Ripoff Report VIP Arbitration Program
Savvaidis & Associates,
Lynda Harrison & David Oliver,
Rip-Off Report No.: 438193
Complainant, Savvaidis & Associates, has challenged the truthfulness of certain statements (each, a Statement) initially posted by Author on the Ripoff Report website at www.ripoffreport.com on March 27, 2009, Ripoff Report Nos.: 438193, 634392 and 632996 (the Report). Both the Complainant and the Author (together, the Parties) have agreed to submit the dispute to the Ripoff Report VIP Arbitration.
Each Statement challenged by the Complainant has been considered, together with any Witness Statements and Documents provided by the Complainant and the Author, for determination of the truth or falsity of the Statement. Under the Ripoff Report VIP Arbitration Rules each Report is presumed to be true unless rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence means a showing that a challenged statement is more likely false than it is true.
Each challenged Statement is reiterated below together with the Arbitrators comments and ruling:
1. Statement: Savvaidis & Associates sold the Author, using its own lawyers, a house with nonbuilding compliance and without plans.
Discussion: The parties dispute the role of Savvaidis & Associates. The evidence indicates that Savvaidis & Associates served as a real estate agent in the transaction, not the seller. The attorney has submitted a statement indicating that she was the attorney for the Author, not Savvaidis & Associates. The listing of the property states that the structure when built will have two floors. When built the home had three floors, according to the Author, causing the structure to be out of compliance with applicable laws, resulting in a penalty. Plans were to be provided by the builder, not Savvaidis & Associates, acting as the agent.
Ruling: I find this statement false.
2. Statement: Call to say we would have to have an additional floor due to the height of the retaining walls or we could not have the villa we had chosen, after a long discussion we agreed to the additional floor and pool at a cost of 60,000 Euro. The house was then to be a five bed room villa.
Discussion: Because the Complainant has the burden of proof, it is up to the Complainant to provide evidence to contradict the facts alleged by the Author which are presumed to be true.
Ruling: As to this statement, the Complainant has not produced evidence to sustain its burden of proof.
3. Statement: The report we have still yet to see nor have we seen the aerial photographs and as yet an original bill of any sort this cost 400 euro as yet for nothing.
Discussion: The report referred to in this statement is an engineers report. Because the Complainant has the burden of proof, it is up to the Complainant to provide evidence to contradict the facts alleged by the Author which are presumed to be true
Ruling: The Complainant has not provided a submission from the engineer that the Author has received a copy of the report. As to this statement, the Complainant has not produced evidence to sustain its burden of proof.
4. Statement: The house papers I have not seen relating to the purchase of the house, its land and areas should have been given at the beginning of the purchase agreement and we were not even in receipt of a tax number or residency card (blue card) and we had never been given a contract of purchase.
Discussion: The Complainant states that this statement relates to an agreement with the developer.
Ruling: Because the Complainant has not provided any submission from the developer, the Complainant has not produced evidence to sustain its burden of proof on this statement.
DATED this 1st day of December, 2010.
An Executive Retreat as advertised by Savvaidis & Associates Real Estate Agents, Rhodes Greece Property address Number 6 Kalathos Views Kalathos Rhodes Greece Whilst holidaying in Rhodes during August 2006 we saw an advertisement in the local property news of an executive retreat, luxury villa set in 800sq metres of Land, with landscaped gardens it was being offered for sale by Savvaidis Estate Agents, the largest on the island, who also advertise in the UK and hold their seminars in Manchester and London also employing English staff. We went with an employee of Savvaidis and Associates, Jackie and saw a piece of land with what we were told was the beginnings and ends of plot 6 (one of six detached Villas that were to be built).Shown by two olive trees of what would be a luxurious villa. We loved the view and the area and decided that we would put in offer of 215,000 Euro plus taxes of 19,500 Euro and when this was accepted went with Jackie of Savvaidis to their Pefkos office and paid a 2 percent deposit, I said to her "please do not let there be any hidden surprises or costs, and If there was anything else unexpected I would rather know now", she said "there wouldn't be" "it is a super site and the builders finish is excellent", they would be there to help us every step of the way. We visited Rhodes town to sign the necessary paperwork where Lynne Usher Savvaidis's International Sales Manager supplied us with one of Savvaidis recommended lawyers and on her advice employed our lawyer Mara Macredou, with as suggested power of attorney for the times if needed when we were not in Greece. We were told that at some stage during construction we could pick our floor tiles, kitchen, outdoor tiles, bathroom tiles and furniture and that we would be contacted when the house was ready for this to be done, I was a little concerned that this would mean another visit to Greece but was assured that it could be done vial email, and if we required tiles or fittings that were over budget we could choose from brochures and pay the difference.
Work began around October 06 Dec 06: DPO came to Rhodes to transfer funds, he became rather concerned that the size of the land was not 800 sq metres as Per photo (A1 hard copy in file) and it was questioned with Jackie as where the land was going to be, Jan 07: Call to say we would have to have an additional floor due to the height of the retaining walls or we could not have the villa we had chosen, after a long discussion we agreed to the additional floor and pool at a cost of 60,000 Euro. The house was then to be a five bed roomed villa. April 07: The garden as per pictures (A2 hard copy in file) was now stretched, we came to See if we could pick the tiles whilst we were there, but were told there was no choice as that was no longer on offer???? July 07: We visited again to see the progress on the house when we noticed that this house was the only one without air conditioning and a solar water heating system on the roof. Again we visited Jackie of Savvaidis at the Pefkos office with our concerns, we were again re-assured that hot water would be supplied and not to be silly and not to worry. House due for completion at 30 Sept 07 Once again visited to view house from 5th to 12th September 07 The house could not be snagged as it was not finished, We returned yet again October 07 and it is still not finished All payments have now been made except the final payment of the original house and this was due on completion in September 07. And as the house was still not finished we refused to pay.
2 months later received demanding calls stating house was completed and ready for snagging. December 07 we were informed we needed to fill out a tax return as we were in UK we explained we didn't realise we needed one as we had not made final payment we did not realise we owned the house yet but we had owned the house since we signed the initial contract (A3 hard copy in file although not an original contract as never supplied) or what we thought was a contract enclosed also as per email (A4). This Tax Return was 100 Euro, we still don't know if this has ever been done? Lee and Dave arrived at end Feb 08 to find patio badly cracked no lighting or hot water we were informed by neighbour several cracks in the party wall between the properties had appeared and been re-pointed, this continued to crack throughout 07 and 08. There were no light switches or sockets no form of heating and no hot water present at the property they slept on the floor after cleaning builder's debris plaster and paint from the floors, the toilets in the property are all used and full of faeces they are also all cracked with the water leaking over the floors. Whilst they were in the property a man came to repair the tiles on the patio unaware that DPO and LO were in the property, he took the broken tiles up and re-placed them with new ones over the large crack. A snagging list as per the initial agreement was prepared the keys returned and the boys returned to the UK (Snagging List in main file). Snagging list forwarded in March 08 to the builder, Savvaidis and our own Lawyer. 08 received email wording to read, "Jobs are all fix" and "all snagging done" (A5 original in file sent at 4am in the morning). We questioned as how the snags could have been done in such a short space of time and we had no contact regarding replacement fencing, type or style etc Lee- Dave returned after confirmation received that the house had been rectified in May 08 Not one thing had been touched, In-fact no one had even been at the house - had to rent an apartment in Pefkos At this stage our lawyer decided that the best thing to do would be draw up a memorandum of understanding with a timetable for fixing the problems.
Our lawyer now tells us that all the faults have been rectified. We are told by Savvaidis that the house is ready on time and the keys will be waiting for collection at the Kalathos office. I email to confirm this and the day they will be arriving email. Enclosed (A6 original in file) The boys are now on the road driving across Europe with all our belongings and 3 dogs in a furniture removal van we had purchased for the purpose of this journey. They left the UK on August 13th 08 and arrived in Kalathos on 20th August 2008. No keys available for house as they had agreed they would be DPO demanded keys and after an hours wait they were thrown on a desk in savvaidis office by a boy who had been sent by the builder. The house is now in a worse condition than the last time it was seen overgrown gardens (over 1metre in height), filthy broken Toilets, no hot water, no light switches or sockets and nil done to the snagging list. The bodged repair that was done whilst the boys were previously at the house on the patio had again cracked as had several other places on the patio and pool area also repaired in Feb. Emergency electric was arranged by DPO via English electrician at a cost of 700 Euro. The electrician also advised us that the electrics were sub standard and the consumer units were incomplete. In Late August a man turned up in a red beaten pick up and introduced himself as Anglolese from Lardos who was a metal fabricator who had been instructed by Dimitris Dideades (the builder) to replace the dangerous wooden fencing which is made of strips of thin wood attached by two screws to the top of a 5 ft retaining wall. He asked how long DPO would Be there for. DPO stated "for good now we have moved from the UK DPO agreed a style Of fencing and the man said he would return to do it, he also said he had been employed to replace a section of number 5s however it materialised he had never set foot on the land next door nor replaced any fencing it seemed as if he was there to find out when we were leaving, LH arrived 3rd slept and refused to stay due to the conditions under which she would have had to live and therefore returned to UK on 10th September.
DPO and LH both went to see lawyer on Monday 8th Sept after desperately trying to arrange an appointment by phone and through Savvaidis we finally managed to get to see both her and her father, the head of the law firm. After the meeting we became very concerned as the advice they were giving us seemed rather strange, we were beginning to question who our lawyer was acting for us or the builder. They were more interested that the money was paid irrelevant of our concerns and they told us that it would make the builder more likely to correct the jobs if we paid him. We asked why as per the memorandum of understanding the jobs were not done and this seemed to be ignored the Memorandum of understanding has not been seen to date. They informed us "this is the Way things are done in Greece". We were then supplied by our lawyers an independent structural engineer, Andreas Chadzis as we were by Now really concerned with problems on the property and also due to our neighbour at No 5 commenting that the party wall was bowed, and had been re-pointed several times. He arrived to do his full structural survey with a Polaroid camera, no pen, no pencil, no note pad, no spirit level nor any technical equipment of any sort; in fact he had to borrow a pen! He took several pictures over a half hour period and did nothing else. He phoned ten days later to say the report was completed and he wanted his money.
After many calls from the engineer with regard to payment although we repeatedly told him that we had not seen his report or had a bill, he told us that both were with our lawyers along with several aerial photographs off the site, I paid the money (and kept a receipt in main file) to L Usher of Savvaidis. The finds on this report was said to total 15k euro to repair the patio and the other snags on the house. This report we have still yet to see nor have we seen the aerial photographs and as yet an original bill of any sort this cost 400 euro as yet for nothing. LH arrived back at beginning Oct to a bed the boys had spent all the time cleaning and trying to get some order. The whole house was a disgrace. Complaints began between us Savvaidis and our lawyer. Further meeting with L Usher commenced where DPO threatened to go to property show in the UK to share our experiences of buying through Savvaidis with others and she became rather Irate, LH told L Usher she would not pay more than 30k euro of the 60k owed for the house after 2 calls between L Usher and the builder which seemed very easy and very strange 35k was agreed in final settlement, to gain a quick completion was what we were told. 2 weeks later another email arrived from the builder to say "will accept 35k with no further recall from either party". (A7) enclosed LH now very concerned that if house was to collapse and we signed this we would have No recourse with the builder at all.
We became very suspicious at this point:::::: I took it upon myself to get further advice and it arose that the house papers I have not yet seen relating to the purchase Of the house, its land and areas should have been given at the beginning of the purchase agreement and we were not even in receipt of a tax number or residency card (blue card) and we had never been given a contract of purchase. I de-instructed the lawyer but was still trying to get the paperwork I should have been given from them, this proved very difficult LH and AN Other contacted the lawyer who was most evasive and then were informed she had left for the UK. 2 weeks later I turn up in the lawyer's office with AN Other to collect the paperwork I should have had from the beginning of purchase, a small amount of paperwork was thrust at me. Then I was subjected to torrent of abuse by Mr Macredou father of Mara Macredou our lawyer, head of the business and then thrown out of office and told that they never want 2 hear the name LH again and that if I wanted any papers I could get them myself. These lawyers had been paid in advance in 2006 for all aspects attaining to the purchase of the property. We at no time were given a contract or the deeds to the house as should be done, this fault lies with both Savvaidis and our own lawyers. We have no tax numbers they will not hand it over, no residency card -, get it yourself, no copy of the reports I have paid for I.e. engineers report, memo of understanding or tax return, and as yet it is unknown who pays the electricity bills. This in Greece means you own the property and the house is legal, without final electricity which is signed off by the electricity company the property will never be legal. Backhanders have been spoken about with regard to gaining final electricity this I refuse to be involved in. The papers went for translation a new lawyer..... Hired, at this point several discrepancies came to light the house was: - Not 100sq metres as sold to us nor was it the 150sqm it should have been after the additional floor infact it was 96sq metres The house now stands at approx 160 sq metres as we are informed a walled outside area is classed as indoor space. No plans had been made for pool or its licence no plans for the basement, the house is now Illegal.The pool, which is unusable is cracked all the way round and when filled pours into the Pump room.
DPO starts on rectification of patio. Upon removal of a large section of the patio which took 2 weeks manual labour it was revealed that only 4mm re-baring had been used with a lack of any hardcore infact it had been laid on soft soil. Areas around the pool have been taken up to reveal the same 4mm re-bar, this took a further week of manual labour. We were then introduced to a member of the team employed on the building of the properties retaining walls, who knew of the problems only to well? The construction of the retaining walls we are told is not good, he actually worked on the shuttering of the retainers and confirmed DPO'S worries that building specs had not been adhered to. Substandard and Insufficient re-baring we are told was used in the building of the retainers and patios. The pool he confirms was laid on soft earth and that within 2 years they would sink, and that people would be 'crying in their soup'' especially our neighbours at numbers 4 and 5. He stated that the main retaining walls of the next door house had suffered major problems during their construction with the walls bowing before the concrete set, butresses had to be erected in order to make them stable, he said there wasn't the correct amount of steel in the buttresses either, the engineer Tharanos told them '' I have been 30 years in this Job you will do what I say''. The buttresses (Dec 08) are showing signs of cracks, and on one buttress the top section has indeed fallen off, laying fears of DPO, s worries, and confirming that what the builder's employee said is true. Engineer Tharanos was confronted by AN Other, and in front of 2 other people in my new lawyers offices admits that 'of course it is illegal what are you going to do about it the builder is my family'', he then threatens to make a paper to make the house illegal even though it already is and he as the engineer oversaw the building of, and to have the house bulldozed and to leave just the land. 18 December yet again AN other assists us by organising hot water cylinder and solar panels so we don't have to spend Xmas Without hot water. This money 1500 euro I owe to AN other....
20 December we still cant get hot water and don't know what to do, AN other helps again by Arranging for an English speaking heating engineer to arrive at our villa, whilst going about his job it is remarked that it is likely the electrics of the house were left unfinished and without any provision for air conditioning due to none payment of the electricians on site as it was a Set procedural job and no electricians would have left a house unfinished unless they had not been paid for their work. At this point it is also advised that as soon as is reasonably possible that the roof of our villa must be tiled as the water is contained on the flat roof because of uneven finish of concrete and the lack of drainage and failure to do so will result in water seeping through into the bedrooms, We have watched other villas of a very superior quality build being erected close by ad all the Roofs have adequate drainage and have all been felted as in the UK. Merry Xmas It is the 29th December 2008 at this point we are all very concerned, very wary of anyone Bringing any type of news, we have not heard anything at all from anyone, no helpful Savvaidis or their International sales Manager Lynn Usher, no lawyers, no builder nor his engineer who is making paper to bulldoze his own illegal house down, we are leaning on the patio wall looking at the retaining walls and cracks are now appearing and quite a significant bend resembling a banana is quite apparent now to the eye, but looking downwards to the bottom of our patio we can also so our wall footings or what I can only say is the lack of them. Looking back to the pictures that were taken whilst the house was being built it is quite obvious that the walls were actually erected with no footings just a line of mortar that was left over from the previous days work. Some of these walls are 5 to 6 metres high one of which is a party wall and the retaining walls that are bowing are minimum 4 metres up to 7 metres in height. We ask does any form of legislation apply in Greece, are we the only ones that this has happened to.
The New Year is nearly upon us and who knows what that will bring. It is now February; we have had an offer from the builder to buy back the house at 180,000 Euro, 55,000 Euro less than we paid and no offer for costs Making a brief calculation of what has actually being spent: - Euro Removal Van, Insurance, Costs of ferries, diesel to Greece 7,000 Builders Clean 350 Light switches, sockets, circuit breakers and labour 700 Plumbing for washer80 Additional Plug Sockets (only 1 in whole of 180 Hot Water 1500 Walls patched, skimmed and sanded x 2 men Interior/ exterior 550 Buy lights 350 Outdoor Lights 240 Purchase and Install middle floor Kitchen2500 Re-tile downstairs kitchen and buy tiles350 Purchase of tiles for Middle floor 300 Dig up patio - pool surround and re-enforce 650 3 x trips for snagging not done 1200 Rental of apartment in Pefkos 300 Flatten gardens-now regrown 100 Re-align and seal all doors and windows due to leaks 200 Fit marble threshold strips in bathrooms x3150 Purchase of curtains 400 Dog passports 600 Engineer report 400 Loss of interest8600 Previous loss of rent due to 1 year late 8000 Return to UK travel 7000 Legal expenses as yet unknown Paint for internal and external 300 Labour for painting x 2 men inside&out 1,200 Tax Return (Never Seen) 2009 None Receoved 100 Total additional expenses as per brief notes 43,300 We are now in the process of purchasing paint to re paint the whole house as only one coat Of paint was initially used on both the inside and outside of the building. Obviously the inside has now all been prepared for painting so here goes the next unpaid job that should already have been done. The cost, and rising, of our executive retreat now stands at Euro 278,300 euros and counting.
I have today contacted the European Standard the new UK based outlet of lawyers who cover foreign countries and businesses who do not abide with EU regulations. 1st March 2009. Today we have water seeping through one of the top floor bedrooms after a night of heavy rain, in addition the patio has continued to crack in several more places and coming adrift from the front of the house, this is not possible to fix without digging the whole front area of the house up. The path has also cracked and split also needs digging up and replacing. Please see photos in main file for the size of the area to be replaced. 3rd March 2009 Today we buy paint the cost of the paint being 300 Euros. 4th March present Painting has begun. As of 9th March 2009 at correct costings we are owed 278,300 euro, if it is agreed that our money will be returned, then we are as of the said date prepared to accept this amount, however, if further legal proceedings are made additional costs will be added. In addition to this if I receive no reply within the next 10 days of this brief which is already under offer the above will be passed to editorial for publication in the UK, with original full documentation and photographs Lynda H & David O 18th March 2009 Have today heard back fro the Solicitors and copy a paragraph taken from their letter:- You advised that you have contracted with a Real Estate agency in Rhodes to purchase a holiday home. Not only has your seller breached the contract (on multiple levels); they also show no sign or indication of a friendly or reasonable or fair resolution of the pending issues, thus prompting you to take legal action. As a matter of fact, we happen to have experience in dealing with cases much similar to yours on the island of Rhodes, exactly because we have assisted other clients (with more or less similar agendas against a competitor of Savvaidis & Associates) who have found themselves deceived, taken advantage of and misrepresented by their seller; as well as the latter's recommended legal representative!
Without getting into details (due to the confidentiality rules), suffice it to say that we have acted as attorneys for British purchasers of a villa in Kalathos who had following issues: (a) Their title to the property was faulty and inaccurate. They have never been made aware of this until the time we stepped in; identified the problem; and resolved same by essentially preparing and filing a corrective Deed to remedy the above misrepresentation. (b) They had been utterly lied to in regards to the mortgage proceedings. In fact, the Bank was close to foreclosing on the property, simply because our clients did not meet their mortgage contractual obligations being oblivious as to what such obligations entailed. We have represented our clients before the Bank; affected the required filings; obtained the complete file of the mortgage; and straightened out the situation without any further complications to our clients' detriment. (c) Our clients were receiving legal representation by a local lawyer, currently employed/acting as legal counsel to the company they have purchased from! (d) Notwithstanding the above, the same company appeared to continuously request additional funds from our clients (on various fictitious grounds); with our engagement, we managed to halt such requests for payment, whereas our clients now have valid claims against the company for breach of contract; poor delivery; defamation; moral damage etc. etc. As a first step, we would like to review the complete materials, agreements, deeds/titles, certificates of registration etc. you are holding to first make sure that you have indeed obtained what you paid for (I.e. a legally executed and competently registered deed). Following our review of said material, we will be in a better position to further advise you of your recourses. Depending on the answers we obtain from reviewing the material, we will guide you through the process of rectifying the situation; apprise you fully of your rights, obligations and eventual recourses for compensation (as applicable). Also, depending on the disclosures obtained (by reviewing the documents/material alone), we may need to represent you before the Rhodes Ktimatologio to establish the current legal status of your property (incl. title status, lien status; whether there have been any successive registrations and/ or conveyances of the property without your knowledge or consent; whether there are any third-party claims to the property which would obstruct its development etc.). All the above can be in principle scheduled and concluded within one to two weeks (incl. full legal analysis/report in writing of findings and suggested recourses). Private and confidential In addition on 18 March 2009 the following have been notified by email: Greek Embassy (UK) Sunday Mercury Athens News PM Forum.org CIOB,org European Law Monitor BT Openworld Division EE European News Rotary Gr Newsdesk NOTW Featureworld.co.uk Euro Costs to 18-03-08 inc. 1st Solicitors Fee 1000.00 Fireplace Installed and Bricks, sand Cement 250.00 279,550 Euro To Be added Phone, Fax, Email, Postage charges plus Hourly Lynda H & David O L h Rhodes Greece