Consumer Rights in Bulgaria - or Lack Thereof!!!

Letters to the Editor | March 23, 2009, Monday // 17:39

Dear Sir/Madam,

It was with great sadness that I read your headline "Bulgaria Marks World Consumer Rights Day" (Sofia Weekly 21/03/2009).
Why? Because in my experience Bulgaria cares very little about the consumer rights of thousands of non national,fellow European
citizens, who have invested heavily in your country by buying holiday apartments, spending thousands of leva to purchase these apartments; and also spending thousands of more leva on Bulgarian goods and services, when they come to live and use those apartments.

I am one of hundreds of non national owners who have bought holiday apartments, in Sunny Beach, in one of the five complexes built by Ivan Rusev Stanchev of Eurobuild4. These apartment complexes (Blumarine, Aquamarine, Royal Dreams, Forum 1 and Forum Apartments)
are currently without electricity and water. The utilities were cut off in early January and today, the 22nd March the position is just the same.

EVN electric company, cut off supplies to these complexes, because they claimed Eurobuild4 owed them thousands of leva, for unpaid
electricity bills( a sum of 250,000 leva was indicated).

To us apartment owners this is inexplicable. Why? Because we have paid our utility bills, up to the end of the 2008 season, in the local Eurobuild office, and have the RECEIPTS to prove it.We have informed EVN of our plight, but 10 weeks later, nothing has been done!!

Moreover Eurobuild4 have never informed us officially,either individually or collectively of this situation. It only came to light when some owners, who were living locally in Sunny Beach, contacted some of the non national owners, through the complexes' owners

Eurobuild4 do not respond to e-mails, and are not answering their phones. When asked when utilities would be returned to the complexes, a Eurobuild representative response was "it is complicated".?????

Eurobuild 4 also are not renewing the Management and Maintenance contracts, they have entered into with the apartment owners.
They have broken the terms of these contracts, by not negotiating with the apartment owners. They are not providing security or maintaining the complexes. Both sides are bound by the terms of the contracts and any change can only take place, with the consent of both sides.

Moreover, Eurobuild4 have a building guarantee of 10 years on the exterior and 5 years on the interior, to fulfil. In the case of Blumarine, which was completed only two and a half years ago, there are ongoing problems with a leaking roof and windows, exterior tiles and rendering, deep cracks on the walls etc.

We the non national owners( and also fellow EU citizens) are of course hampered by the fact, that we do not live locally, but thousands of miles away in fellow EU countries.
We are not a cohesive group. Most of us have only 'met' on an internet owners' forum. But we are trying to organise as best we can.
We have written to various Bulgarian authorities including your Meglena Kuneva, the Commissioner for Consumer Protection of the
European Commission. We have written to you Novinite! Yes?

But so far the response has been very poor! Could we ask YOU to take up our plight and publish this letter??????Will you show that YOU are marking World Consumer Rights Day.

We know that a situation like this would NOT HAPPEN in our countries! CAVEAT EMPTOR indeed! I bought an apartment in Bulgaria, because I loved the Bulgarian people that I had met, while on holiday there. I also loved your beautiful scenery and climate.
I need not have bought in Bulgaria. I could have chosen another
low cost country with a sunny climate

Today I am sad. Today I regret my decision. I hoped to spend Easter in my apartment.But there is no electricity, no water, no security, no essential repairs done. Oh! I forgot I can't get in anyway, because the outer doors are locked. With 20 days remaining till Easter Sunday, I must change my plans!

Would I encourage or recommend my fellow countrymen to invest in Bulgaria? What do you think? CAVEAT EMPTOR!!!
Yes, I am sad. Yes,Bulgaria cares very little for consumer rights.

A saddenned and disillusioned consumer,
Mary Kelly


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