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Mon 27 Jul 2009 04:14 PM

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Company denies hiking air con charges at Pearl

Investors accuse Qatar Cool of ramping up air con charges by nearly 200%.

Qatar Cool, a company which provides chilled water for air conditioning, has denied claims it has hiked charges by nearly 200 percent at The Pearl, a $14bn seaside project in Doha.

Angry investors have accused Qatar Cool, which is 51 percent owned by UDC (United Development Company), master developer of The Pearl, of ramping up its air conditioning charges at the waterside mega-development.

But in a statement posted on its website, Qatar Cool denied it had put up charges and said it currently only enters into contracts with sub-developers.

"Qatar Cool enters into contracts with the developers then, usually, the developer divides the cost of the one-time payments, or part thereof, to the unit owners or includes them in the price of the individual units as per the Individual Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) between developer and unit owners," the company said in a statement.

"The...fees have always been the same and have not been modified by Qatar Cool since they were established," the company added.

Now Pearl sub-developer First Qatar is passing on air conditioning connection fees to investors, some of whom face a bill increase of QR50,000 ($13,729) a year to QR146,000.

"It seems to be a typical case of "it is not my fault" as Qatar Cool are blaming the developers for passing on the fees to the investors and the developers are blaming Qatar Cool," one investor who did not wish to be named, told Arabian Business.

First Qatar is also threatening investors with an electricity connection fee charge of QR20,000.

The 4m sq m island mega-project The Pearl-Qatar in Doha will provide around 15,000 homes when it is complete in 2011 and will also allow foreigners freehold ownership rights.

First Qatar was unavailable for comment.

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JJ 11 years ago

"This is Qatar" is the only thing that comes to mind... I will be putting split units on my appartment!!!

Conned Investor 11 years ago

I'm with First Qatar and are facing never ending conflicting stories with the developer about the fees. I was also told when I bought my property that I would "only" have to pay max QR50,000 for aircon connection fees. The developer tells us to speak to Qatar Cool and Qatar Cool say speak to the developers – a never ending circle of no responsibility. Now I find out from First Qatar that I will have to pay QR600 a sqm for connection fees to the actual building itself, a sum of QR129,000, and then connection fees to my apartment, plus now they are trying to charge us for electricity to the building as well. The fees are seemingly never ending, but from what I read on Qatar Living's website, the other developers are looking to charge their apartment owners these fees as well. It seems First Qatar are wanting to hand over the apartments and give the new owners an additional bill of QR129,000 for aircon, QR20,000 for electricity & water and who knows how much for internet and cable TV. With body corporate/ maintenance fees and the additional QR17,000 for annual aircon charges to my flat, I'll need over QR200,000 just to move in. This is before I buy furniture. I should be looking forward to moving into my new apartment, but at the moment I just feel like I'm getting ripped off at every turn.

Delphy 11 years ago

We have been screw-up by our developer, they are liar, UDC should take some action regarding this matters. The developer should pay us also for delay handover!!!

Kenneth John 11 years ago

It seems that Dubai started the trend of "district cooling charges" being distributed to investors by Nakheel and Emaar. End User Investors had no idea that the costs would be extremely high and that the government had the forcesight to see where to generate additional income for future years with Cooling Charges, Maintenance Charges, Community Charges etc. etc. etc. etc. Now it seems that the rest of the GCC is joining in..........Invest in the Middle East? Talk to Investors who have done it before buying!! It will save you alot of money in the long term.

Punky Brewster 11 years ago

Man! It's the SAME story anywhere U go in the MIDDLE EAST. It's always FLEECING the customers, BLAMING others for the unauthorized charges. I think HUMANS here in the GULF, have been accustomed to thinking they are all above the OTHER tribes, if I may!! Any country with such people is doomed to fail, eventually, if the TRUST is NOT there. Talk abt persecution... they are the ones making lives of others a living hell, slowly, but steadily!!

Doha Resident 11 years ago

Ladies and gentlemen It was only a matter of time, before we started to see the true bahaviour of the developers in Qatar. With property sold by nifty little pointy toed salesmen making all the promises in the world and making it sound so easy, we now have the makings of property disputes. Many of the developers in Qatar have no knowledge of residential building, quality standards or how to behave when dealing with owners. Zero felxibility, no QA/QC documentation is provided to prospective buyers, and certainly a wide disparity between the vision and the reality. Communication to the owners is non-existent, and if you even dare to call, you get a mumbled response in Arabic and a gesture that they will call you back......"mumkin" You would stand a better chance having piano fall on your head, than a developer showing a vague interest in your problem, or issue. And lets not forget the all encompassing contract of sale. If ever there was a one way street, the contract is a de-facto tool to bully the owners with a "take it or leave" response. Unless you have wads of cash, and time to engage in legal issues, which would likely result in being placed on a black list, preventing you from leaving the coutry, and having to wait until your case reaches the court....which by the way has yet to yield any findings since no non-Qatari land owner has yet to have case being heard related to a contractual property dispute. Personally I have no faith in the developers. The incompetence and avoidance when visibly dropping the ball regarding calculation of costs and schedules is beyond belief. NOT ONE SINGLE CONTRACTOR IN THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR QATAR HAS COMPLETED A PROJECT ON TIME...PERIOD. I do believe there is another term for developer......gangsters!!!!! I expect that the Pearl owners will be bullied into swallowing the costs....and if they dont, well there is always the courts!!!?.....happy hunting. SC

Anthony Ryman 11 years ago

Air conditioning is a pre-requisite for any development in the Middle East. Hence it should be mandatory that it is included in the up-front cost for an apartment. What is sinister is that UDC apartment owners are not paying anything extra or up to QR 9000 for connection to district cooling being supplied by Qatar Cool (A UDC-owned company) whereas other apartment owners are going to be charged up to QR 150,000. Is there something sinister going on with UDC and their group of supplier companies to the PEARL PROJECT? Are they getting "mates rates"? While everyone else suffers. Are we being told everything we should?.

Apartment Owner 11 years ago

When we started the process of trying to ascertain these fees we had hoped that we might see some positive support in the local press as well. One prominent english daily almost directly reposted the Qatar Cool website post listing the fees. They happily state that owners will be charged QAR 82,500.00 as the base fee for a 200SQM apartment there are a number of other add-ons, as if this is perfectly normal. Like being charged one riyal for a can of coke. They dont question the fees, they dont question when these fees where supposedly established and locked down, which is currently one of the most important pieces of information we are trying to find. Perhaps this reporter could enquire? We are having no luck. What a pleasure the see this kind of article posted on such a prominent middle eastern site and to the people responding please keep it alive and spread the word. We are saving up for an electric fan....

M. Mouse 11 years ago

More fools all of you for buying property in that part of the world. Did no one do there homework before parting with their cash?

Gavin Mcdonald 11 years ago

I have taken my apartment with the land, it was meant to be handed over in Dec 08 as per my contract - yep, you guessed it I still have nothing. This latest fiacso with the AC connection is another example of the authority's having no idea how to attract investors into the region - I call on the Qatar Government to step in and make Qatar an attractive " lond tearm" investment and not a stop gap solutuion for ex pats coming for 2 years and leaving. You need to take responsibility for your future, the banks were bailed out it in your attempt to to reignite lending - this is doing nothing if you have zero investors ready to step in and take property when contiual financial issues are placed upon them. Lets hope the Qatar Gov't has someone who reads the business websites and understands what is happening, soemone take some action - the UDC will suffocate the pearl. it will die a lonley death. To ask a property owner to pay Qr 150,000 for various connections is nothing short of extortion. I'm actually embarssed to say I own a place on the " Pearl" right now, why did I invest my money in this venture is something I continualy ask myself. My money is being poured back to Australia - never again will I leave a Riyal in Doha to watch it get saturated by a group of rip off merchants. Invest in Oz - much safer enviroment and the regulated !!! Qatar Gov't - is any one there...?????