As Sumit Chandran drove his car into the distant developing sub-city, so aggressively advertised, with such media hype created, he looked all around with sense of disbelief, shock and felt crest-fallen. Away from the hullaballoo of maddening crowd of his metropolitan city, he wanted to own a dwelling within the city, yet out of all of it. And that was when, about four to five months back, a blitzkrieg of advertisements in national and local newspapers was bombarded about this particular developer’s sub-city on the outskirts of Sumit Chandran’s city. And not to be left behind was online presence of this developer’s venture. Claiming to be equipped with all modern facilities, the sub city would have wide roads, totally electrified, wide and green open spaces, parks, cricket ground and what not.But all his dreams evaporated into thin air, when he reached there to finalize the deal. He was in touch with a property broker, who convinced Sumit about viability of the project. He was made to believe, or rather made to dream about the ‘heavens’ he will own an apartment. But when he entered the sub-city, he found the sub city surrounded by villages, who probably owned those agricultural tracts of land where the sub city was proposed to be built. The roads, leading to the sub city, were dilapidated, transversing through the villages, and were very narrow at places. The green surroundings exhibited on brochures and advertisements were nowhere to be seen. Rather dust all around added to the pollution levels. Thus the ‘fresh surroundings’ evaporated in dusty winds.To add insult to injury, ‘the construction in full swing’ was only an adage on the big board which seemed to tease the gullible clients like Sumit.
This is not the story of Sumit Chandran only, who built his dreams or rather castles in the air, and we can encounter similar experiences throughout India. There are hundreds of cases where the buyer has felt cheated by the developer about the location, quality of construction, deadlines of dates of possessions being extended etc. For instance, a reputed developer like Amrapali is delaying many of its projects in Greater Noida. Supertech has been penalized by Honorable Supreme Court to the tune of Rs Ten crores for delay in handing over the possession of flats.
Mainly these types of deceits can be, to some extent, averted if the customer visits the venue more often than relying on online progress report on developer’s website. It is a common-sense that a developer, howsoever renowned and big, will never furnish an absolutely correct information about its projects, the finishing deadlines, quality of material used, legal status of the land etc. In simple wors, the developers’ website is not a sanctimonious document from where the information can be trusted fully. It can be taken as a piece of advertisement, to a larger extent, with a tinge of information. Thus the websites and portals of the developers are of practically negligible utility, giving limited information to the benefit of a client.
Much to the chagrin of innocent client, eventhe properties stamped as ‘Verified’, have been found as misleading and not displaying correct updates. Thus at the most, the portals can, at the most be taken as a source of general information about property, date of launch, information about area of flat etc and nothing more.
Another area of fraudulent transactions which primarily take place on-line are sale and purchase of flats, where the deals are finalized on internet and advance payments are made, trusting the seller. According to Delhi Police Statistics, the cases of multiple property mortgage cases have been increasing and more than 30 fake sale deed frauds have taken place till July 2016. All this happened because of the trust imposed by the buyer on online media (which actually cares for the revenue source to them instead of buyers like us) rather than visiting property registration office for enquiry or verifying facts by visiting the locations.
The real utility of the portals will only be when the information disseminated is truthful and to the benefit of its clients. And I hope, the market pressures will make it possible, one day.