In December 2003 we went on an inspection visit with a company called Feria who were based in Horsham England. (They are no longer operating). Sam, their sales representative, met us and we were taken to a build in Villa Martin and shown apartments that replicated those that would be built at El Pinet.
Next we were taken to El Pinet and all that were there were 3/4 bedroom houses. At this stage we were told that it had taken 15 years to get planning permission and this would be a unique build. This looked like the perfect area for our holiday home and from plan we purchased a 2 bedroom apartment.
The following day we were taken to Torrevieja to the San Jose offices to sign contracts and pick colour schemes etc. We paid the builders a deposit and were told within 1 month we had to pay half the price of the property which was 67,000 Euros. This we did, in the meantime a solicitor had read the contract and agreed it was good as it clearly stated that if the builders went over the completion date by 3 months we were entitled to our money back. The property was due to be completed in May 2005.
In July 2005 we had not heard anything, so after numerous e-mails trying to find out what was happening and being informed that Feria had nothing to do with the sale now, we got nowhere.
Eventually San Jose gave us weak explanations as to why the property was delayed for example a wet winter etc. Not happy with this I continued to contact their legal department and in September 2005 they offered us various options.
- Change property to an apartment in a golf complex
- Provide an apartment to stay in if we come over to see the progress they were making.
- Terminate the contract.
We considered these options, however, my husband was diagnosed with skin cancer at this time and needed surgery at East Grinstead Hospital. This made our minds up for us and our solicitor told them we wanted to terminate the contract….but heard nothing.
In January 2006 our solicitor sent a burofax (recorded postal fax) and the builders ignored it. A second one was sent and the same thing happened. San Jose legal department said they had to speak to their Sales Director.
However, this did not happen, so we were advised to go to a meeting with all parties. This we did in July 2006 and duly visited the El Pinet build and discovered the apartment was only partially built and that the builders had downed tools in May 2006. At the meeting we were offered compensation of a furniture pack and told the apartment would be finished September 2006.
“At last” we thought but when our solicitors wanted the completion date in writing it came back as September 2007. Luckily we hadn’t signed the new contract accepting the compensation package. Our solicitor advised us to take them to court and we went to London to enable our solicitor to have power of attorney. In May 07 we were instructed by our solicitor that we had to go to Orihuela to appear at court in July 2007.
We had a pre meet with our solicitors who said they had an interpreter for us and that we would be called to the stand one at a time to state our case. This was an anxious day for us having never been to court before. We eventually got into the court room two hours late only to be told San Jose did not want to speak to us. Our solicitor was angry and told the judge so. The judge listened to both cases, this is where we found out that the builders had had planning permission revoked before we had signed the contract in 2003 but we were never informed of this. In September we were informed that the judge had found the sentence in our favour and we were awarded all monies back including legal costs and expenses.
San Jose appealed and this could take yet another year of misery. These builders have no idea of customer care. The contract is not worth the paper it is written on. They are unscrupulous and we want nothing to do with them.