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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

UAE Bar Works agent quit after 'realising what they were asking us to sell'

Dubai seller describes unease at 'shady product'

A Mumbai broker says he was flown in by a company to sell real estate in Dubai, but later told to drop everything and sell Bar Works because it offered the firm huge commissions.

Sanjay arrived in Dubai in June last year and was soon cold-calling customers.

“When I arrived here I was only given a visitor’s visa and told by the company to call a guy in the UK called Julian to find out about selling Bar Works,” he said.

“He had been selling airport car parks in Europe and I was experienced in real estate, so I was interested to hear what he had to say. Julian gave us a presentation over the phone from the UK, and told us what Bar Works was all about.

“He said Bar Works would pay our company 20 per cent commission to sell their product, and as brokers we would get a Dh2,000 bonus for every sale.”

The incentive encouraged his bosses at the brokerage in Tecom to encourage as many new investors to buy in as possible.

For developments in the UAE, units were being sold for $30,000 each, while those in Istanbul were being sold for $10,000 each.

“My bosses went completely bullish on Bar Works and asked all 80 or so brokers to start selling as many as possible,” Sanjay added.

“They didn’t know fully what the company in America was all about, just that we had to sell as many investments as possible.”

The brokerage would stage events in hotels to encourage investors to pile in their savings.

Two teams of brokers were taken off their usual job of selling Dubai property to overseas investors and told to sell as many Bar Works investments as possible, with hefty bonuses awarded to the most productive sellers.

This went on for almost three months until October last year, when the owner of the brokerage decided to sell investments into his own scheme.

“I had a strong feeling this was a shady product,” said Sanjay. “My forte was selling real estate and I have worked for some big companies in India.

“I wanted to leave and realised this had been the biggest mistake of my life. In November, I decided to move on as I didn’t feel comfortable with what they were asking us to sell.

“The commissions were unusually high, and this was suspicious. They should have asked questions but didn’t want to jeopardise the huge payments they were receiving from Bar Works.”