Another dumb tourist conned (Colombo)
We looking for advice, 5 years ago we stupidly invested with a local guy in Bentota to build and set up a cottage and a few guest rooms on his property, after much back and forth on our part as we had our doubts about trusting a Sri Lankan as we were warned by so many locals not too. In the end we caved after all the sweet talk and bs about being like family members after our 4th visit and stupidly feeling like we were going to make a difference in the lives of this "wonderful" family - still can't believe how stupid and gullible we were to fall for all the bs!
We had paperwork drawn up respect to setting up the business and only sent funds via the proper channels etc. Everything above board as far as we could manage.
Over the last 4 years he's been doing very well and we've been back and forth to Bentota to see what progress was being made. All seemed well except once we stopped sending money, as we were not getting our share of the profits as agreed and there was always some or other excuse or as in the last 2 years practically no response to any form of communication except when we showed up at the property.
As this was just a hobby for me, we weren't too pushy in regards to what we were promised financially.
However on our recent visit I insisted on being added as a co-host on Airbnb, as something didn't seem right from what we were being told and what I was seeing from the bookings calendar - he's a superhost and has been making quite the profit.
Long story short he's been making a huge profit and just not sharing as agreed and hasn't paid us a cent back using the excuse that locals can't send money abroad!
What we would like to know is what can we do to get our money back apart from breaking his legs (which on a bad day I'm really tempted to do). Initially I really didn't care about the money but it was the absolute lack of respect and the nasty way in which we were treated once we decided we were no longer pouring money into the project, after seeing the real numbers and not the fabricated crap he occasionally sent us, thats made me want to push as hard as I can.
The family has done very well for themselves with the investment we made - which is what we were hoping as they lived in a shack prior to us helping them. We keep trying to explain that it's the decency of just responding to our calls, text or emails and letting us know what's going on...but for well over 2 years this hasn't sunk in. On our last visit, it ended with us leaving the cottage on the property after the mother came screaming at me and violently attacking me with a broom, after we asked why we haven't been paid for so long.
Any suggestions are welcome...ANY...debt collectors, lawyers...do we get the police involve? I'm tempted as I've also become aware of a fraudulent scam that he is using but I don't trust the tourist police to be of any help in Bentota due to the corruption. Alternative methods and/or suggestions are welcome. I've tried being nice for far too long.
People like this make it hard for me to give a hoot about the locals and would rather support small business ventures in Africa from hereon..even the Nigerians have more decency when conning you at least.
Please PM me with solutions, ideas or suggestions....