British expat leaving Spain claims he was ‘ripped off’ – ‘be careful what you are buying’

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Nick Anders said he moved to Spain to start a new life and lived in the Costa del Sol town of Nerja. Popular with British expats and tourists, Nerja is a pretty town on the coast.

Nick said that Spain’s customer service was one of the reasons he couldn’t wait to get back to the UK.

He said: “The word mañana. Like everyone else, I thought this was a funny joke at first.

“Every time a person in Spain, whether Spanish or British, let me down I would grin and say mañana like it was ok or normal.

“When I’m paying for a job I want it done as promised and on time, or am I mad for expecting this?”

Mañana literally translates as tomorrow. However, it can also mean ‘not today’ or later at an unspecified time.

Nick said: “I hate in Spain when I go into a shop and stand waiting while the assistant chats away to their friend or relative totally ignoring me and everyone else.

“There is no customer service in Spain. Much of the time you are served when people feel like it, you get little help and assistance and often you are not even greeted at the counter, you greet them.

“It’s like you are doing them a favour by shopping there!”

However, another British expat named Shirley said that wasn’t her experience of life in Spain.

She said: “When we went to buy some air conditioning in July from a small retailer, they turned up, as agreed, the following day, and worked until late when the job was finished.”

She added: “I am always happy with the service I get in local shops and restaurants.”

Nick also said he felt that he had been ‘ripped off’ in Spain and warned expats to be careful.

He said: “Everyone seems so desperate that getting cheated is a story every expat I know can tell.

“I personally put an 8,000 euro (£6,680) deposit down on an apartment and the estate agent did a runner with my cash.

“God knows where they are now but I won’t stop looking until I find them.”

He said: “Other common expat stories are ones such as being sold a property that was actually illegal, didn’t have planning permissions etc.

“When I go back to the UK I notice sales and discounts. When I go shopping in Spain, I don’t see shops dropping their prices.

“I don’t see special offers, I don’t see much evidence of competition between retailers. In my local supermarket when food goes out of date, they don’t slash the price, instead it stays on the shelf and so you have to be careful what you’re buying.”

Shirley disagreed saying: “We have had no bad experiences of being cheated by anyone, and have made some wonderful friends.

“There is no litter in our town, no discarded chewing gum stuck all over the pavements and no drunken louts fighting in town on a Saturday night out.”

She added that her council tax cost a lot less in Spain than in the UK and she had a lower fuel bill.

Several expats said that learning Spanish was a good way to settle in. They also recommended people hire a lawyer if they are worried about being cheated on property.

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