Better Homes CEO Ryan Mahoney has admitted that the company ran false information in its online Dubai property advertisements, including descriptions of non-existent shopping malls and claims the Dubai Metro ran through the Palm Jumeirah.
But Mahoney – speaking this morning on Dubai Eye’s Business Breakfast show – blamed human error, and made no apologies for the fictional adverts.
“We screwed up, we should know better,” Mahoney told the programme, adding: “There wasn’t anything malicious, it was a human error and system error. There is a big difference between malicious intent and human error. It’s hard to get it right every single time.”
One advertisement, for the property on the Palm’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 a large hole in the ground. No underground walkway exists. Nakheel announced late last year that it is looking to restart the project in 2013.
Another advertisement, also for the Oceana development, claims “residents may also access the Palm Jumeirah’s 60,000 sqm 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 only currently open Anantara Hotel & Spa in the region is located nearly 200km 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 3km away. The existing Palm Monorail is not accessible from outside the development.
However, Mahoney appeared to lay the blame squarely on his agents, saying: “We have 50 different nationalities in our company, and listings are agent led.”
He added: “It’s more for the agent and manger to be sure a shopping mall is there.”