BBC exposé drives buyers to AIPP


Consumer enquiries to the Association of International Property Professionals hit a new high following an overseas property feature on the BBC’s consumer affairs show Watchdog. 

The half hour programme at 7.30pm primetime on Monday 9th February featured an 8-minute film on serious consumer complaints regarding the work of Bulgarian Dreams. The feature concluded with a mention of the AIPP and the BBC Watchdog website is providing contact details along with the AIPP’s top 5 tips to consumers on buying property overseas safely.
Following the broadcast of the weekly show, the BBC often sees 150,000 visits to the Watchdog website. AIPP’s tips revealing the common pitfalls to avoid when buying property abroad are featured from a home page link from the Watchdog site.
‘Ultimately, the success of AIPP’s work will be governed by how well-recognised we become by the consumer,’ said AIPP Chief Executive Paul Owen. ‘Success is not only about consumer awareness, of course – we need to ensure that professional standards are met by our Members and that buyers benefit from buying from companies that have voluntarily committed to regulation.
‘However, if the buying public is not aware of our work, the rest becomes irrelevant. Although it’s unfortunate that a bad news story of our market has created the extra interest, the fact is that millions more people are now aware of the AIPP. It’s another small step in our quest to make the AIPP the key source for independent advice on buying property overseas safely.’
The work of Bulgarian Dreams had already come to the notice of the AIPP as it was the first company to be expelled from AIPP membership in February 2008. Concluding ‘…. that the customer service of Bulgarian Dreams had been disgraceful in this case‘, an AIPP disciplinary panel had expelled Bulgarian Dreams from membership ‘…. due to a failure to comply with requests of the AIPP regarding disciplinary matters. In addition, the company was found to have breached 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 of the AIPP Code of Conduct.’
‘The expulsion of Bulgarian Dreams last year and other expulsions since show two things,’ continued Owen. ‘First: once a fair hearing has taken place, the AIPP will take action against Members who fail in their duty to abide by our Code; second: there is still work to be done to make sure professional companies in our market deliver on their promises to clients.
‘We can’t improve the market overnight but the more consumers become aware of our work and choose to buy with our Members, the more benefit our Members get from the voluntary commitment to regulation and the more likely that buyers will buy property overseas with confidence.’
Owen concluded, ‘Confidence is, without doubt, the most important word in our world today.’


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