British couple forced to use Debt Collectors on estate agents


A BRITISH couple are furious after being forced to call in a debt collection agency for not receiving the proceeds of a house sale.

Sue and Peter Moore were forced to call in a UK debt recovery firm after Puerto Banus estate agent Ivonne Panhuis did not answer their calls.

Panhuis, who works for German agent Engel and Volkers, had been given power of attorney to sign on behalf of the couple after they moved back to Staffordshire last year.

But, after completing on the two-bedroom property in Nueva Andalucia in December for €280,000 the couple insist they heard nothing for three months, despite ‘numerous calls’ to the office.

“We had to make Ivonne power of attorney because we could not be in Spain at the time of the sale,” said pensioner Sue, 67.

“But we simply could not get hold of her to get our money. It is completely outrageous for a company as big as Engel and Volkers to do this.”

Desperate and distressed they eventually decided to appoint a debt collection agency.

And the company, based in Bedfordshire, wasted no time in tracking down Ivonne. But, she also refused to speak to them and fobbed them off via her PA insisting the claim was ‘entirely false’.

Undeterred, they went straight to the head office in Germany, where an executive finally admitted that the Moores were owed just over €200,000 – leaving the remaining €80,000 apparently unaccounted for.

The international property firm then continued to drag its heels for a further four weeks, paying back the funds in two instalments. The couple were only finally given a statement of sale at the end of March explaining away the remaining €80,000 through various charges.

These included a €16,940 commission bill, plus an additional ‘honorary’ payment of €6,776 for Ivonne Panhuis.

Oddly when we contacted the company’s head office in Frankfurt, we received a curt reply insisting the claims were not at all true.

“After a detailed conversation with Ivonne Panhuis, owner of the license, it is our belief that these accusations are simply false,” it read. It continued that the couple ‘don’t understand Spanish rules’.

However the personal lawyer for the branch José Cosín was rather more forthright; “If there was a miscalculation, we will solve it immediately,” said the Malaga-based lawyer. “It is important that the press fights for people’s rights and we do collaborate in matters like this.”

A spokesman for the debt collection agency added that it was still chasing the company for a proper explanation of the many charges that include over €2000 in notary fees and nearly €4000 in storage costs.  We are still chasing them for the money,” a spokesman for the agency confirmed.

Meanwhile, Sue Moore insisted they were not about to give up and would fight the case to the end, even if only to get another €100 back. “The distress Ivonne’s caused is immense; we just don’t need this at our age,” concluded Sue. “We will fight as hard as we can for justice.”


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