By Anil Bhoyrul
Potential buyers given descriptions of non-existent shopping malls and metro line
Top Dubai estate agent Better Homes has been running false information on a number of its property advertisements, an investigation by Arabian Business can reveal.
The advertisements – all appearing on the company’s website – make a number of claims regarding the Palm Jumeirah development, including non-existent shopping centres, access to leisure facilities that were never built, and even claims that the Dubai Metro runs through the development.
One advertisement, for the property on the Palm Jumeirah’s Oceana development, claims the property “is also within walking distance of the Village Centre shopping mall via a pleasant and safe underground walkway.” In fact, the Village Centre project was halted five years ago, and has remained as a large hole in the ground. No underground walkway exists. Nakheel announced late last year that it is looking to restart the project this year.
Another advertisement, also for the Oceana development, claims “residents may also access the Palm Jumeirah’s 60,000 square metre luxury retail complexes via a bright pedestrian underpass.” Again, no such complex or underpass exists.
An advertisement for the Tiara development says the Palm Jumeirah contains “the exclusive Palm Anantara Hotel & Spa”. In fact, the nearest currently open Anantara Hotel & Spa in the region is located roughly 100km away in Abu Dhabi.
A fourth Better Homes advertisement, for a property on the Golden Mile, says “the metro now runs along the Palm making access to the facility easier.” In fact, the Dubai Metro has never been part of the Palm Jumeirah, the closest station being around 3 km away. The existing Palm Monorail is not accessible from outside the development.
Each of the advertisements contains the names and details of the agent responsible for selling the property.
Last night the company began taking down the advertisements after being contacted by Arabian Business. However, a spokeswoman said the company said it would not be making any official comment.
Founded in 1986, Better Homes is one the largest and most successful estate agents in the region, and has expanded to 25 offices across the Middle East and Asia. The company says its website – on which the advertisements appear – that it receives 1.2 million page views each month and that it has “the UAE’s largest dedicated, opt-in database of real estate customers of over 100,000 up-to-date contacts.”
Last May, the company began publishing ratings online for its agents.
The company said the move gave customers the ability to vet and select an agent to work with, based on their service and performance credentials.
"Our objective is to deliver great customer service every single time," CEO Ryan Mahoney said at the time, adding: "Honest and open customer reviews will enable new customers to find the best agents.”
In 2011, Dubai said that the world's first governance charter for real estate developers - aimed at improving transparency in the sector - would be implemented by January 2013.
The Dubai Land Department (DLD) said it had launched the draft document with the blessing of ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
It said real estate companies will be educated about what the charter means, prior to putting the final touches on the final draft.
Oh dear, very bad for Better Homes and they really do need to do a press release on this. Why do these companies just think they can get away with publishing lies then ignore it when found it.
How you will be Better and popular in our time without lying?
From th beggining I never use Better Home and I feel they are always expensive and now I found about their false ads.
Thank you for sharing this.
What else can be expected from a Brish based company.
I think that many companies in the region are guilty on misleading advertisements. As customer you should especially in real estate sector do your homework. I tend not to believe advertisements and brochures but confirm the facts myself.
That Better Homes is mentioned here is unfortunate for that company, but not unique in this market.
Obviously better home had stepped on the toe of some big shot , and that why the media has been given permission to attack them openly.
In the past 10 years have any one read or hear property advertisement which does not have lies or facts twisting ? why blaming Better Home for something that every single property developer and real estate agent do ?
At least better Home handle their client in perfect ways , whether in start or end of any rent relation they make it in decent ways , why donâ€™t you compare them to other landlords like Nakhil , Al Kazim, EMMAR, Dubai properties,â€¦etc, it will be like comparing heaven to hell .
Clearly Better Homes does not advertise in AB, otherwise this worthy investigation would never have seen the light of day. Better Homes has long made wild claims about its success and the market, all dutifully reported by pliant hacks.
As a landlord I found BetterHomes very difficult to work with, and gues what? They are asking landlords for leasing fee too! I would never work with them!
I have seen such ads many times but never thought what a great article that would be, very clever idea, it made me really laugh
Having dealt with a number of real estate companies in the UAE recently I think it is far to say that many of them, and the numerous agents and other individuals they 'employ' are far from honest, deal in a very cheap manner and are bringing the real estate industry a very bad name!
There may well be regulation to control these businesses but no one seems to be enforcing anything regarding quality, honesty or integrity.
"Honest and open customer reviews will enable new customers to find the best agents.â€ A wonderful comment. Could also be applied to the previous article in ABN on schools ripping off potential customers! Better Homes also was a reputable company when it started off in 1986. How times change.