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How I lost £5,000 :(

Discussion in 'Dubai property' started by GRATHAL, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. GRATHAL

    GRATHAL New Member

    Just to relate my experience of losing approx £5,000 (euro 7,000) after using Homes Dubai, a Manchester-based property agent and the currency broker, HIFX.

    In January, I reserved a £30k studio apartment in the Al Salam City development close to Dubai in the UAE. The salesperson had me fill-out a reservation form and promised the actual purchase agreement from the developer would be issued within 30 working days. I immediately paid a non-refundable deposit and the first installment payment.

    The first installment payment was in Dirhams and had to be sent to an account in Dubai, so the salesperson repeatedly recommended that I use the services of HIFX, a currency broker, even providing a reference number to quote. On that advice, I called HIFX to arrange the first installment payment. Although I repeatedly told their dealer that I had not received the formal purchase agreement containing the exact amounts and dates of payments, he still offered to enter me into a legal contract to purchase, in advance, the entire estimated total purchase price in AED using estimated installment payment dates. Trusting his judgement, I foolishly agreed. As well as the initial installment, I was then obliged to transfer a large deposit for future payments.

    Later the same day, I informed the dealer again by e-mail that I had not received the sales contract from the seller so the amounts and dates would need to be modified sometime in the future. He promptly called me to say that he was "very concerned" to hear that. However, a short time later he again called, stating that he had spoken with his superior and that it would all be arranged "in my favour" (direct quote).

    Now the bad part. By August I had still not received the sales contract from Homes Dubai. It was difficult to get any information from them, I was told that the salesperon I had dealt with had left. I was reluctant to send any more money to an account in Dubai without any contract, so I wrote to cancel my reservation and request a refund. Their MD refused any refund.

    Simultaneously, I attempted to contact the dealer in HIFX to cancel that contract but he too was now working elsewhere. His replacement informed me that I had legally committed to buy the entire estimated purchase price in AED and to close the contract, the AED would need to be sold back to HIFX - with a loss of several thousand euro on my part given the intervening fall in the value of the US dollar (to which I learned the AED is linked).

    I complained to HIFX on the basis that the dealer should not have offered me the initial deal, having being repeatedly informed that I was neither in possession of a sales contract, actual purchase price nor actual payment dates. Secondly, a loss could not reasonably be interpreted as an arrangement "in my favour". Thirdly, the dealer had again contacted me in June 2007 yet still failed to warn me of the mounting losses; even at that stage the losses could have been limited. Finally, HIFX have informed me that Homes Dubai are one of "their agents", a clear conflict of interest which Homes Dubai did not reveal to me.

    In October, HIFX made a "final" offer to withhold my initial deposit and bear the additional loss, threatening further action if I did not agree within 24 hours. Desperate to limit my losses and fearful of their actions, I was compelled to accept their offer under protest. The loss borne by HIFX amounts to a paltry 100 euro...

    As well as refusing a refund, Homes Dubai deny all liability regarding the currency loss and their advice to use HIFX's financial services.

    So I now face a combined loss of approximately £5,000 or euro 7,500.

    Please learn from my experience! :eek:
     
  2. Janoulaki

    Janoulaki New Member

    Hi Alan,

    and all guys reading this thread.

    It is only vital to educate yourself before you buy anything.

    I am not promoting anything here only pointing at the fact that it is good to read educate and get recommendation rather than ignoring every help coming on this forums for free.

    Good luck with everything
     
  3. Sorry to hear about the loss

    Have you reported this to the press or the complaints commission? Keep everything you have in writing.
     
  4. GRATHAL

    GRATHAL New Member

    Thanks Gurus.

    I have everything I mentioned in writing because I currently live outside the UK and corresponded mostly by email. Yes, I have recently written to the UK press and main property magazines and I'm awaiting a reply. Unfortunately, currency brokers aren't regulated by the FSA...
     
  5. sorry for the repeat posts

    was having trouble with the internet connection at the time :rolleyes:

    anyway good luck grathal and thanks for sharing your experience. Hope you're next adventure is more fruitful.
     
  6. wayneis

    wayneis New Member

    Lesson.......Use a property lawyer familar with laws of UAE

    GRATHAL Sorry to here about your mis fortune, interesting post and well written, it does draw attention yet again to how people are willing to invest in property here in The UAE with out seeking legal Advice or involving a lawyer who specializes in UAE Property.
     
  7. Pluto and Charon

    Pluto and Charon New Member

    Aren’t HIFX affiliated to a certain property company (we can’t mention) who have a couple of (naughty) postings on YouTube?

    I use Moneycorp, and have had no problems whatsoever with them.
     
  8. Dubai Sport City

    Dubai Sport City New Member

    It happened many times

    Dear Grathal,

    I understand your problem. I also work for a developer in Dubai and I have been working with them for almost 2 years. I changed few of the for different reasons, and one of them is that they don't give the contracts to the clients in time, which means that the clients can pay even the third payment and the contract is not ready. One of the reason is that they don't have enough staff and also they have many projects comming up and they don't have enough time for all of them. On the other hand regarding the money transfer, there is a group all over the world which is working also with companies from Dubai for the money transfer, so the work as a bank and the transfer fees are cheaper than any other bank. You only have to give me your details like name and e-mail address and I will recomand you to them and they will take care of you. In case that you like how they work you can transfer through them in the future. Keep in touch.
     
  9. mpat

    mpat New Member

    Hi

    Hi friend,

    Sad to read about your loss, I think you should file a case against developers of Al salam city legally in dubai about your losses . I understand that the problem was from al salam since you did not get your sales contract.or was it from Homes dubai ? if it is from homes dubai , you can consult a legal advisor and sue them in court , either in dubai or in UK.
     
  10. Fizzypopp

    Fizzypopp New Member

    Learning Curve

    As we move through the market we are finding more and more agents claiming to have direct access to the developer. As the markets in areas such as the UK and of course the USA harden the impact on sub-agents and sub-sub-agents will be that the market for international property advisers will explode.

    If the middle man won't let you speak or have direct access to the developer a flag should go up - its called buyer beware.

    As we network and teach our clients perhaps those who also have an open access policy should teach their own clients that completing forms with third parties is fraught with danger. There are only two people in the contract when buying off-plan that matter the seller and the buyer. It is not like buying privately from an Estate Agent, who in fact has little legal power anyway. It is the Solicitor.

    Just tread slowly and carefully.

    Paul
     
  11. Bez

    Bez New Member

    It,s happening again. Is this how this firm makes so much money

    I have tried to trace Grathal re his posting last November How I lost £5,000. If anyone can put me in contact please do.
    If anyone else is having problems dealing with HIFX please let me know.
    They have done exactly the same with my husband and I and are extremely aggressive and very difficult to deal with. Be warned or you will probably find yourself in the same position as Grathal and I. As such a large company it is easy for them to threaten individuals.
    Please let me know if you are having any difficulty at all with them or know of anyone else who is.
    Thanks
    Bez
     
  12. smullin

    smullin New Member

    Hi Bez,
    I actually used both Homes Dubai and HIFX. HIFX did loose two of my payments along the way but fortunately I was able to track and recover, I was paying in Euros to Dirs. I purchased in International City from plans 3 years ago and made the incremental payments through HIFX. However what I later discovered to my horror was that the payments were going straight into Zul's (owner of Homes International)Dubai account, which had previously been denyed from his office.
    Much to my regret I made all the payments on time and in full, as when I finally recieved my contract from the building owner it stated I had actually bought a large studio and not the one bedroom apartment I had paid Zul in full for. A difference of approx 13k, He will not refund me the monies I paid into his account. Please everyone that reads this be warned about this rogue company and their lack of professionalism and integrity. I would forewarn all to use any other agent than these. I would like to know who regulates this industry in the UK as I am very keen to extract my 13k by any means and if that means even 5 people dont use them in future ,that would suffice.
    regards
    Shane
     
  13. anil

    anil New Member

    I used Homes Dubai and got away with it.

    I was concerned when I did not get receipts for deposit payments and had to write some nasty letters before receipts were sent to me. This proved critical as when the final statement arrived from Dubai 2+ years later, guess what?.. the deposit payment was missing!
    Anyway, with receipts and a trail of emails, it was resolved.

    Infact, I had no support or contact from Homes Dubai from the point they took the deposit.. I was dealing directly with people in Dubai.

    As for HIFX, I have not had any issues. When I need to make a payment I just call them to do the currency conversion and then fill in the froms to do the transfer. I do not tell HIFX anything about the agent/property or purpose. I have used them for various currency payments.

    Regulation! There is none. The whole property investment industry (UK or overseas) is totally unregulated. So buyer beware.

    I am now using Select Property and the experience could not be more different.
     
  14. Bez

    Bez New Member

    Problems using HIFX

    Dear Shane
    Thanks for your reply. Our problems are only with HIFX but they are big problems.

    We had used them a few times before they encouraged my husband to buy currency in advance. Everyone be warned they do not do as they say they will.
    Re regulation the currency part is not regulated by the FSA but I have been in contact with them and the Financial Ombudsman and have been advised to contact Trading Standards and Her Majesties Customs which I am about to do. Unfortunately international currency is not covered by the FSA however if the problem is to do with mortgages or insurances they are monitored by the FSA.

    When trying to resolve issues with them they do not care. In my experience rather than try to resolve a problem they pass you on from one to another or ignore the problem. Having dealt with approximately 20 people it becomes impossible to resolve. neither do they do what they promise.

    I am collating evidence that shows they have treated other clients very similarly and it costs the clients. Please let me know of anyone else having problems with them.
    Thanks
    Bez
     
  15. Bez

    Bez New Member

    Is anyone still in contact with Grathal if so please send me thread.
    Thanks
     
  16. iimz

    iimz Banned

    From Dubai

    Hi

    I am a full time investor based in Dubai for last 24 years. If there is any way i can assist you in helping you find the right property and facilitate your decision then be sure to contact me.

    I will be more that happy to assit the overseas investors who have limited access to happenings in Dubai

    My contact is iimz at hotmail dot kom
     
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