Sharjah: An unsuspecting Sharjah resident who was allegedly cheated by a man posing as a real estate agent has warned others to be more careful in dealing with unknown firms and their representatives.
Arsalan Firdousi, who is a biomedical engineer working for a Dubai-based firm, was browsing through property advertisements on the popular e-commerce portal Dubizzle last month when he came across a property listing and contacted the agent, only to find later that he had been cheated.
“I was looking for a two-bedroom apartment in Al Taawun area of Sharjah and I found a property advertisement posted on Dubizzle that seemed to fit my requirements and called on the mobile number displayed on the post. A man answered the phone and came to my house to discuss the matter further,” said Firdousi, a 33-year-old Pakistani.
Firdousi, a UAE resident for nine years, said that the agent later took him around Al Taawun area to show him a few property units.
“We saw a few apartments and I liked one in a building called Bawadi Two, near Oriana Hospital. He then quoted me three rental rates based on the number of instalments I would make the payment. Since the rent was lower for the single cheque payment, I opted for it. I booked the flat by paying him a Dh2,000 booking fee for which he gave me a receipt. It all seemed fine and there was no reason to suspect anything fishy,” said Firdousi.
However, alarm bells rang for Firdousi when there was no communication from the agent after receiving the advance.
“Several days after I paid the advance, there had been no communication from the agent. I began to suspect there was something wrong. He was not responding to my WhatsApp messages and his mobile was also switched off. I tried calling on the office number printed on the receipt he gave me and that was also not connecting, that’s when I realised I was cheated,” added Firdousi.
Gulf News tried to reach the firm, Blue Stars Commercial Brokers LLC, which apparently issued the receipt for the booking fee, but couldn’t reach its office number. Even its website mentioned on the receipt, www.bluestarsgroup.com, turned out to be non-existent.
Firdousi said he also contacted Dubizzle in an attempt to trace the advertisers, but was apparently unsuccessful in getting any details about the firm.
“When I contacted the Dubizzle customer care, they told me that details of the advertisers could be given only when the authorities approach them. So my next move was to file a complaint with the authorities but so far I haven’t had any success either with Dubai Police or Sharjah Police,” said Firdousi.
Firdousi claims that Dubai Police directed him to Sharjah since the alleged fraud happened in Al Taawun area and Sharjah Police directed him to Sharjah Economic Development Department.
“When I went to the offices of Sharjah Economic Development Department, I was told to file a complaint online, which I did, but nothing has happened so far,” said Firdousi, dejected about how things have turned out.
Gulf News contacted Dubizzle for its comment on the issue, but received no response.