A British man filed a complaint with the Thai authorities after he bought a 15 million baht condominium in Koh Samui from a real estate company in the southern province of Surat Thani but could not obtain legal ownership. Many foreigners fell victim to this company, resulting in estimated damages of 100 million baht.
A representative of the Thailand Consumers Council, Phattakorn Teepaboonrat, accompanied the British victim, 70 year old David Edward Chapel, to the Central Suppression Division to file a complaint against the real estate company, whose name was not revealed.
Phattakorn spoke to the media about the issue explaining that Chapel bought a luxury condo in Koh Samui in 2016 and stayed there only three times a year. He has been trying to pursue official ownership but has been unsuccessful.
According to Phattakorn, Chapel discovered on May 19 that the condo did not gain construction permission. As if this was not disheartening enough, it came to light that certain portions of the land on which the property stood had been illicitly mortgaged and subsequently sold.
Phattakorn added that Chapel was not the only victim. Other foreigners also fell victim to this company.
The company targeted only foreigners who had limited knowledge of Thai laws. They assured the clients that they would be exempt from paying land taxes and associated fees upon purchasing the condo if buying the property from them. They also created counterfeit documents to lure foreigners into buying.
The case is now under investigation by the police. It is anticipated that further developments in this regard shall be soon reported to the public
Aside from the real estate scam, the British Foreign Office also warned British tourists and expats in Thailand to be aware of a passport scam. Scammers draw the attention of those who want to renew their passports by advertising the faster service. A fake website was created with a similar URL and features to lure the victims into paying the fee to them.
How to avoid Thailand property scams
For starters, you will see a lot of blanket statements out there as it relates to Thailand property scams. These include:
- Don’t buy off-plan
- Only buy from a developer listed on the stock exchange
- Visit the site in person
- Work with a real estate agent
The problem is that none of these are surefire methods to avoid problems. Moreover, you may be unnecessarily limiting your real estate search, especially in locations like Phuket and Samui which have very different markets from Bangkok. Finally, the ones making these statements tend to be individuals with a vested interest in you doing the opposite. For example, those stating you should only buy from a SET-listed developer tend to be agents that work with those firms.