Rough justice yet again!

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07 Aug 2009 11:40 by normansands Star rating in Kent. 1281 posts Send private message

Dear All,

Tish you are surely joshing us!!!

My reaction to your info on the lawyer was that it was a case of CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE with surely automatic striking off.

Now you are telling us that it was a fairly minor matter involving a rebuke and only a 60% return of fees and even that is being appealed. One wonders what that cost you???

Smiley says that they are only "laid back" - laid back to the point of being corkscrew bent I would say.

A friend in the area for some 35 years says that the "Andalusian" is so "shrewd" that a Jew has no chance. (I hope that is not racist as repeated).

I guess only, that Smiley is a shrewd and competent business man who has made some good investments, perhaps even many.

Unfortunately, it does not sound like Goodstich is terribly experienced in that regard, he is certainly no multi-millionaire, I guess.

So why does Smiley trot out this old nonsense about "greed" being the culprit and not the crooks??????

Goodstich on what was perhaps his first property investment made a paper profit of 100% in a few years, just as  the agent no doubt predicted.

Surely that does not turn him from an investor into a dreaded speculator who deserves all he gets.

I rather think that Goodstich has grown up lately and is not now quite as naive as he used to be concerning the wonderful British system.

I certainly don't share his confidence in it to the same extent but doubt whether any English solicitor would exchange contracts with no finance in place or follow Tish's Spanish lawyers example.

Investors of all types invest for profit and the more hungry they are for it the more they may appear "greedy" to some, shrewd to others, but I don't believe that any of us were trying to influence the markets and speculate with our little holiday home investments.

So please Smiley reserve your greed label for the crooks who deserve it.




This message was last edited by normansands on 07/08/2009.

This message was last edited by normansands on 07/08/2009.

N. Sands

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07 Aug 2009 13:27 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2478 posts Send private message

Smiley´s avatar

Normansands if you actually bothered to read all of my posts I did actually concur with Goodstitch and confirmed the system is flawed. But the point I was trying to make that the large majority of people that got caught left their brain on the plane and were willing to do things they wouldnt dream of doing in their own country where they have at least a little idea of how the system actually works. I speak from experience of the number of mortgage clients I have spoken to in the last 7 years that purchased off plan who have openly stated that in hindsight they couldnt believe their own actions - a common thread amongst many of them was that it was a way to make money (we all want to make money I suspect). I have lost count of the number of people I have spoken to that believed that all one needed to get a mortgage was a pulse and a passport......would they place a 20, 30, 40, and even one case 50% deposit on a property (the latter was 220,000€) without at least checking a few things out in their own country - I doubt it.

The agents trawling up and down the coast in their logo'd up BMWs were building the dream. A conservative 70% of the off planners that I spoke to were all intending to sell on prior to completion - I assume that they were not intending to sell at a loss so what was the motivation behind them placing their deposit (along with their blind faith) in the first instance. A considerable number were convinced to buy multiple units (and many more than two) - what was the motivation there - the desire to put a commission in the agents pocket.

I am not critical at all of the fact that anyone wants to make a buck - far from it. What I fail to understand is that intelligent people (and believe me the large majority could knock spots off me in terms of academia and education) could be sucked in so efficiently by the machine without first taking stock and thinking things through and at least weighing things up in their true perspective. There were literally hundreds of thousands of people walking through the doors at the seminars etc - not to mention the telesales teams constantly ringing punters. Who did they think they were going to flip their units on to?

I didnt say they were laid back at all. I did agree the system is flawed but it is improving slowly with regulation. Would I ever buy off plan - never have never will - I have to be able to see it and touch it (I blame my lack of interest in art - Mona Lisa, Vase of Sunflowers - whats the point?). I have made some good investments and some not so good - all of them have been completed units that I could confirm were fully legal and licensed - these were things I checked out (not my lawyer although he confirmed it). I steered clear of the BMW brigade - someone somewhere has to pay for them. I AM without doubt fortunate that I am on the ground here so it is much much easier for me but I wouldnt have hopped on a plane for a 4 day weekend to decide to buy a hole in the ground - sorry but thats me.

I did not say greed was the culprit - I merely pointed out that the greed gene was stimulated by those less principled than others - largely those less principled individuals had origins in the British Isles. I am sure that you werent trying to influence the market with your little holiday home investment - however market forces drive markets - demand exceeds supply and if people are willing to pay the price then the price rises until a new level applies - this situation was one being exploited largely by the agents and marketing machines with origins in the UK. Prices would not have been going up 20% per annum year on year if investors/homeowners (whatever you wish to call them) hadnt been willing to pay the price. If they agents hadnt told the developers "if you build them they will come" then the developers would not have kept constructing and finding new areas of ground to clear.

Yes there are crooks in all sectors - some native to Spain some not so. Had buyers applied logic and patience (and a little more of the common sense they use in their own country) then I suspect  not so many would be ruing the day they ever set foot on their flight.

I have never been nor ever will be an estate agent and many members of the forum will confirm that I have been one of the most outspoken members since I joined in 2006 regarding estate agents and their tricks but I do believe in retaining a sense of perspective in all things. Everyone has a different story to tell - its a little like a divorce - there is his side, there is her side and there is the right side which is normally a combination of the two. Such is the case with property in Spain - many different stories and many different motives - many different good stories and many different bad - while I am dismayed at the failure of the system here it surprises me as much that people would act impetuously in a way they wouldnt where they understand the language and the procedure so why do it where they dont. Then again I have never bought timeshare - the one occasion I was borderline interested, I visited an estate agent and found out that instead of a 2 bed apartment I would own for 2 weeks of the year I could have a quarter share in building a 5 bedroomed 5 bathroomed house with 4 receptions on a plot of 2500 sq m. with its own pool - about 2km away. That was 1984 in Carvoiero, Algarve. The house was £64,000 equivalent completed - two weeks redtime was £15,000. The complex now is rundown and probably 2 weeks redtime worth 5 bob - the house is now estimated roughly £4,000,000 divided 4 ways of course - two years ago perhaps 50% more.   



Smiley -

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07 Aug 2009 13:37 by MAGICMEG Star rating in Scotland. 546 posts Send private message

Well said Norman I am not a speculator ,nor did I have $  signs clouding my vision . I just wanted a holiday home for me and my family to enjoy in the years to come ,and perhaps in my retirement years somewhere to spend the  winter months  away  from the harsh Scottish winters . Smiley lets not lose site of the real culprits it is all  too easy to blame the victims  MM


  Nothing surprises me anymore  

     but I am willing to accept that sometimes (although not very often ) I can be  wrong !

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07 Aug 2009 13:52 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2478 posts Send private message

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I am not trying to blame anyone. I have not suffered at the hands of the off plan debacle - the original response was to highlight how flaws in the Spanish system were exploited by unscrupulous people of largely non Spanish origin and foisted on a naive target that was all too willing to listen to what they were being told by the one person motivated not to tell the truth - i.e. the person making a comission from the sale - not pointed at any specific individuals. I merely state that people buying property in their home country dont make their judgement based simply on what they are told by an agent - they do their own research - they appoint their own lawyer - not one appointed by developer or agent. Why oh why would they do things in a foreign land they would never consider doing at home!


Smiley -

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07 Aug 2009 20:16 by Chimps Star rating. 117 posts Send private message

People may or may not have made decisions from the hype in the market

Flashy  promotional material ,agents telling porkies is not the issue Forget blaming the buyer.If he/she has made the wrong call or investors got greedy then thats life .

I for one get pi--ed off with anyone saying it was someone elses fault. This is about making a legally binding agreement ,whoever wins or loses lets have justice.

This is about abuse of the law. We hear of good solicitors? How can good solicitors work within a legal system that allows the corrupt to be able to walk through everthing they say is there to protect.

Justice can never prevail unless the law is upheld from the bottom to the highest level

Justice will never prevail while the corruption allows fortunes to be made.

Again .Spain wont change as they feel little is wrong and as part of Europe this should never be allowed to continue

To start with is the solicitors that were /are in a position of trust. They must be made fully accountable for their actions.

It cant be a lottery as to if you get screwed or not.

This way they may think again before setting the next poor soul up.

Spain is my second home. Most people in Spain or involved in anyway deserve better.



This message was last edited by Chimps on 07/08/2009.

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07 Aug 2009 23:32 by Tish Star rating in Surrey. 833 posts Send private message

Norman, (give me strength!)  Our case against the Lawyer was NOT a minor one!!  i don't joke about things like that.  The Judge said they were guilty of negligence and more. The case was written up in El Pais.Our lawyer believes it was the first time a Judge denounced another lawyer.

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08 Aug 2009 01:57 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2478 posts Send private message

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And at least in this corrupt country lawyers are willing to take action against other lawyers with justification. Unless things have changed in GB since I left in 03 finding a lawyer to act against a fellow colleague is nigh on impossible - even when there is no question of the original lawyers negligence. Getting the Law Society to support a claim against one of their members aint exactly easy either and getting correct redress even worse - the recommendation from the Law Society folllowing the lines of - that while in agreement the easiest thing to do was accept the settlement offered as there would be little point pursuing further as I would be representing myself as the LS believed nobody would take the case on.


Smiley -

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08 Aug 2009 10:23 by Tish Star rating in Surrey. 833 posts Send private message

Correction Smiley....ONE lawyer was ready to take action against ONE  corrupt lawyer!  (no plurals sadly) 

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08 Aug 2009 11:30 by normansands Star rating in Kent. 1281 posts Send private message

Sorry Tish,

I know how sore wounds can be, however inflicted, it is only when you suffer them yourself that you really understand.

Smiley please take note, the innocents you are condemning have probably only ever made one property purchase in their lives before and then they relied totally on their solicitor. Your persistent condemnation of them when they don't even understand the language is abominable. Stop it now.

You are clearly a successful, multi-millionaire "professional" property trader with high intelligence, if not perhaps the highest as you say. So please cut the "crap".

My joking reference did however have a serious intent, to draw attention to the award which clearly belies the criticism.

In the judge's view, the lawyer was almost 50/50 OK and now we have to wait for the appeal judge.



N. Sands

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08 Aug 2009 12:02 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2478 posts Send private message

Smiley´s avatar

Hi Tish sorry but I have to disagree and while there is reluctance there are mutliples of lawyer but even with only one that is one more than you would find in the UK.

Dear Norman I have not condemned (as you put it) - I have merely highlighted that there are many different factors that have contributed to the plight of most people in this situation and not only the corruption of the system. I am not a multi millionaire professional property trader (if only), but I do ensure that I do my research and dont simply trust everything I am told by people whose motivation will be self serving. And at least I do not resort to personal sleights such as "cut the crap" as we all have our own perspectives - prior to those that jumped on the bandwagon towards the end of the runaway train of double digit growth there were many many people buying off plan and flipping on for massive returns. I have not said that you were looking for personal gain BUT in every investment option there is ALWAYS a buyer beware situation and there are many many people (investors and homeowners alike) who did get it right.

I do speak from personal experience when I say I know of many many buyers that I have spoken with (who had no prior experience) who got "broked" into buying multiple units and many that bought singles simply to flip on - between 2000 and 2005 for the agents it was like a feeding frenzy - largely buyers were being regarded as "suckers" who would believe almost anything you told them in order to secure "the last" available penthouse in the block. I do not categorise you thus. The sharks in this frenzy were generally British selling to British. If people spend £500 on a television they generally do more than 5 minutes research - why then is that when people were spending several hundred thousand Euros on a property did they not do the same other than believe the people flogging them the property.


Smiley -

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08 Aug 2009 13:34 by Poppyseed Star rating. 892 posts Send private message

Following this thread with interest reading the different views and perspectives, now here is my four penneth worth.....

We nearly lost all our money that we had worked all our lives for and we are too old to recoup such losses. We thought everything was fine, the builder was apparantly reputable and had bank guarantees, the British agents had won awards and we had a Spanish lawyer. In 2004 all these property scams, town hall corruption, dodgy lawyers were not a well known fact and we trusted that our lawyer would safeguard our interests. It's a long tale but when it came to signing we had 3 days of the developer saying they were going to keep our money and our house because  we had breached the contract (which was not true, infact the house was 3 years late in being delivered even though all tage payments had been made). Those 3 days were the worst of my life, I cannot describe the despair and anxiety that we went through, it made me very ill. Eventually it was sorted, not completely to our satisfaction but we got the house even though it wasn't as it was supposed to be. The lawyer had a lot to do with the bad situation we found ourselves in. I cannot begin to imagine the nightmare some people are now going through.

As far as I am concerned anyone who pays a lawyer to protect their interests whether they are greedy speculators, stupid or just ordinary folk who suddenly found they could afford a little piece of paradise should be protected by that lawyer, that is what the lawyer is being paid for and when everything else in the system is rotten the one person who should be above reproach and with unquestionable integrity is the lawyer. When buying in a foreign country with different systems and language the lawyer is the most important person in the chain, he/she knows they have the trust of the client and that trust should not be abused. Let's also not forget that when many of these cases started the scandals and abuses were not known and people had no reason to think they were being tricked, and how did they know if they had a good lawyer or were being shafted?

I blame the lawyers.

Regards, Poppyseed


This message was last edited by Poppyseed on 08/08/2009.



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08 Aug 2009 13:51 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2478 posts Send private message

Smiley´s avatar

Agree wholeheartedly with you Poppyseed - I am assuming the agent was Ocean Estates - can I ask who the lawyer is and how you found them? Usually Ocean used to walk clients just around the corner - it was almost like a production line at Fords - but they did introduce to several other lawyers as well.


Smiley -

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08 Aug 2009 16:06 by Gillespie Star rating in Costa Calida Area. 608 posts Send private message

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I am not convinced that any profession in any country can be above reproach as poppyseed suggests.

To expect such things is like expecting never to be mugged in the street, or never be run-over by a drunk driver.

Yes, as children we can be forgiven for expecting such a perfect world, however, as we grow up and become more mature through experiences, we quickly find out that not only do our parents have faults, but so did our teachers, priests and politicians, to name but a few.

So, to expect the legal profession in a virtual third world European country to be the only profession to exhibit flawless services and ethics is a little worrying.

The legal profession in the UK is full of ambulance chasers, just look at the advertising, now permitted for law firms, do they use this new advertising medium to promote their excellent, ethical standards, or do they use it soley for promoting accident claims just like lawyers in the states??

We claim to live in a world were the population is far more savvy and well informed, unfortunately, that is only true of the people who are savvy and well informed, we still, however, have a similar percentage of less savvy, less informed as the pre internet generation.


Business advice and consultancy - Visit

Calida in2 Business - Spanish Property Clearance.

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08 Aug 2009 16:25 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2478 posts Send private message

08 Aug 2009 16:55 by Gillespie Star rating in Costa Calida Area. 608 posts Send private message

08 Aug 2009 18:49 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2478 posts Send private message

10 Aug 2009 09:53 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1636 posts Send private message


I agree with you. most people I know buying in Spain when we did knew full well that they needed to employ an expert in Spanish law and buying procedure, much as they would in the UK. They went to a  UK agent dealing in Spanish property, took much agent speak with a pinch of salt, checked out the current prices for themselves, watched the market, then bought when it looked right.  Because most people are aware many agents are full of s**t, they employed a lawyer to see through the pitfalls as they would buying property in the UK.  Had most of us known that the regulation and justice was so poor in Spain that we could not rely on a lawyer, a planning office, or even the whole justice system to have integrity then no, we wouldn't have touched it with a bargepole. There is no excuse for those in a position of legal trust not to be held responsible for lies and betrayal of trust. They are the crooks and should be treated as such. To try and shift any of their blame on to those conned by them is giving some credability to dishonest liars, and the Spanish justice system often follows a similar line of thought sadly. It's wrong, and most of us see that for what it is.

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10 Aug 2009 10:34 by Tish Star rating in Surrey. 833 posts Send private message

Excellent post Goodstich. Agree whole-heartedly. We certainly were not buying to ...make money, flip, let it out to all and sundry, see the value rise beyond belief ..and we were only buying 1 after doing plenty of research. The one thing we did not forsee were crooked Lawyers waiting to rip us off! Silly us!!! Neither the "White Whale " or "Malaya" case had even been heard of at the time of our purchase. The brown envelope syndrome was carrying on quite acceptably then unbeknown to all but those involved in it.

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10 Aug 2009 12:20 by normansands Star rating in Kent. 1281 posts Send private message

Dear All,


Thank you Poppyseed, goodstich and Tish, but are you wasting your efforts, I fear you will never persuade the “hungry traders” that you are not child-like trading fodder with no savvy, who left their brains on the plane when buying in the third world country which is Spain, for the foreseeable future, apparently.


The four criminals involved led by the lawyer, the agent, the developer and the mortgage broker all deny any responsibility for their actions, each one could have warned us victims but did not, because we are unfortunates who suffer from all the above plus of course full Rusty Nail SHEER STUPIDITY and do not deserve any warning or sympathy.


The lawyer claims he is only a lawyer dealing with routine Land Registry paperwork and is certainly not an estate agent, developer or mortgage broker, so is not responsible. Planning Permission??? What’s that???

The agent cannot issue any warning because he acts only for the seller and cannot be responsible for passing on what he knows – it would undermine his client and be bad for business.

The developer claims he can do it again to specification as he has done it before and shows you an example of a successful development completed with no mention that is under threat of demolition over insignificant details like planning permission.

The mortgage broker is giving you a cheap deal because he receives commission/kudos from the bank for the introduction of new fodder. Any warning from him would be very bad business – not to be contemplated until later when he reveals all in the book he is planning of his experiences of us stupid purchasers.


So there you have it, they all knew, conspired together to keep it from us and teach us a valuable lesson in trading protocol.


Well, I for one am a good deal wiser and am looking for positive proof of justice before parting with any more pennies.






N. Sands

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10 Aug 2009 13:47 by Smiley Star rating in San Pedro de Alcanta.... 2478 posts Send private message

Smiley´s avatar

I had decided not to waste any more of my time responding to you Normansands but i am guessing that the fourth crook in the line of fire (the mortgage broker) is a dig aimed at me.

We never gave anyone a cheap deal - in fact we lost business as we werent the cheapest on the block but the one thing we could guarantee was that we were independent. In seven years we have never had a client that has completed using our services tell us that we were not good value for money (in fact a couple that told us they thought for what they got we very cheap - and one of those had tried using 2 other brokers prior to us) - that continues today and is perhaps one of the reasons why 75% of our business comes from personal recommendation from previous clients and without doubt why we are still in business, while so many have folded. If you look around this forum there are a few on various development sites etc that have posted - wouldnt make any difference to you of course, but we actually have quite a few letters and e mails of appreciation for going beyond the course of duty in terms of sorting out lawyers for a client and getting them to remember who is paying their bill etc.

In fact if you bothered to ask rather than make veiled insults you would know that we actually lost a contract with O Estates in 2003 because we refused to tell clients what Ocean wanted us to tell them rather than give them best advice - things such as appoint an independent lawyer (one chosen by the client not by the agent). We would also tell them to not place their reservation deposit until having a meeting with their lawyer or at very least a discussion. We would also point out the possible pitfalls of off plan in that a developer could actually change things in the final layout of an urbanisation - such as the entrance to a garage being moved owing to geological factors - someone who didnt want the constant grind of the automatic doors all night might find that mildly irritating. We were not considered a great sales aid by OE and so for some strange reason we were no longer welcome in their offices. In fact when we tendered for the contract with two of the other main brand names when they were looking for a new broker we were rejected owing to the fact we preferred to tell clients how it is rather than their choice of fable.

We did not point out the fact that Marbella Town Hall was issuing illegal licences because like you we did not know - to a large extent neither did the banks. Immediately the regional Government issued the directive (in 2005) that "Silencio" would no longer be acceptable as a statute that LFO was legal, we started advising clients NOT to complete purely based on that. We actually lost 2 introducers of business in the form of lawyers as their argument that silencio was a statute and could not be simply disregarded conflicted with first our opinion and second the result of long discussions with Halifax ES legal team. Hence if it wasnt good enough for them then it wasnt good enough for us. We also lost contracts with 3 developers as we would recommend clients not to complete without the official LFO - despite contiuing disagreement with lawyers (some of whom are actually friends) that the regional govt was breaking the law. Our view being simply enough - if nobody can provide a cast iron 100% guarantee - written - of who is right and who is wrong then there is enough of a grey area to send out warning signals. Believe you me there is still a school of thought that the regional Govt has broken the law.

I used to think that everyone must be very very brave to purchase off plan (and for most people I think that still to be the case). I have openly stated that I could never do it because for me it is simply too much risk. I saw what happened in the UK in the late 80s/early 90s with friends losing their shirt (and in one case an acquaintance took his own life). That had nothing to do with illegal build - simply that one has no control over when property markets will rise or fall so too much risk for me as one could not dictate when the property would be complete. Add in to the mix this was in Spain. Thus I do believe that most were very brave to take that giant leap of faith that something would look exactly like the artists impression and the golf course would be completed etc. HOWEVER I HAVE NOW COME TO REALISE IN THE LAST FEW DAYS THAT THERE WERE SOME THAT WERE EXTREMELY NAIVE AND POSSIBLY STUPID WHEN BEING LET LOOSE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WITH MONEY BURNING A HOLE IN THEIR POCKET.

I hope you get whatever justice it is you are looking for and I suspect that Spains other grey areas would always give you something to complain about as there is a sense of resignation from those that live here to potential injustices such as overcharging by utilities providers that I doubt you would ever come to terms with so I would concur with you that it is probably best not to waste any more of your pennies here.


Smiley -

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