Wednesday, January 31, 2007

BBC Real Story: Pain in Spain

Just watched the BBC 1 programme Real Story, with a report entitled "Pain in Spain" (how do they think them up?).

It detailed some of the all too familiar horror stories that many expats seem to experience after following their dream of moving to Spain.

Illegally built homes, for example: residents on a development built near the popular town of Albox, are pulling their hair out, since - surprise, surprise - the project never had permission from the town hall. Therefore they enjoy no street lighting, no roads, no mains water and the ever present threat of demolition. Not exactly a stress free retirement.

The majority of the residents are UK expats and most used the lawyer that the developer Procoal recommended. So no conflict of interest there then.

The Beeb hack dutifully tracked down the Procoal MD at his offices for a showdown. They couldn't have been in and out faster if the office had a revolving door. A piss poor impression of Roger Cooke and an Adios later they were back on the street.

By the way Procoal are still advertising, so you have been warned!

Healthcare was also on the agenda: retired couples found that they were not entitled to coverage under the Spanish state health service until the age of 65. The rub is, that the UK will not afford them healthcare after 2 years of residency abroad. So that leaves a lot of retirees, stuck between a rock and a hard place, having to cough up for private healthcare. Ouch!

Complaints were also aired about the lack of out-patient and social care. Whilst commonplace services in the UK, Spain sees these more as responsibilities of the family. "But my sons live in Australia" complained one old guy.

Whilst I wouldn't wish the above problems on my worst enemy (OK, maybe my worst enemy) - I am constantly astounded by the incredible lack of judgement people show when making some of the most profound, expensive and life changing decisions.

Where is the healthy dose of skepticism Brits usually reserve for any slick suited salesman?

Where is the fastidious research that normally precedes a weekend in Filey, let alone a lifetime in a foreign clime?

Good sense appears to be wined, dined then royally shafted by an unoriginal mix of naivety and seductive marketing.

I hope this programme (along with the endless similar press stories) shakes those contemplating a move abroad out of their reverie, and forces them to really do their homework.

But then what do I know? I landed here with about 25 quid and wide eyed optimism. So shut up Millsbomb.

Read more here. And if you missed it, keep an eye out on BBC News 24 for a repeat.


Batarro said...

I invite you that you come to know us and know the "true story" of many satisfied xpats.

0034 950121229

Anonymous said...

Hello Millsbomb, can I ask are you, as a very happy Procoal customer, are you prepared to allow me and the many other happy clients who have posted their emails of support on Procoals website the opportunity to tell the Real Story? Or are you going to accept the word of a rather pathetic individual, with his own particular agenda, and some gutter journalism by the BBC to be perpetuated?
One of the homes pointed out as illegal by Mr Preston (without my permission) was mine, a fully legal, quality home. Is it not strange that the only person who has mentioned bulldozing or the legality of my home is Bob Preston. If you are going to set yourself up as some sort of voice for the Expat community, please get your facts straight. At the end of the day Bob Preston, or as he liked to be called, "Uncle Bob", (please feel free to accent as Rowan Atkinson in his role as Blackadder), has described himself as a "Bloody Numbty" and you, it would appear are willing to accept his, lies half truths and scurrilous remarks as Gospel. Please, by all means tell us what is going on BUT GET IT RIGHT!!

Anonymous said...

Fair play to you Millsbomb. I did'nt think you would show my previous. More strength to you! Thanks for allowing me to put the real facts of the matter out there.

Mal Jones said...

Hehehe I think you rattled a few cages at Procoal villas............
Now what happened to updating your Las Vegas post ?

Anonymous said...

we paid a deposit on one of these villas nearly eight years ago but wouldnt pay any more until they had all the legal paper work. Every few months they would tell us it wont be long now so we stuck it out.Unfortunatly last year we had to say enough was enough as we needed a home for our daughter who had finished boarding school. My husband works in Saudi and we have accomadation here but our daughter isnt allowed to live with us. I wrote to procoal explaining this and told them we would have to buy else where, they said we could have our deposit back once they had sold the villa but guess what we havent heard from them since. I have sent them loads of emails but get nothing back, I have even gone on there inspection trip website asking them to contact me but guess what nothing.