DLF Home Developers — Harassment of Innocent Citizens by DLF Southern Homes Pvt. Ltd. through fraudulent practices
Dear Chief Minister, We, the Innocent Citizens and customers of DLF Southern Homes Pvt. Ltd. (“DLF Homes”), do hereby draw your kind attention to the ordeal & harassment meted out to us by the builder and consequent financial, mental, and physical hardships we are going through for the past five years due to various fraudulent practices by DLF homes. The ordeal started in 2009, when DLF Homes pre-launched a project in Begur Hobli (off Bennerghatta Road), named Westend Heights at New Town. The proposal was to develop a township with multiple types of units in various phases. The first phase is named as Westend Heights consisting of 19 towers spread over four clusters containing total 1860 flats. The project got all the necessary approvals in March 2010, following which we got our Apartment Buyers Agreement (ABA) executed. According to the ABA, the project was committed to be given possession by mid of 2013. They completed the framework for all the towers with slabs in the first 2 years (by 3rd quarter of 2012) and collected 95% of the total amount from the customers. Since then, in the next two years they have almost stalled the progress; as a result they failed to meet their commitments for possession as mentioned in the ABA, and snapped all the communication channels with the customers, including the updates in their website. As there was no communication from DLF to the customers regarding the reasons for delay and the status of the project even after all the committed deadlines were lapsed, we sat on a Dharna in front of their site office in Aug 2013 with our demands, which was covered by sections of media. Although the Dharna was called off after their assurance to consider our demands; however except sharing a revised possession schedule starting Jan 2014, neither any other information shared, nor the pace of work improved by any means. In Sep 2013, they demanded Rs. 128/ per sq. ft (in the range of 180, 000 to 250, 000) for each customer in the name of various taxes paid to govt. up till March 2013, without showing any proofs whatsoever, except for a dubious CA certificate. Although this unexpected amount was paid by us with extreme difficulty with the expectation of getting possession starting January 2014; but there was no sign of any change and there was absolutely no communication from DLF on the project status and reasons for missing deadlines. With no other options left, again we sat on a Dharna with our demands in Aug 2014 that was covered by various media. In response to which a meeting with Mr Srinivas (VP & South Zone Head) was arranged who committed to look into the issues and expedite the progress. But surprisingly we were slapped with numerous other additional, unplanned charges to the extent of Rs. 400, 000 – 600, 000 in the name of various govt. taxes and charges. In addition to that, customers have been forcibly asked to sign on documents with various indemnity clauses to protect their own interest, so that we can’t sue DLF never in the future. This is in addition to their 100 page agreement (ABA) containing all sorts of one-sided draconian clauses to extort any amount of money at any point in time. DLF has left no opportunity to take advantage of the absence of a Real-estate regulatory system in the country; it has twisted all the clauses in the ABA in such a deceitful manner that it would be almost impossible to get justice through our legal system too. Moreover what we learn from various social media that this is a well-planned strategy to exploit the innocent citizens by DLF in all their launched projects in that past decade throughout the country including Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Indore, Goa, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, and other NCR region. We have observed a well-planned standard strategy by DLF to fool & cheat the customers as well the Govt. as explained in the attached annexure to this petition. Over and above all these traumatic experiences forcefully given by DLF, we have also been facing many consequences of the ordeal, in the form of financial hardships & crisis due to all these unexpected, unplanned, and sudden demands by DLF in the name of govt. charges & taxes, payment of both interest on the house loan & house rent for a prolonged period, loss of tax benefit from the house loan interest due to delay beyond three years, and travelling of our children’s to their schools near the project site, etc. Reeling under extreme financial burden, coupled with the hostile situation created by DLF, we are planning to sit on hunger strike indefinitely, until justice is delivered. We swear that we would not be budged by anything other than absolute justice putting our lives at stake; and DLF would be responsible for any resulting consequences thereof due to this hunger strike! Therefore, Honorable Chief Minister, we are pleading you to intervene and provide necessary support to investigate into the genuineness of the so called Govt. charges & taxes to protect the interest of the innocent citizens from the claws of this atrocious builder DLF Homes. Annexure-I Based on the facts shared by customers who have invested in various projects across cities, throughout the country including Gurgaon, Kolkata and Chennai, Bangalore, Kochi, Indore, Goa, Hyderabad, etc. there is no doubt that investors have been cheated big time by DLF and interestingly DLF seems to have followed a pattern in their cheating strategy too, as described in detail below: 1. Pre-launch the project at the lowest price in the prevailing market compared to other builders. 2. Use only the customer's money for the initial fund requirements needed for obtaining approvals, NOCs, etc. that they take more time to make payments to the authorities and get the NOCs & approvals. As quicker you want things to be done, more you need to shell out! 3. Consequently the project launch gets delayed and they get publicity by word-of-mouth; otherwise they have to spend a lot on advertisements to market quickly. Also as the prelaunch stage gets optimally stretched (around 12 - 15 months) they revise prices in the prelaunch stage itself. Yet psychologically people feel that they are lucky to book a unit at lower prelaunch price. 4. Keep enough inventories in each phase of prelaunch with itself and channel partners who invest in the project and block units in bulk that offsets the slightly lower market price and rather gives them profit after launch. 5. The other advantage is in case of any litigation, and road-blocks, it's the customers’ money that would be at risk and/or blocked indefinitely. 6. Make the projects as big size townships that differentiate from competitors. 7. Categorize the project as up market by providing wooden flooring, big amenities, open spaces, etc. 8. All these amenities are verbally told by the sales guys during the prelaunch phase and some of them are just mentioned in the prelaunch brochures (with a disclaimer that all these are indicative only) - which means, no real printed specification with dimensions (such as 60000 sq. ft of club house, bathing enclosures, etc. were promised by the sales team) of the so called big amenities that they can alter/remove at their own will. Because of the DLF brand people rarely tend to disbelieve. 9. Thus during prelaunch stage itself, most of the units are sold and required publicity is achieved. After launch they don't have to print brochures with exact specifications that can go against them as commitments legally. 10. Then comes the turn of the one-sided ABA; quietly they persuade the investors to sign - most inexperienced buyers don't understand and oblige - a few understand but give up (knowing that it's not possible to get it changed and anyway the investment has appreciated after the launch and will further appreciate). 11. Complete the slabs for all floors in 2-3 years so that 95% of the money can be collected promptly. And rest of the stock units can be sold at higher prices through partners. That would not only offset any inflation, also give profit. 12. Delay the progress of finishing in such a way that they could earn the required money as returns from the surplus they have collected from the buyers; that too helps offsetting the inflation and making profit. 13. Compromise on the qualities of the fittings & fixtures to offset the inflation and maintain the target margin. 14. Alter/remove the amenities at will, based on the current situation as they never committed on their exact specification and dimensions! 15. Extort as much as possible in the name of Taxes & Levies, using the shield of TPR (Timely Payment Rebates), DP (Delay Penalty), etc. However only a mere 5-10 % of the buyers only get the benefit of this. This fund is also generated from the project in the form of DLI (Interest on Delayed Payments) from the buyers who delay in payments (there would always be many for various reasons of their own as well as created by DLF). 16. Huge unexpected final installment demand so that most of the buyers would give it thinking that it is the last one and they could enjoy their long awaited dream home by paying this; at the same time most of them would miss the deadline to arrange the extra unexpected bucks, losing TPR, DP, etc. 17. Prolonged delay in completion of the project induces a lot of re-sales because of many reasons - people migrate to different cities/countries, people change office, school, etc. and move to different parts of the city. People sell and buy some ready to move-in properties, and so on. Thus they don't have to pay TPR, EPR (Early Payment Rebates), DP, etc. This delay in turn, generates money for DLF in the form of commissions. Moreover it also means ultimately only very few buyers genuinely waiting for possession for a longer period - this also means they would never have to face a bigger revolting crowd. Even if any legal action is taken it would be by a smaller crowd. In the worst case they have to shell out a few lakhs rupees only!
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