Bulgarian Dreams Rescue Seminar

The following has been posted on OC’s blog on Bulgarian Dreams. I’m posting it here for those who may have been clients of Bulgarian Dreams and may be interested in participating.

Re: Bulgarian Dreams Rescue Seminar London 21/2/09

Hi

I feel it is important to give people some feedback to a Seminar I attended on 21/2/09 with 23 other Bulgarian Dreams purchasers and The International Law Partnership LLP Solicitors.

This was following information posted on the BBC Watchdog website and advice given by the AIPP.

Just to make things clear this post is advice only. I am a purchaser in Phase 3 of The Orchard, Bansko who is at a loss as to what to do next following Bulgarian Dreams collapse. I am not an agent/promoter or legal representative but just an individual that has invested a large sum of money that seemingly has been lost or so I thought.

I found this seminar both enlightening and concerning but ultimately has given me some hope that I may be able to persue legal proceedings against either the now defunct Bulgarian Dreams or their associated Building Developers.

There was a turnout of 23 people plus a further 13 that couldn’t attend all of which have invested in Bulgarian Dreams Developments throughout Bulgaria including The Orchard myself.

Mr John Howell (Senior Partner) and Ms Lyubov Jones (Bulgarian Solicitor) held this seminar at their offices in London and are going to act on our behalf as a collective in the first instance and then as individual groups following their initial findings in 6 weeks time.

They have asked each person attending to post on as many relevant websites/forums that we use to get other owners in a similar situation to contact them and to instruct them to act on their behalf.

There is a fee but this will be reduced the more people that instruct them.

If you are in a similar situation as we are whether it be Phase 1 full payment made, awaiting Act 15 or initial deposit on an apartment in Phase 3 there is still hope and options but you must act quickly.

There is too much to explain from the meeting to put in this post surfice to say the longer we sit on our hands and hope for the best the worse it will get.

I hope this helps in some way.

Good Luck

Mark

The International Law Partnership LLP contact emails are

Mr John Howell pe@lawoverseas.com
Ms Lyubov Jones lmj@lawoverseas.com
Hanneri Swanepoel hsw@lawoverseas.com

Website lawoverseas.com

And so Bulgarian Dreams becomes, for its unfortunate investors, Bulgarian Nightmares.

Sunday Times piece -

I am a reporter for the Sunday Times Property section and I am trying to get in touch with people who have lost money they invested in Bulgarian Dreams developments. If you have been affected, please get in touch with me by emailing anna.mikhailova@sunday-times.co.uk - your help would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Best wishes,

Anna Mikhailova

You could also try to find such investors here - askaboutmoney.com/forumdisplay.php?f=56

I also unfortuantely got caught up with Bulgarian Dreams and have been warning others about them through my website at thetravelbug.org since.

I began searching for property in Bulgaria in early 2004. I had initially wanted to invest in a property in a ski resort and had looked at various options from Austria, to Canada to Slovenia but eventually I settled on Bulgaria and Bansko in particular as it seemed to offer a decent standard of skiing, had a new lift system and a proper town, not just a purpose built resort. My research began as most people’s does - browsing the internet and trailing through hundreds of websites viewing property details. Around August 2004 I received an email from Bulgarian Dreams, who were just launching a new development right by the main gondola in Bansko and with five star facilities. I phoned the agent to discuss the development in more detail and requested floor plans. I was told there were only a couple of apartments left in my price range and so I would need to act quickly and reserve an apartment to avoid missing out on this amazing deal.

And I hate to admit it, but I got caught up in all the hype and put down a deposit on a 60 sqm 2 room apartment at around 1,100 Euros/sqm. It then took at least 2 weeks for the agents to send out the contract and even then there were numerous mistakes in the contract. I had already agreed with the developer through Bulgarian Dreams that they would covert one bathroom into a kitchen and would fit this within the agreed price but this was not mentioned in the contract. There was no management contract at this stage either. But stupidly I handed over the 30% deposit. I then visited the development in October 2004 and found that it was much further away than the ski lift than stated, my kitchen was still a bathroom and my town view was of the next door block!

I battled on for the next few months trying to get answers to queries, sort out figures to go on the notary deeds, get confirmation as to what was included…and got nowhere. I had by now started corresponding with a number of other buyers in the same development and we all had various concerns and unanswered queries. Then we were informed that despite paying an astronomical maintenance charge we would have to pay extra for use of the spa facilities when the development had been advertised as having 5 star facilities and many of us buying in the block felt we had been misled into believing the spa facilities were included. I was also told by the developer that if I wished to have the full purchase price on the notary deed, I would have to pay a further 20% in VAT. There were many unanswered concerns and the only response I could get from Bulgarian Dreams was that I should contact the developer.

By this stage I knew I had made a huge mistake and that the apartment was not a good investment and there were far too many discrepancies and ignored emails and letters raising various questions. Eventually after much negotiation (or lack of it with the agent) it was agreed I could sell the apartment privately to cover my costs prior to completion. This proved harder than expected with the huge number of new build apartments in the ski resorts and coastal regions and high maintenance charges and added extras!

Then it transpired that the developer was refusing to fit the kitchen (it would of course cost extra!) but the agent refused to take up my case or support me to get what I had agreed to purchase, despite the fact that I had proof in emails and writing that the agent had agreed with the developer that a kitchen would be fitted. In fact I was told that due to my behaviour Bulgarian Dreams would have nothing more to do with me and I was even threatened with legal action for discussing the purchase with other people also buying in the same development. Pure bullying tactics from a large agency.

But I refused to give in and eventually through direct correspondence with the developer and by visiting their offices in Sofia, I managed to get 2/3’s of my deposit back, but Bulgarian Dreams refused to refund the additional 6000 euros they had made as commission.

They refused to answer emails or letters and I eventually wrote a letter before action requesting my money back or I would sue. This was ignored. I then made an official complaint to Trading Standards and was advised to write again, which I did to no avail. I then put the matter into the small claims court. The agent left it until the last possible day to file an acknowledgement and then said they intended to contest the court jurisdiction. Again they left it late to file their application and then refused to pay the fee required. Eventually they paid the fee and the director of the company put in a statement requesting the case be moved to London because they were such a small firm he could not afford a day out the office! This is despite Trading Standards being told that all three directors of the company were out of the country so could not respond to queries and the agency having offices in London and Bulgaria and advertising extensively in large newspapers and at homebuyers shows. The judge dismissed their application and I received judgment against Bulgarian Dreams and shortly afterwards they sent me a cheque for the amount claimed.

Trading Standards eventually decided not to prosecute. They said they gave the issue much thought and basically had really wanted to take it further but agents selling abroad fall into a loop hole in UK law where they are not caught by either the Property Misdescriptions Act, which does not cover property outside the UK, or the Trade Descriptions Act, which does not cover land and property. Therefore until the law changes agents can get away with totally mis-selling property with no real recourse.

I have written an EBook about my experiences above which you can purchase at my website and for more on various court cases and problems with Bulgarian Dreams visit this blog and visit the offplancollective forum.

thetravelbug, have you thought aout giving away the ebook as a mechanism to promote your business.

not sure it would really help, as people tend to have already found my website as listed quite highly in search engines for Bulgarian Dreams etc. And I donate portion of sale price to dog rescue I support in Bulgaria.

That is precisely where you should post this kind of material . The sites that helped sell these properties especially during 2004-2007 are where you are most likely to find the victims. With the exception of auto320 everybody who correctly warned against property selling scams on askaboutmoney was banned as far as I can see.

The Pin was not one of those sites and we do not really want to become an advice site for victims of property scams that we clearly warned against all along .

In fairness we didn’t at the time because the pin was inaugurated in Summer 2006 (High Bubble) and thusly, the horse and barn stable door had long bolted… :unamused:

yes I was banned from askaboutmoney and have just been banned from moneysavingexpert as well from trying to advice properly on Bulgaria

Has anyone ever dealt with an irish company that develops in Bulgaria called West Incorporated? Are they ok to deal with?