Thursday, August 13, 2009

No more 'future MRT stations' in condo ads

TWO developers which included unconfirmed locations of future MRT stations in their condo advertisements have stopped using the information as a selling point.

UOL Developments has altered publicity material for its Meadows@Peirce, removing a location map that showed several MRT stations on the planned Thomson Line, which will be ready only in 2018.

Far East Organization has removed the supposed site of a future station in Marine Parade from a webpage on the Silversea condo.

The moves came after The Straits Times ran an article over the weekend on developers using unconfirmed MRT information in their sales materials.

Ms Claire Cher, spokesman for UOL Group, parent of UOL Developments, said the company realised that station sites in its Meadows@Peirce advertisements 'have not been confirmed'.

'We have therefore taken steps on the very day the article appeared to remove the map from all our publicity materials.

'It was never our intention to mislead buyers,' she said.

Ms Cher also said the company is writing to buyers to inform them of the possibly inaccurate information, but stopped short of offering them outright the option to withdraw from their purchase.

One buyer, Mr Sean Chia, 37, said 'it is good' that UOL has corrected the ads. But he said he did not buy a unit there because of the proposed stations, which he pointed out were 'not near' the development.

'We bought because of the location - it is close to a reservoir and there is a lot of greenery around. It is also a huge plot,' he said.

Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore chairman Eleanor Wong said developers should avoid misleading advertisements.

'Certainly, an advertiser should never make it seem like a 'planned' station has already been built; or oversell the certainty of the station being built if things are still open to confirmation.'

She added that builders should also 'be careful not to give the impression that an MRT station is nearby if it is not'.

Far East Organization spokesman Oh Thay Lee gave the assurance that the company will now use only confirmed information on MRT lines and stations in its property advertisements.

She admitted that Far East ran an advertisement on July 11 on the Silversea that had a map which indicated the location of a possible MRT station in Marine Parade.

'Since then, we have not used this map in our print advertisements,' she said.

Subsequent Silversea ads, however, still had the line 'near to the future Marine Parade MRT Station'. Far East said this too will be removed.

Source: Straits Times, 13 Aug 2009

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