MRI Overseas Property - MRI Overseas Property Scammed me for 3000 euros

Posted on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 at 8:56am CST by 11094eaf

Product: Bulgarian Property

Company: MRI Overseas Property

Location: bansko, BG


Category: Other

I've recently (August 2008) returned from a viewing trip to Bulgaria with MRI Overseas Property and I feel like I've been hustled. I was referred to MRI by a friend so I was expecting that it would be a reasonably comfortable experience.

I called MRI and had a professional and pleasant discussion with them to organise a trip to Bansko to look at some skiing property. The lady who helped organise the trip was very friendly and helpful, she organised flights and arranged for me to be met at the airport in Sofia. Notes of my budget and expectations were recorded and passed on specifically the requested I made about a cooling off period after the visit.

I arrived in Sofia and while there was nobody there initially to meet me I was not to worried I'm used to travelling on my own and so I'd made sure my mobile would work in Bulgaria and took contact details and telephone numbers fo the person I was supposed to be meeting. I called the lady back explaining that nobody was here to meet me, she made some enquiries and 30 minutes later a friendly Bulgarian man turned up with an MRI folder. We waited for two other people on a later flight and then set off for Bansko. So far so good.

After the trip I was delighted to be checked into the Kempinski Hotel. We were greeted by our MRI host (the salesman) for the weekend and taken to a nearby traditional restaurant for a meal. The meal was fantastic and soon we returned to the hotel having agreed to meet up after breakfast.

On Saturday morning the the salesman (Alan) went through the notes with me and explained that he had a bit of an issue with the fact that I had requested a cooling off period and that MRI was not into the business of subsidising peoples weekend trips away. I explained that I was serious about buying a place and that I'd rather be with my family. We discussed some figures and what I was looking for and I felt comfortable that we'd both been upfront and honest with each other so I was looking forward to a productive day.

Around lunch time we set off to view some properties and we (the other guys joined us) saw a number of properties near the kempinski to illustrate the poor quality of construction and the general chaos of this area. We were also shown the new Pirun appartments, the show home was closed and there was nobody to greet us or explain which appartments were available. We drove a bit more and headed out to 'the valley'. Now in the morning we were told about the valley being a winderful investment opportunity because of the golf courses being built in that area. This we were told meant a double income of rental (summer for golf, and winter for skiing). It was during this time I started to lose interest and confidence. I thought I'd been clear that I was after a ski property but here I was being shown golf appartments. In fact MRI built property projects. I was told that these sales guys had convinced many investors to buy in this area as it was bound to be a real solid investment. It was slightly intimidating, if these other people had bought multiple properties why would I doubt them!

After a stop for lunch I was pleased to be seperated from Alan and the other guys, I new my dispondent attitude by this time was becoming a risk for Alan to get his sale (later I was told by the Alan that I'd been rude). So another sales rep (Dave) met me and we had another frank talk. Now I'm normally quite patient but by this time I explained that I wasn't really here for golf. Anyway I was shown another few golf places (yet more MRI builds) and given a hard sell that this one appartment block would be a sure winner because it was on the main road before you arrive into Bansko. Great! Not near the slopes, the pretty town of Bansko, in the valley. The best I could compare it to was a travel lodge. We headed into another small village 'Razlog'. Now at this point I'd not been in Bansko village. In fact it seemed that we'd been encouraged away from the centre. The Kempinski is a good 20 minutes walk from the Bansko village centre so it wasn't until Sunday I got to see how wonderfully pretty it is. So as you can understand by mid afternoon Saturday after seeing a few golf places Razlog had some character, not much but some. Dave left me to myself to ponder and walk around. I met up a little while later and explained that I was having a problem accepting the golf based Valley appartments becuase it was not what I was expecting from the trip and needed a change of mindset. I asked to go up the valley to the area where there was more construction, to explore that area (I later was told that this area, actually within the golf park, was being developed by a developer that owed MRI a lot of money) so that's why we drove back to Bansko. We drove around some more properties in the chaotic area and I was disuaded from this area as a bad investment. I asked if there were more executive areas, nice areas, since I didn't mind paying a bit more than the going rate for something nice. By this time I was begining to think I'd wasted a weekend away from my family. These guys were clearly trying to push the MRI properties, they even explained that they had quotas to limit the number of properties they could sell to any individual becuase of the queue of other visitors due to arrive in Bansko. It was Dave's last day in Bansko and he left me at the hotel around 4 or 5pm.

Disillusioned I surfed the web. Not believing that my friend would have bought something that I'd been shown. I made a few calls and spoke to a local lady (Vanya) who agreed to meet me in 30 minutes or so and show me round some properties. Now by this time I felt intimidated by MRI and actually felt the need to ask Vanya to meet me somewhere other than the kempinski. You see MRI had several salesmen floating around on the 1st floor, the sales director was there and other customers, it was all very exclusive, but I felt the need to hide contacting another agency. So I met Vanya and she took me to see a fantastic set of appartments in the St Ivan area, a short drive from the gondola, up the Pirin Mountain with wonderful views of the village and surrounding area. This set of appartments was amazing. All I could say after the previous hours with MRI was WOW. I could believe that this appartment block would be something credible, something I could actually buy. We headed back to Vanya's office and had some discussions abuot prices and schedules. She was the opposite of pushy, let me know what schedule you would like, I'll make a discount for you (which worked out at around 1250 euro / m2). I walked into the village and had some thoughts about how to handle MRI the next day. I mentionned to the two guys I'd previous spemt some time with and they'd agreed to buy something for a quick turn-around, I'd mentioned I'd been to see something else and was now convinced that MRI were taking us for suckers.

I was apprehensive about meeting Alan in the morning, but sure enough I met him around 10am. We exchanged some feedback about Saturday and I was clear that I felt like I'd been taken for a run and that I was not here to look at golf places and that I understood that MRI had their own properties to sell but that I was not here for that. I was confronted with the "we've put you up in the Kempinski and taken you to lunch" and that I was not playing fair. They also found out that I'd met with Vanya which annoyed them, "did I not trust them", "why did I go behind their backs", "they did not pay for my trip for me to meet other agents". I exchanged a few harsh truths with Alan at which point he brought Sales Director (Malcolm) into speak to me to difuse the situation. I explained that I was not here to fight, that I was here to buy a place and that I'd felt like I'd been messed around. We agreed to put the past behind us and have a look at some places in Bansko. Now it felt like the tables had turned, that these guys were now trying to help me find a place I wanted. They found a place near the gondolas that looked interesting, they arranged to meet with the developer so I could get inside the building. Brilliant, some progress at last.

Alan and I walked round to this building to meet the developer. He turned up to meet us and tried to take us inside one of the three blocks. Now the developer guy did not speak english and Alan did not speak Bulgarian. I had been told that the appartment was in Block 1 and the developer guy was showing us Block 3. Alan called him a useless #@&$% and walked off (now who's rude!) towards Block 1. To be fair Alan was really trying to show me the right appartment but didn;t have the support from his team to work out which appartment was the correct one. I was told that the appartment should be 88.25 m2 facing up the mountain. We found an appartment that was at most 68m2 including balconies. So the interesting 1450 euro / m2 became a less interesting 1750 euro / m2. I was shown first floor up the mountain. Great! Despite the 68m2 I could see this as an investment worth making. I asked if Alan was sure it was 88m2 and if he was sure it was 1st floor. The numbering didn't seem logical for it to be on the first floor.

We returned to the Kempinski and I asked to see the floor plans so I could get confirmation of the floor area and that the appartment was indeed the one I'd physically seen. An hour or so later Malcolm and Alan had produced these plans but it did not include the one I was supposedly buying. The plans I was seeing were for 1st and second floors and did not include my appartment. So here we are Sunday evening and I've seen something that could work but I've got reservations about it being the right appartment. MRI were eager to take money off me and started offering me some extensions to the 10 day limit, offered me a 72 hours refundable deposit. The solictor was in the building (convieniently) and I was genuinely interested so I agreed that I'd put down the 3000 euro refundable deposit subject to 72 hours cooling off, and the confirmation of appartment location, and a draft copy of the Private Purchase Contract. I decided not to use the legal team provided by MRI, it all seemed too easy.

I returned to the UK all excited and 3000 euro lighter. I awaited for the plans and PPC. The plans were sent through on the Tuesday and not the Monday as promised. The floor area was about 64 m2 according to the plans and I exchanged a few emails with MRI trying to understand where the 14.25 m2 of communal area was located. The appartment faced a different way to the one I had been shown and was now on the 3rd floor. I looked closer at the plans and the shape of teh building corresponded better with Block 3 than Block 1. On the Wednesday I asked for further confirmation that the appartment was in Block 1 or 3. I had no reply but was still interested. I'd not yet receievd the PPC and I was still unconvinced of the location of the appartment. The email went cold. I copied Malcolm and the regional sales manager, but no reply! By Friday I phoned the contact centre and spoke to a lady who was in a priveledged position to help me becuase her team had 'special access' to Darragh MacAnthony and the Sales Director Malcolm. I explained that I'd lost interest and confidence that MRI knew which appartment it was selling me and that I wanted my refund based on our agreement. That was last week now and I've not yet heard anything. I contacted the legal guys 'legal-independent' as well and again I've heard nothing. So I feel like I've been hustled and wanted to write this hoping that it will help someone else avoid making the same mistake of using MRI Overseas Property.


f900ba01, 2009-07-28, 11:41AM CDT

Please do not send this company any more of your money......Believe me 3000 is cheap..... I have did business with this firm and 3000 seems a small amount to me........I bought an apartment in Berlin with a guartee of 10years rent. I haven't received a thing from May and MRI are not answering phones etc... Email me and i will give you any information i have [email protected]

e50c0bd4, 2011-07-04, 11:30AM CDT


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