ripped off by Bulgarian " friends "

We have had our apartment for ten years in Vinitsa. We bought it through an estate agent who had already bought the apartment next to ours to live in. She offered to pay all our bills as it would be easier for us being so far away.  We thought this was a great idea as she lived next door and she could e-mail us when a bill came in and we would send the money to her.  A few years later we decided that it would be better to pay our bills through the bank. We asked several times for the information we needed to do this but were always fobbed off. A few weeks ago we just went to the companies and got the information ourselves. As you can guess the bills had been paid but we had been grossly overcharged for everything.  When we asked her about it she just shrugged her shoulders.  I don't want to be horrible about this but this year alone she has overcharged by a few hundred lev and we feel she should at least refund that. So to cut a long story short we were wondering if we could threaten her with a solicitor or police or something so we could at least get something back.  We don't know the system here so we are not sure what to do.  We obviously wouldn't carry the threat out but it would may be enough for her to return the money she has stolen from us this year. It has made us very sad that someone could do this and pretend to be your friend.

Hi Susan,
I am sorry that this happened to you. I am living in Vinitsa and I found out if someone is telling you... I am your friend... it does not really mean a friend.

I don't know what you can do. My english is no very good, becuae I am german. I would like to write to you not in a forum. I have a good landlord maybe he knows what to dou.

warm regards


Hi Giselle,

Thank you for replying, any information you could give me would be very welcome. You could e-mail me at susan211059[at]gmail .com.

Many thanks

Hi Susan,

Since you're not in Bulgaria it's probably unlikely that you'll have much luck either with the police or a threat of legal action. The latter, in fact, would probably cost more than you'd stand to recoup since you're not there to represent yourself and would need a lawyer. It's quite probable that your so-called "friend" knows that too, so it probably wouldn't scare her into coughing up any money either.

My advice to you would be to accept your losses and consider it a life lesson.... If you want anything done, you're better off doing it yourself. This old saying applies even moreso in foreign countries than it does at home.

Nowadays it's hard enough to trust people to do the right thing when you're right there to look over their shoulder, just imagine how much more difficult it is when you're hundreds of miles away.


Thank you for your reply.  I know you are probably right but we just feel something should be done. I think the worst part is the length of time we looked on this woman as a friend when in reality we were just a means to an end.

Thank you for your advice


Hello Susan,

Police is not the only option and probably they would not be able to do sth. different from talking to your friend. Of course you can file a complaint and they will probably investigate it, if the stolen amount is significant. But htere's another option - you can file a complaint to the National Revenue Agency stating that this woman has not declared the funds received by you and has not paid the respective tax on it. She will immediately be investigated for this and most probably will receive an administrative punishment and a financial sanction.

Hi Kristiann

Thanks for your reply.  I had not thought of that approach so thank you very much for the information.

Kind regards


You could also get a notary to send a notice stating how much you have been overcharged and that you wish to go to court if it's unresolved. He should add that you will be adding interest at a high rate (state the rate) all the while the debt goes unpaid.You could also mention in this letter that when it goes to court you will be notifying the tax office of the sums you have paid as a poster above mentioned.

Notary letters are served on the person and whilst they are not legally binding they have a very disconcerting effect upon the recipient.

Thank you very much for your reply it has certainly given us a lot to think about.  It is lovely that so many people have tried to help us with advice when we felt we would have to deal with this on our own.

Thank you


Well first of all, you will never get your money back, you should at least have Claimed the monthly letters from the companies right from the start.
There is some UK in Bulgaria networks, where people can tell how everything Works in BG, and when and where to find a lawyer, and to the normal BG wage - oh I see now you got plenty of help awesome!

Best regards

Hi Susan,
Don´t depend on someone eles,try to learn how to do it yourself.You can pay your bills online.We have a good bulgarian friends whom we can trust but a lousy British maintenance company who use the maintenance money for solicitor,accountant which they do it themselve plus we have committee who support all this without even telling the Owners.Lousy maintenance,just intrested to collect the maintenance.the cleaning lady are doing more of the maintenance company privat job at other places rather then cleaning the complex.On the yearly maintenance fee is stated for example things for the block but what for.Don´t ever hand any keys or copy of the property deeds to anyone not even to the maintenance company.The Apartment might be used without you knowing it.What I am trying to say is,the only one you can trust is you yourself.

That's it? A few hundred Lev? I just got ripped off 5500 euro, and everything was stolen from my hotel room! (I mean, I had to go out and buy socks and underwear again!) Now, I'm like two weeks away from sleeping on the streets. I can't even get out of here!

Still got your laptop though :)

How do you know it's a laptop? (You don't happen to live in central Sofia, do you?)

Well you are right. It could be your smartphone. On the other hand maybe you are in an internet cafe all day long spending your last pennies on internet access instead of buying your ticket home :))

Well, as they say above get into the system, or accept the loss....or be creative...

It's really up to you to frame the situation.

Hello everyone,

Please avoid arguments on the forum.  This thread has been launched since 2 years ago. You might start a new thread and please note that we are here to help and give useful information.

Thank you.

Hi I am also sorry this has happened to you , I know because this has also happened to us . We have a house for 15 years in Malko Tarnovo and we have had many say the word "friend " to us and it has not meant a thing.  One friend was working in our houses as they did not have any money and they had no work they started of doing a great job and keeping us updated with pictures then they left our beautiful house with plaster all over the place all over our  furniture and the most amount of cigarett butts i have ever seen in one place. when they knew we were arriving contact went silent .... I found out from someone in the town they ran away to Germany to work.They knew what they were doing and the mess they had left our house in. My advise would be to cut your losses move on and find genuine people but dont trust every one can only trust yourself. The other issue i have had to face is trying to set up a business in Bulgaria with a bulgarian company.  The company who replied to me when i reached out  said all the right things to start with , but they like there secrests!!  web site was paid for by me  and set up with my information and pictures all my hard work, they translated it into bulgarian . I flew out there in January to re-write things and try to explain the process, all seemed great then the PROBLEMS CAME !!! They wanted more money for their part, but they had not done anything and they couldn't see that without people for the project there would be no money anyway. they kept coming up with excuses all the time, especially why things were taking so long.
They then cancelled the website so i couldn't use it and said they wanted more money.
That was an extreamly painfull time for me as they would not return any of my money which i sent them as they had demanded I did.
The whole project was about to fall apart...... then I found an English Couple in Varna who have had the same background as me in the Care industry in the Uk and they are now part of this and it is going even better. This project was set up to employ Bulgarians in the Uk for guaranteed work I have everything in place but trusting the wrong people nearly cost me this and remember not every Bulgarian is a bad person. I have met some truely genuine, great people in Varna, Burgas, and of course Malko Tarnover where i have some real friends there  that have helped me and supported me here in   Bulgaria. That is why I love this  country and am trying to help them.

Hi Susan,

First of all please take out your email address and send it by messages. Thank you

Now, if you have proof of the money you gave her and it says that was for the utility bills and if you have all the bills then you can take her to court, The only thing the court would ask you is the proof that she ripped you off.

British or not, justice is done here, only if you have proof

Good luck

When the clutch stopped working on my car, I took it to a garage to get a quote. And I was quoted 900 Leva to do the work.
The car was useless with no clutch, and with the clutch working it was worth perhaps 1,500 Leva. So I accepted the quote for the work to be done.
On collecting the vehicle the owner said he had good news… the repair would only cost 500 Leva.

I had accepted the 900 Leva quote, and would have paid without any questions, yet the owner did the right thing, even though he could have made an extra 400 Leva out of me…

I have several other stories like this one. My experience is that Bulgarians are really fantastic people, and would shame a lot of people from other countries.

LOL............. know a couple that expressed interest in a house for sale in the village. Bulgarian owner had it up for 2,000 and had not used it in years in fact the windows have bene left open for years. As soon as he found out English had moved near by the price jumped to 10,000 Euros. House is still empty with open windows letting weather in.

Greed .......................... nothing more than greed.

Do you believe that house costs 2000? Seriously?
Please stay reallistic, calm and do not offend!
Many things are not fair in this country and it is not because of you. People listen to you and as far as you have a strong will and enough money, you would always stand your side. Here, it is tough. Things are getting better, but improvements take time. Find the right people for the right job, be clever and do your researches in advance, well in advance. Cheap things always bring cheap results here.
Stay very well informed about everything, you would find it extremely helpful if you stick to that: Patience is gold!
I do not buy even cheese, beer, yoghurt, cars... any commodities/materials before researching.
This is how we do things here.

In theory you get what you pay for don't you and yes not all that glitters is gold?
I agree doing some homework and background checks are always advisable on most purchases big or small, it can not prevent everything that may occur but it will be of some peace of mind and benefit. 
I can see both sides of the coin here and yeah obviously an opportunity to benefit one person is always going to look one sided to person who's out of pocket, but I have a house here in Bulgaria, and I too no doubt paid over the odds maybe (obviously) more than a local person would have, but here is the thing I don't see that as greed, I see somebody making a bigger pay day for themselves and their future but also I have something out of this too a house that I could not have purchased in my own country so cheaply.
I like this country I've had more downs than up's from my own house purchase and unfortunate petty thieves, again it is some opportunist it goes on I am fully aware but it does not distract me from my appreciation of the country and the better life it can offer.
I enjoyed the story of the Bulgarian mechanic there is proof that on face value you can always find a brighter picture too, and I am glad that was shared that with the forum.
Regards Steve.

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