Affordable house construction fraud: 40 swindled of RM2 million

Siti Aisyah Mohamad
Siti Aisyah Mohamad
14 Feb 2024 01:30pm

SHAH ALAM - A total of 40 people lost around RM2 million after being lured by a Facebook advertisement for affordable house construction services on their own land.

A Selangor-based contractor company which appeared convincing promoted its services on Facebook, but unfortunately, the projects it started only reached halfway before the company ceased operations.

Real estate agent Muhammad Fauzad Ahmad, 49, said his mother Hawa Adan, 76, was one of the victims of the company's fraud, resulting in losses of over RM57,000.

"So far, we have identified 40 individuals who were also deceived by the company's scam, leading to a collective loss of RM2 million.

"In my mother's case, I discovered the Facebook advertisement about the promotion and visited their office, which made us feel confident and trusted their services.

"The company informed us that the promoted price was RM130,000 for 1,000 square feet. Therefore, we agreed to meet on Feb 26, 2023, to discuss the appointment of the contractor, price negotiations and the house plan.

"I confirmed the main contractor appointment by making a deposit payment of RM3,000 to the company on the same day, as their offer aligned with our budget," he told Sinar.

Fauzad said the company requested an initial working payment of RM54,400 at first, but he did not comply as he had not yet signed the house construction agreement.

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"Afterwards, when we visited the office, the company owner couldn't meet us due to prior commitments with other clients. Consequently, only our side signed the agreement, with their representative as a witness, stating it was to speed up the construction process.

"We made the second payment as requested on April 17, last year, but until now, no construction has taken place. Instead, they only delivered a few pieces of boards, explaining that they were for setting up a temporary house for workers.

"Not even six months later, I received a WhatsApp message stating that the company had gone out of business. I asked for the money to be refunded, but they avoided it, saying that their bank account has been frozen," he said.

Fauzad said despite lodging a police report and submitting claims through the Consumer Claims Tribunal, they have yet to receive any success so far.

He said the company continued to actively attract customers via social media, particularly on Facebook, under different aliases.

"The public should exercise caution as they have now established a new company for low budget housing projects, targeting individuals seeking affordable options," he added.