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Time in Spain

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Aiding and abetting?

There has been massive tragedy from the fires on the Costa del Sol over the week-end but already the scamsters are trying to make money. Please – there are several well known humanitarian and animal aid charities on the coast – do not make any donations to a charity you have never heard of without checking them out.

The scamsters got me to wondering why the British (in particular) are so ready to profit by exploiting their own. It has always been fairly obvious that British scamsters are very good at exploiting British victims and, this week-end, it dawned on me why.

They are aided and abetted by the British media on the Costas!

The simplest scam, and no longer uniquely British, is the sale of motor insurance in Spain or Gibraltar for British (and other nationality) registered cars. In the newspapers and on the radio you will hear beguiling adverts for cheap and reliable insurance for your car. Now, admittedly, there is a grey zone here because the companies do not advertise specifically for British (or foreign) plated cars but neither do the adverts point out that such cars cannot be legally insured here. I think it is about time that the advertising media took it upon themselves to warn people that to insure a foreign plated car in Spain or Gibraltar is not possible. The law is quite clear that the cars must be insured in the countries in which they are registered from a residential address within that country for a private car. Many British drivers in Spain pay quite a lot of money for motor insurance which is absolutely worthless! A policy generated in Spain or Gibraltar does not protect the driver or his victims. In the case of cars with no MoT certificate and no Excise Licence, they are uninsurable because they do not meet the road safety standards. At a huge push, insurance companies who have provided this type of policy MIGHT be induced to pay SOME third party compensation.

Another two scams that are enabled by local media advertising are Time Share Resale rip-offs and the sale of worthless stocks and shares. Often you will see adverts for telemarketers to work in Time Share Resales and yet there have been ample examples of companies offering such services simply running off with the money. In reality, there is no Time Share Resale market and the media must know this and yet they allow these adverts to be placed without, it seems, making even the most basic enquiries. It isn’t always so easy to spot an advert for telemarketers to work in the shady stocks and shares markets but the media could ask for two simple bits of information – the FSA registration of the company and the names of qualified IFA s being employed. Many of the “salesmen” are the telemarketers and are not qualified in any way to give financial advice or guidance.

It is very strange that the printed media is being prevented from offering advertising to prostitutes and private clubs (which are legal) while the scammers are allowed to advertise – as long as they can pay the cost (usually minimal classified rates).

I have been told that these types of adverts are often placed “at the last minute”, denying the media the time necessary to make any quality checks. Is this the reason that although all of the scams that have been perpetrated and publicised have created an air of shock and horror, the advertising media that helped to enable the scams are never asked to justify their decisions to carry the adverts?

I have also been told that although not a scam as such, there really should be mention of the SKY TV packages advertised extensively on the Costas. It is illegal to receive BBC television programmes without a current UK TV licence. Sky TV packages are only supposed to be available within the UK but the footprint of the satellite means that it is possible to receive the signals (albeit on a monstrously large dish) on the Costa del Sol. We know we are not supposed to receive these signals because the decoding equipment can only be activated by a card issued to a UK address and the monthly payments made in pounds via a bank account in the UK. All Sky contracts are recorded as being for a UK address. Again, the media knows that Sky is not legitimately available in Spain and yet they carry adverts for it.

Who can blame foreigners in Spain for thinking that the laws do not apply to them?

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