Disadvantages of joining “action groups” or “buyers groups”

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Disadvantages of joining “action groups” or “buyers groups”

Postby Admin » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:04 am

Dear Buyers,

In the last 1-2 years we have noted that many buyers or owners overseas may have been invited to participate in various online “property action groups” or “buyers (owners) action groups”, set-up in internet websites and subject of aggressive advertisement, with their proclaimed official point to serve and protect the interests of all its members when it comes to delayed Bulgarian developments, for achieving further completion, or already performed transfers of installments to foreign agents for buying properties in Bulgaria. Or at least proclaiming “common actions” for protection of the members common interests. Few of these online "action groups" present public info by local courts about decisions, but at the end of the day these "action groups" can not make your situation any better, instead of organizing couple "seminars" (PAID), where they can not offer to you anything different but to appoint a meeting with DESIGNATED BY THEM (against commission) Bulgarian lawyer. Thousands of buyers, other kind of investors or owners in delayed complexes, who were experiencing issues with their purchases have already joined such “action groups” or “buyers/owners groups”, believing that without spending more cash for their own protection, some unknown person who manages such communities, will solve their issues and they will benefit from this. We will give you brief analysis of such online-communities and will try our best to explain to you in simple words, on the base of our personal experience as property professional of such former “action groups” why this is not possible at all – so then you can make your conclusions for yourself:
1) /FORMING/SETTING UP: “Action groups” or “buyers / owners groups” or other similar internet-communities have always been formed abroad but not in Bulgaria where the actual problems of its members have occurred and are progressing, unfortunately. EXAMPLE: Forming your own Bulgarian property action group in Alaska and discussing for months on meetings there the problems occurred with your Bulgarian property purchase does not help you at all. Please try to collect official information and documents about delayed complexes in Morocco, for example - you won't be able to via internet. Then what makes you think that the owner of such "action group" can, while they live in your neighboring town? Usually there is no direct connection between the participants of group and a person who can deal with the problems on the spot, where the problems are growing. This is always done by purpose by the owners of these groups, so they could play intermediary roles and charge the members fee against the information they dig and collect. EXAMPLE: If the company-seller declares bankruptcy at the Bulgarian Companies House, the members of the foreign group have no way to learn about it ever and they will be piggin’ in the middle for long time after... Another example - some of the buyers of complex near the Kavarna, called “Windows to Paradise” have presumably yet not learnt that local bank has already got the apartments they have paid fully for, but they have never received, once the seller, holding hands together with the agent Bulgarian Dreams have already vanished from the frame in unknown direction with the buyers’ hard-earned money.
2) MANAGERS/ADMINS of such property action groups, who have found it easily to burden other buyers with their own problems, instead of finding proper solution (i.e., good Bulgarian lawyer to go there and to deal personally with the problem in order to find appropriate solution): The “very helpful” person who usually manages with their laptop such action groups overseas, i.e. the non-official “representative” of the members, is always a person just like themselves who claims “Lets get united and with our mutual common efforts we will reach our goals!!!” - a foreign individual (buyer or owner), who has previously been misled just like the other ones to invest in the respective problematic investment. And very important - they are non-education in Law, like Mrs. Pamela / Pamella East who officially or unofficialy offers "advise" to people in her "Bulgarian Property Action Group". Against "small membership fee", of course. The anonimous Admin of the group stays in front of their computer abroad (while they should be all the time on the line at the local Bulgarian Authorities, collecting information about the hundred members’ problems) – such person is not obliged in writing in anyway to the members of the group – technically they couldn't step together with the developer about what is happening up to date with the delayed complex, the company-seller or with the other important facts – just because the Admin is not on the spot in Bulgaria; or even if they do so, they are not qualified neither experienced to deal with these problems asap. The Admin never has any knowledge of Bulgarian Law and they never could obtain the relevant valuable information at local Institutions needed to help the members of the group. All the Admin can do, is to raise questions to the members, like “Is the developer going to fulfill their obligations with this new proposed investment plan, what do you think?” – Questions that take you view away from the fact that these Admins haven't done anything to help you, and questions that could be answered against 100-200 Euro by any practicing Bulgarian property solicitor. Remember: everything in Bulgaria is DOCUMENTS and nothing but DOCUMENTS. EXAMPLE: Foreign Owners group is requiring to receive their fully paid apartments in Bansko, via new Title Deeds for ownership, but legally, nobody instead of the seller could obtain the needed documents and to manage transfer of the apartments.
Admins of property action groups miss the important facts or information which can be collected by the qualified professional ONLY in Bulgaria. Please do not expect from the Admin of the group to enter your complex into exploitation, to achieve full refund by local developer on your behalf or to negotiate penalties/discounts of the purchase price – just because the Admins or the representatives of your group have not obliged in writing to you in anyway, so their proclaimed as “free” efforts and time to “help” the members always has risen to me some questions. Just like when such Admin requires fees for consulting the members, or the fact of Bulgarian solicitor, presented to buyers by the seller and offering free conveyance, rises some questions in my mind.
And now all the members of such group wait, wait, wait and expect this Admin or Representative, to resolve quickly and for free their individual problems… No, thanks, I’d pass. All these Admins do, is to recommend certain local solicitors instead of doing personally the legal job (because they can not to do it at all).
3) MEMBERS: Such groups unite many buyers/investors or owners from different nationalities, culture, interests and requirements. It is not possible to manage 50 or 100 different people, where one wants to receive their investment back, other wants to get the apartment with significant discount, and in the same time third member tries to re-sell and forth is experiencing problems with their annual maintenance fees. Bear that such united group of members is not a factory and communicating with lots of people about their own problems requires time. Which time is always against the members – in the mean time local sellers stop work and disappear with the buyers’ or owners’ money; foreign property agents vanish with the buyers’ commissions leaving these piggin’ in the middle of nowhere, etc. On the other hand, all members could be united, but please wait and see what happens when it comes to paying money for specific actions to be done, (consider further investments by each member to be made) half of the members pull out or start arguing about it, etc. Which events do not support the goals of a group, and meanwhile time passes in the meantime against the members’ interests.
4) TIME/ONE STEP BEHIND THE DEVELOPERS: Such groups are always formed for years – mainly we presume that the results of such groups is saving time of 1-2 years for the local developer and the foreign agents to vanish and as well to miss the short civil terms per the Bulgarian Law for protection of the investors’ interests in local BULGARIAN institutions. And yet every member waits for something to happen – they share unclear public information, or e-mails that somebody has received from developers or third parties (bear e-mails have very weak legal force in Bulgaria), but nobody moves a finger to protect the individual interests of each member of such group. Publishing the decisions of Bulgarian Court won't help the members of the group - but only Bulgarian Lawyer can. If you intend to get united and complete the development, you can not find the missing building documentation of your complex in Internet. And while all the members wait for something to happen, in the meantime local sellers go bankrupt (and then the investors’ money is lost forever); local banks get the mortgaged complexes; building documentation gets lost and the complex can never get Act 16; or in the less painful way, the rental company makes their rental profit without paying to the owners for using their apartments.
5) MONEY: Note Bulgaria is not different than your own country - here everything happens with MONEY. Just because your property action group has been formed in internet for free, of you are free member it does not mean that you may avoid hiring local Bulgarian solicitor to deal with the matters discussed in the property action group where you are participating. Even if the Admin requires payment for joining the group, or if such is asked on a later stage for certain actions to be done “to help you collect information”, it does not guarantee they will solve the members’ problems. EXAMPLE: Group of buyers in a complex in Nesebar have been forced in their internet group by the seller to pay additionally to get their deeds, but once they paid additional 2000 Euros per person, getting their deeds never happened. Another example - Pamela East from "Bulgarian property action group" collects public information from websites like ours, or from Bulgarian solicitors, and then meets individual members of her group and sells to them this info for 105 GBP. Where do we know this from? - Simple answer - People complained.
The representatives or the Admins of such groups are usually not qualified lawyer, for example - Pamela East from "Bulgarian Property Action Group", who has MBA in Psyhology. Smashing advantage when it comes to dealing with delayed complexes. Even if they were foreign lawyers, they are not entitled to advise per the Bulgarian Law and they have no knowledge of it so they can’t help. This is why, at the end of the day they always recommend hire local Bulgarian solicitor to collect information from him, where is the key point – ONLY a qualified property professional lawyer may advise appropriately, and yet to have the knowledge, professionalism and the time to advise the hundreds of different matters of the hundreds different owners. What she currently does, once collected huge members (i.e. trustful buyers) in her online group, is to organize seminars, PAID seminars, where she advertizes to the members (against commission fee) a certain Bulgarian lawyer. Well, should the developer offer a lawyer against commission to you, or should the online action group offer a lawyer against commission to you, still the same warnings should turn on the red light to you. Such good property lawyers in Bulgaria that I know, I can count on the fingers of my two hands. Believe us, for a single member of such group, it always ends like this - somebody tires to make more money and commissions on your poor frauded back.
6) The “GROUP ACTIONS”, THAT MOSTLY END UP WITH PAID SEMINARS UNFORTUNATELY. Most action groups via their Admins or Representatives, use to mislead its members that “common actions” or “group claims” in order to cut expenses, are available in Bulgarian civil courts, and in their non-qualified eyes this should save to the members of the group (and to them as well) further expenses for legal representation. So they unite hundreds of people and slowly-slowly put them “on hold” (until they negotiate with local Bulgarian Lawyer about their own commission for bringing so many new clients for him, and get the lawyer to participate in some "seminars", paid of course for the members of the group). Don't ask again how do we know this, better ask Pamela East from the BPAG - if she had any idea of the Bulgarian Law and how to protect people, she would not ask Bulgarian lawyer to perform seminars for the members of her group. Unfortunately in Bulgaria it is not technically possible to prepare such a claim that will unite cases by different parties (i.e. physical individuals), about different amounts, with different terms and deadlines for non-performance of their different-date signed contracts, with different proofs of payments, and at the end – claims for different amounts of money. Even if anybody tries to enter such a claim, the court devides it to separate claims by each buyer/owner. The 1st one who proves to me there is pending group case in any local Bulgarian court, I’ll represent them for free, I promise. On the other hand, if there is a local lawyer who may deal at the same time with 30+ different cases against discounted fee of 500 Euros per case for example – then you can make the conclusions for any expected positive outcome for each of the cases, for yourself.
DEVELOPING OF SUCH ONLINE GROUPS: The long term members of such groups usually realise that the public point of these groups slightly changes from time to time. Initially most of them offer to make contact with local lawyers (sometimes they recommend Bulgarian lawyers - even our forum has been recommended by the Bulgarian Property Action Group and Pamela East in the spring of 2010, until we found out that she is stealing info from us and seling it to her members), then they offer "advice and consultation", later they concentrate on publishing news from Bulgaria and placing adds on their website...Why their goal changes, have the problems of the buyers who have joined in the group, changed at all??? No, it is always performance and non-performance, it is always pursuing a court case and execution procedures. Our conclusion is that such permanent changes in the subject of these property action groups and placing google adds is only to catch in the net more potential trustfull members who would pay for "vauable information" and for "maintening the website". You could ask yourself a simple question - how can we develop a respected forum and place documents without asking for membership fees and without placing google adds, but others can't? We think we all realise the answer of this question.
7) HIDDEN BOARDS/DISCUSSIONS: The managers/admins of such online “action groups” or “owner groups” always make their discussions private and hidden for the public – namely so nobody can blame them eventually for misleading the members with useless information and to avoid a situation where a third party may discover that these admins are completely non-competent, non-educated, non-qualified etc. to instruct or advise hundreds of people, or even to share information, where they have never moved a finger to actually help the members, resp. they were only harming people’s interests with their lack of cooperation. Just ask yourself – what could be so important to be hidden from the public? We all know the complex has been delayed or abandoned, and we all know the developer does not have funds to complete, so you will either negotiate with the developer or sue them. So why is all this mistery and secret discussion boards needed only about the "common actions" to be done? These possible actions are all detailed in the local Civil Code which is public book here (just like the UK one) – everybody can read though it, and to hire a local lawyer to protect them in court. Nothing secret so far…Or maybe the Admins of the online action group want to ensure the developer won't find out about them and their uncertain "common legal actions"? Believe us - online action groups are the last problem to occur for developers who have already delayed completion of their complexes...They got bigger problems instead of digging in internet to see what people have been advised.
In conclusion, remember that joining foreign “property action groups” or “buyers / owners groups” set up online, almost never serves the common interests of the members of such property action group, but mostly serves private interests of couple individuals – mainly of the person who has set-up the action group (to make some money as compensation for their own mistakes in the past), or the developer/property broker who inj some cases strangely always gets in touch on time with the group and delays the actions against him for 1-2 years until sell everything, close the company-seller or vanish abroad abandoning the property agency. So instead of joining such Bulgarian property action groups please get in contact with trusted property professional Bulgarian solicitor and ask them for period of only 2 weeks to collect and obtain the needed information (Bulgaria is small country so it is possible) instead of waiting in front of your computer 1-2 years for some help in internet by Reps or Admins who you do not even know, who you are not in contract with, but who make money on your back (especially with paid seminars and partner lawyers on commission fee) and who on the base of their lack of competence, non-education, lack of knowledge and lack of practice in the Bulgarian Laws, only harm your interests with their wrong moves.

Bulgariandeals Team

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