‘How I fought back and survived the scam’
Jason Walker, a British expat in Oman, paid a RO1,000 deposit for a flat in Seeb. But his agent – the woman mentioned in the main article – scammed him, leaving him in a legal tussle with their (virtually) non-existent firm. Surprisingly, he won. Here’s his story:
I came to Oman in 2017 for work so decided to rent a house in an exclusive gated community in Seeb. I had stumbled upon a very well-crafted website showing photos of the properties.
I opted for a one-bedroom flat using the woman as my estate agent.
I transferred RO1,000 from my bank account in the UK to her company and then dropped off four cheques for my rent to a coffee outlet in Madinat Qaboos.
Paperwork done (all without even seeing the agent), I began living in my new home. Three-and-a-half months later, however, I was approached by the landlord asking for the rent and the deposit.
Shocked, I immediately chased her up but got no response.
So, I headed to the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP). I was told to head to the court to file a case and cancel the cheques so that they couldn’t be used.
Thus began my year-long run-in with the law. It started at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry where I tried obtaining the CR Number from. While that didn’t work out, I then headed to the court looking after local domestic relations.
There, they invited me and the estate agent to come together and work towards returning my deposit. However, not only did they not show up, she also lied to the court over a call stating that she didn’t know me.
I had all the necessary documents to prove otherwise so was then instructed to head to court.
It was only there that I could put pressure on this woman and her sponsor. I even obtained their CR Number through a friend and could finally sue the firm for stealing money from me on the pretext of a security deposit request
Many months passed, and even though the case was proceeding with the culprits called three times to court, there was no contact from the company or its associates at any point.
So, the court finally ruled in favour of me, and asked me to publish a public letter in an Arabic newspaper reaching out to the company one final time. This didn’t work either.
The next step was freezing all the company accounts. For this, I had to send one final letter to the postal address – which was fake as per the company’s records – requesting him to return my money.
This happened later in 2018, and that was when the ruling came to freeze all the sponsor’s and his accomplice’s assets.
Two long months later, I was informed that my money had been returned to the court in full.
Sadly, the culprits are still out there. So, please be careful when you’re dealing with any estate agent.