Taking The Developer To Court - Jan's Story

Published on 10/14/2007 in Buying Process

El PinetIn 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. 

These were:

  • 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.


Written by: Jan Don

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Jane said:
Friday, December 11, 2009 @ 11:20 AM

Hi Jan,

I'm in the same position with an apartment in El Pinet, I've tried solicitors and failed, could I get the details of your solicitor to make yet another attempt.

Many thanks, Jane

Janey said:
Friday, December 11, 2009 @ 11:20 AM

Hi Jan,

I'm in the same position with an apartment in El Pinet, I've tried solicitors and failed, could I get the details of your solicitor to make yet another attempt.

Many thanks, Jane

madhushah53 said:
Friday, March 7, 2008 @ 12:14 PM

Hi Jan
I have a court case on the 31st March with the builder cancelling the contract as they ahev delayed the completion. I was quite hopeful until I read your story.
I will let you know of the outcome is.

bestsisters said:
Monday, March 3, 2008 @ 8:19 PM

Could you please help me; I am in the same situation as yours. Could you please provide me the contact information of your solicitor, as I cannot find a good lawyer. My e-mail address is moscars@hotmail.co.uk. Could you please send me the contact information on this address. I would very much appreciate it. Many thanks.

vanessa1 said:
Monday, December 3, 2007 @ 12:26 PM

Hi Seanw

Did you have any looking with Suing for your deposit back? We have bought with San Jose our property was supposed to be completed in May 2007. We want our deposit back also but not having much luck. Looks like we are going to have to take the to court.

seanw said:
Wednesday, November 7, 2007 @ 1:13 PM


I have been trying to get my money back on an offplan that hasn't started and have had enough and intend suing. Looking for a good lawyer....

Glenys Green said:
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 @ 9:03 PM

Hi Jan, we put a deposit on a property in San Juan de los Terreros that was supposed to start in early 2003 or we got 2 x deposit back.
They hadn't got a license and didn't look like ever starting, but when we told our solicitor to get back what we were due, they said that the developers, refused and it would cost more to take them to court than we would get back.
In July 2003 we put a deposit on a villa on Agua Nueva near Turre, that was to be finished in 24 months . After many delays this finaly got started. 24 months later they still hadn't got the building license that our solicitor had said they had.
Every month since the finish date the villa was only 1 month or 2 weeks away from being finished.It is now 51 months ( 27 months late )and we have demanded our money back plus the 6% interest as Spanis law says we are due.
You guessed it they rarely answer our calls or E-mails and its going to take a lot of time and money to get my 50% stake back.
It doen't seem to matter what the law says, you just try and inforce it. We Britt's, being used to developers and solicitors at home are sitting ducks, and up until recently we were arriving in droves thinking we were dealing with a country with some sort of law and order.
Maybe it's just not our sort of law and order.

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