Shattered. Vijay and Maya Hardasani, at the site of the failed real estate project in downtown Jebel Ali Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/XPRESS

Dubai: Eight years after losing over Dh100,000 in a flop real estate deal, a Dubai couple are still waiting for a refund.

Indians Vijay Hardasani, 57, and his wife Maya, 53, who booked a 567 square foot studio flat from the Dubai-based Al Fara’a properties in 2008, say neither the fancied project ever took off nor was their money returned.

The Hardasanis, who purchased a fifth floor tower ‘A’ apartment – then valued at Dh865,000 - as part of the proposed Image Residences project in Downtown Jebel Ali’s Zone 3, were promised a March 2010 handover. But Hardasani claims all he got was a string of false promises until Dubai Courts transferred the development to the Cancelled Real Estate Projects Committee for liquidation in 2013. “It’s been a status quo since. The name’s been on that list since but there hasn’t been any hearing yet,” says the disappointed man who first came to the UAE in 1978.

“They used to have a signboard earlier. Even that’s gone now, perhaps buried under the sand somewhere,” adds Hardasani who visited the site of the failed project with his wife recently only to see swathes of barren desert land turn into a dumping ground for construction materials and a private car park operating nearby.

Hardasani says his problems began in May 2008 when he paid Al Fara’a Properties Dh43,250 to confirm the deal before handing them two more cheques of the same value. However, the damage could have been greater had he not stopped himself from paying the fourth and final instalment of his initial payment plan in November 2008 after he realised zero work had been done at the site in six months. “Not a brick was laid. Yet when I didn’t pay my fourth cheque, they started threatening us with late payment fines and termination of our contract,” says Hardasani who works as a sales manager at a Dubai trading company.

“Their veiled threats continued via emails for months as their sales executives kept pressuring us to pay another Dh43,250. It all stopped one day and soon we realised they had shut shop and opened another company. When we reached their new office, they said they had nothing to do with Image Residences,” adds Maya, who taught in a Dubai school for decades before retiring recently. “In this situation we can’t even take legal action against the old company as it has closed but we know the same guys are still doing business in Dubai. So waiting to hear from Dubai Courts is the only thing we can do as of now,” she rues.

XPRESS tried calling the numbers provided on the website of Al Fara’a Properties that claims to have been in business in Dubai since 1980, but they were not reachable.