EXCLUSIVE: Expats unite to fight back against ‘scam’ estate agents on the Costa del Sol

FURIOUS residents are calling for moves to clamp down on ‘scam’ estate agents after expats rallied together to share their experiences of the cheating business. 

Expats created a Facebook post about OPAU to explain why their trust in the business has collapsed.

Estate agents OPAU, has franchise offices in Murcia, Valencia and Alicante but the complaints are centred on its Malaga office. It’s staff are accused of lying, dodgy dealing and bringing misery and stress to renters across the south of Spain.

Expat Joyce Su, who first raised the alarm, said she was determined to speak out in a bid to drive out the rogue estate agents. 

The former fashion student, who studied in Milan, said OPAU frequently gives misleading information about properties, and accused the firm of purposefully taking ‘agency-fees’ from house hunters to line their own pockets.

The 33-year-old said: “If you are looking for flats, please avoid an agency called OPAU. They have many nice flats on Idealista to lure you in, but mostly are not available.”

She went on to accuse the company of ‘playing games’ by not answering phone calls, always being unavailable and sending clients on wild goose chases to find properties.

“You pay an up front €390 agency fee and then sign a contract, which they can’t give you a copy of because they say it’s ‘private for the company’,” she said.

She added they send you viewings spontaneously, but give you little time to get to appointments and don’t send photos.

“As a result, there is a big chance you will be running around to visit some horrible flat which is far from your requirements,” added Su, from Taiwan. 

She continued that after the viewing, clients are instructed to call back to the office or send an email and advise whether or not they like the property – but no one ever picks up the phones. 

“The only time you are allowed to call is from 4 to 8pm. 80% of the time all lines are busy and it is impossible to reach them,” she continued.

“If you send an email there is still no response after days, weeks.” 

Su claims she is still ‘homeless’ and is determined to get a refund for the agency fee she paid in good faith. 

Dozens of expats shared similar experiences, complaining about poor value for money, gazumping, unnecessary delays and failure to communicate. 

One, Anna Indricane, said: “After the whole September spent with OPAU looking for a long term apartment, it has been a waste of time and money.” 

Tom Stenberg called OPAU a ‘scam’, while Don Simon Bolivar, from Bristol, said: “I’m amazed that they are still in business. There are many warnings about them.” 

Sheila Almas said: “We were lucky that we left the ‘nice looking’ office and said we are going to think about it. But I never got back to them after seeing many posts and stuff about them on the internet.”

UK expat Maria said that she had gone to the company’s office in Malaga having seen a very nice flat advertised.

“They made me believe I was going to the office to meet the agent who was going to show me the flat, but of course it was not like that. 

“The flat was not available and there were no agents, just this obnoxious lady who tried by all means to make me sign their contract.

“Thank God I felt that something was off. I followed my instinct and left the office.” 

The Olive Press reached out to OPAU, but they did not respond to our requests for a comment.

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