are showing positive response on “sm.ma@live.co.uk”

  17. Hi there, myself and my husband are living in Dublin Ireland and we paid a deposit of €48k for our apartment in Playa Vista in 2007. Although we did receive the email stating a package with 5 options will be sent to us, to date we have not received the options!! We would be very interested in joining the group who are taking legal action against these guys. Like a lot of you we are desperate to get our deposit back – we have taken out a mortgage for this which is a nightmare :(

  18. Are we making any headway with taking legal action against Playa Vista ( Compass Properties) can somebody contact me to let me know if there is anything i can do

  19. Has anyone received any updates?

    I am thinking of going to morocco to talk to compass properties direct.

    If anyone is interested or has any other ideas please feel free to message me at “bux@sterlingdevere.com”

    Thanks

  20. I joined a group taking action with Solicitors in Barbados, they say we have a case, but i think the important thing is to find out who is holding the money (which is in “Trust”).

    Snyders who set this up have done their homework. It turns out that Stephen Snyder is a director of Playa Vista Developments. I think that we stand more chance taking him and his company to task. He should have made it clear he was a Director before we handed over our deposits to him. I think there may be cause to take action against him.

    I have tried communicating with him via his company email just over a week ago. No response. Perhaps if we expose him to the Canadian media or the Bar Council we might get a response.

    I also supported the “Letter to the King” and still do not know if it got sent. Have emailed them a few times to no avail. Frustrating is an under used word.

    Is anyone else taking any action?
    Would like to hear from you

    Terry Clancy

  21. Most of us have been offered fractional ownership of a town house or villa, not our apartments, various groups are investigating taking legal action in the various countries Playa Vista Developments have set up in.

    I am sure this will come to nothing if we do not share our imformation to provide a concerted and effective effort from all the durisdictions. The various solicitors we have seperately employed have to liase with each other. I feel the only way to get this happening is for us all to start communicating again. I know its a difficult thing to do especially for those of us that have paid for legal advise to share information, BUT WE HAVE TO TO GET ANYWHERE!!!

    So you spokes people for the various groups what do you think?

    Esme It,s good you are encouraging people to communicate, we have to get All purchasers speaking under one banner to get the weight required to get anywhere.

  22. Hi Terry.
    Can you email me directly to “esme.thompson@me.com” and the same for anyone else:-). Beware that PV monitor all these sites. Plans and ideas are better kept to closed forums:-).

  23. Hi

    For more information about the problems with Moroccan Property please check:

    “www.diarmaidcondon.com”

    Under: “Taking Moroccan Developers to Court

    Hope it helps.

    Jorge
    Melilla

  24. Hi Terry Clancy, and all I have been putting this at the back of my mind for a while as was taking over me and it was all I could think about and it made me quite ill, but now I have been reading through all the comments I think you are right we should be targeting Snyder, as this is where we all sent are money, I’ve just been reading about him, yes you are right Terry we should expose him to his people and country, I’m going to try and call them later as they’re 7hrs behind, and I will let you know the out come, we should all get together in the next month for a meeting in person instead of forums

  25. Hi all,I also have £25,000 invested in PV.In 2011 a made a visit to Edmonton to visit my in laws I made a visit to Steven Synder and spoke to him at length he gave me the usual bullsh*t and told me the only issues with the build was the permission to build on the land and we will have the go head very soon.

  26. I too have played ‘ostrich’ putting my head in the sand. We couldn’t seem to find others in the same boat as us. In 2007 put down £32.000 deposit and kept getting promises. My husband is 68 and I am 65. We would like to enjoy our retirement without worrying. We looked forward to an apartment in Morocco for us and our children to visit. We should all be given our deposits back and start again. Not with Compass
    Jenny Ruston

  27. Please all join ‘The Playa Vista Network’ on Facebook. It is a closed group so only members can view and comment. Thanks Anna (purchaser of so called apartment)

  28. If the money you paid and lost in your offshore property investment was borrowed after October 2004, was against your house in the UK through an IFA you are able to complain and should get compensation. It is called the Financial Services Claims Service. This is based on a woman who successfully did so even though they originally rejected her grounds (for offshore investment). I might take a while and is complicated but worth a try. Cheers Peter ODonnell

  29. God help you all. Maureen, if, as an illustration, you were burgled and lost many thousands having no insurance,and the police could make no progress, you could only wipe your mouth and get on with your life, with better locks and insurance.
    Fight on, if it gives you all some hope, but realistically, can you really win? After eight or so years?

  30. I reiterate that if anyone who invested in off plan property, especially offshore, and have lost much or all of it, and where a UK regulated adviser or person was involved (i.e. sold, arranged finance, mortgage equity release, SIPP etc), you should talk to me about the redress options available. My number is 00447956185493. Peter

  31. I too am a large amount out of pocket investor in PV. Compass said my lot would be finished October’14, which of course it isn’t even started. I notice your comments are from last year. What is the latest now in December ’14?

  32. Hi
    does anyone knows the latest about compass.
    they are not responding to email. Every one i knew left compass. I think i lost my deposit .
    any latest news.

  33. Anyone still interested in joining a group taking action please email me at “esme.thompson@me.com”. I cannot guarantee what success we will have but want to try everything possble.

  34. I think there should be caution before sending money to these offering group action. Check out the Lawyers offering their services. You don’t want to get scammed twice.

  35. I should clarify that I am not a lawyer or anything like it. I too bought into Playa Vista (sadly) and am part of a group of people just trying to do what we can to get something back. Thanks.

  36. Any body with any info about a group to try to get our money back, can you contact me, I gave them £36,000 as well, I thought it was a corbrate gaurantee with the deposits?. Please come back to me. Mel hughes . 29:03:15

  37. A lot of these posts sound like scammers trying to sign up people for a losing class action. Don’t waste your money guys, never pay up front. Do a bit of research and figure why these people are suddenly coming out of the woodwork.

  38. I too unfortunately, lost money with compass. I have almost given up trying to get any of it back! Firstly, their websites should be removed from advertising these non existent properties.

    Maybe, we can all get a petition to the king of morocco and express our angry as to why he continues to ignore this scam, and the fact could be he was paid a handsome amount from compass for the agreement of this development!

    It is also not good for Morocco’s economy, I somehow, feel they are all laughing and had no intentions of opening up their country too anyone!!

    It goes back to the saying “if its too good to be true”, we all now the rest!

  39. I know Cabo Negro well, and such a project there looks fishy. I wonder how careful your investors are, with whom were they dealing? Compass Properties is a U.S. company in Wisconsin, and as far as I know they have no activity here, so these guys who sold dreams are certainly crooks, I tried to find out something about them, they have an address in Tangier, an apartment, they use the name “Compass Properties” and they say their head office is in Barbados, I checked, it’s fiction!

  40. Hi I too have been involved with Compass and we need to go to a solicitor together with others I have spoken to Snyder and he is owed money also. You need to make sure you register your property with the government through a solicitor so that when they go to sell them on they have to pay us first. If you contact me I will give you the name of the solicitor I am about to use.

    • Hi Doreen I too was scammed into this moroccon development concerning compass & playa vista . We invested 10 yrs ago , we need good solicitor to get our deposit back !
      Doreen would you be kind to send me details also of the solicitor you are to use , perhaps if this law firm gets in touch with all the investors they can make the difference . To be honest I would be happy to get 90% of my money back at present
      Kind regards
      Mr D Mistry

  41. Sorry to see so many trusting people have fallen for yet another property scam and have made payments for unfinished properties. Would I make final payments, I doubt it since I’d be very nervous about buying any property now in North Africa due to the spread of Isis? So, all those who invested should somehow seek redress and repayment of funds rather than make final payments IMO.

  42. I to have been involved in this fraud with Compass properties and also paradise golf & beach resort i paid 5 deposits 9 yrs ago and still no developments by the developer Atlantic beach paradise resort S.A.R.L AND ALSO WOULD WELCOME NAME OF A TRUSTED SOLICITOR TKS

  43. There has been press re paradise golf and beach resort.
    The developer has been in prison since Feb 2016
    There also appears to be a group supporting the developer …
    There are a number of investors who have a core team

  44. Hi everyone who has been effected by this scam . I previously mentioned I too was duped into this Moroccan investment , but I have found some light at the end of the tunnel . I have contacted a law firm in the UK that deals with cases like this , its a no win no fee case , they are dealing with 2 of my cases/ investment . If you had to remortgage or not for your investment in morocco please contact
    SCOTT WINSKELL
    FUEL WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD
    21 the parade
    Claygate.Esher.
    Surrey
    KT10 0PD
    Tele 01372466376
    Mob. 07801400862. Fax 07092846918
    Email Scott.winskell@fuelwealth.co.uk
    Web. http://www.fuelwealth.co.uk
    I have been dealing with Scott , trust me its worth trying to get some of your investment back . If you require to contact me my mob is
    07969951802 or email me on dmistry894@aol.com

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