CTV TV News Featured ‘Condo Buyers’ Actually Marketers Of Very Same Condos!

Village Whisperer, over at ‘Whispers from the Village on the Edge of the Rainforest’ has unearthed a remarkable story of RE-marketing shenanigans.

Lee sisters
Sisters Amanda (left) and Chris Lee (right) are scouting for condos before their parents visit from China to help them buy one. (CTV photo)

“The CTV-TV story [CTV 9 Feb 2013] featured two sisters who were looking to buy a condo at the Maddox condo development in downtown Vancouver: Chris and Amanda Lee.
Curiously MAC Marketing Solutions has an Administrative Assistant named Amanda Lee who not only works for MAC Marketing Solutions – but her current background says she’s attached to the Maddox Downtown condo development profiled in the CTV-TV story. ..
It wasn’t just CTV-BC that ran coverage of the MAC photo op. So did CBC-TV.”

– Whisperer, 13 Feb 2013

MAC Marketing Solutions, once caught out in this subterfuge, on Wednesday [13 Feb 2013] published an apology for the ‘misunderstanding’, in the form of a facebook page comment:

MAC semi-admission
– facebook screencapture, posted by Whisperer, 13 Feb 2013

Whisperer has followed up with a review of the entire incident:
‘MAC Marketing admits they mislead CBC-TV, BC-CTV and all their viewers/customers’
Whispers from the Village on the Edge of the Rainforest, 14 Feb 2013

Clearly this represents far more than a ‘misunderstanding’, but the exposure of this deceit will barely cause a ripple. We have, sadly, come to expect ridiculously poor standards from local media regarding the coverage of the local RE market.
Well done, ‘Whisperer’, many thanks for the uncovering.
The episode is very reminiscent of similar deceit that we ourselves spotted in April 2012, where a ‘sales representative’ selling condos for Cam Good’s ‘The Key’ was presented by Global TV news as a ‘White Rock Investor’ and apparently interested buyer.
– vreaa

UPDATE 14 Feb 2013:

“MAC president Cam McNeill later confirmed that both women filmed in the segment are in fact MAC employees – and aren’t even sisters.
“I don’t have a full explanation of how things went down, I deeply regret for the fact that it didn’t make it more clear to you that the two women in the story were MAC employees,” McNeill told CTV News.”

CTV News, 14 Feb 2013

Of course, as the two women in the story are MAC employees, and aren’t even sisters, the story itself doesn’t even exist!
– vreaa

UPDATE 15 Feb 2013:

The story of the deceit has now been covered by various ‘media outlets':

‘Vancouver real-estate firm admits faking investor for TV news’
Sam Cooper, The Province, 14 Feb 2013

‘Real estate marketing firm apologizes after employees posed as apartment shoppers from China’
Tracy Sherlock, The Vancouver Sun, 15 Feb 2013

‘MAC Marketing Solutions Exposed For Fake Vancouver Real Estate Investors’
The Huffington Post B.C., 14 Feb 2013

‘Real estate firm apologizes after employees pose as buyers in news stories’
Andrea Woo, The Globe and Mail, 14 Feb 2013
excerpt:
“This is the latest in a number of questionable marketing tactics to be exposed within Metro Vancouver’s real estate community. During a media blitz announcing the Groupon-style sale of units at a Surrey condo development last year, one woman identified to a television news crew as an eager local investor was in fact a sales manager for Key Marketing, the company behind the scheme.
That same company has also taken groups of Chinese buyers on helicopter tours of Metro Vancouver properties, and at least one of those trips was believed to be misleading. Garth Turner, a business journalist and former politician, reported the Chinese buyers on a Feburary, 2011, trip – on which several media outlets were invited – were in fact local real-estate agents and brokers and the trip was meant to promote a new condo development. Cam Good, president of The Key, which includes Key Marketing, was a partner at MAC Marketing Solutions from 2004 to 2009, according to his LinkedIn page.
According to 2011 data by the Landcor Data Corporation, 75 per cent of those who purchased Metro Vancouver condos as investment properties are from Metro Vancouver. About 3 per cent are from the U.S. and 2 per cent are from other countries.
The Real Estate Council of B.C will be investigating the matter.”

‘Condo marketing company admits it duped media’
CTV British Columbia, 14 Feb 2013
excerpt:
“We’re trying to understand how this happened right now, and so I’m just trying my best to be open with you and just say that I’m very sorry that it happened,” said MAC president Cam McNeill.
McNeill maintained that the theme of the story – that Lower Mainland condo sites saw a spike in Chinese buyers around Lunar New Year – was completely true.
“I think that the ladies probably fit the profile of the story,” he said. “At the moment I don’t know whose idea that was; I don’t even know if they took it upon themselves to make that up.”

fake buyers
– image from CTV News

‘Real estate marketer admits to deceiving Vancouver reporters’
CBC News, 14 Feb 2013
excerpt from News clip:
“The owner of a Vancouver real estate marketing company admits his employees misled media over the weekend, including the CBC. … MACs owner admitted the story was entirely false. Two MAC Marketing workers presented themselves as sisters from China in Vancouver looking to buy a condo over the Lunar New Year.” …
“Some say that irreparable damage has been done to the real estate marketing industry, that future claims of sold out success stories will be viewed with scepticism.”

click to enlarge
– Annotated image linked by Canadian Watchdog at greaterfool.ca 14 Feb 2013 10:32pm

210 responses to “CTV TV News Featured ‘Condo Buyers’ Actually Marketers Of Very Same Condos!

  1. CBC is actually following up on the story…

    From MAC’s facebook page:
    Matthew Black I was the CBC reporter on this story and feel some clarification is in order:

    *Can you confirm that Amanda is the employee you refer to in the post above?
    *Is Chris Lee (from the TV pieces) actually Amanda Lee’s sister?
    *Is Chris Lee a genuine prospective buyer from China, or, is she also a MAC employee?

    I trust you still have my contact information…

  2. This is total bullshit. The practice of these scam interviews needs to be escalated to some higher authority

  3. Gotta love the sales hype while nominally admitting their wrongs. You have to say this for those jerks: they NEVER miss an opportunity to pitch.

  4. Bravo Whisperer. Not sure why VREAA deleted mine exposing another article many posts ago.

  5. I previously posted the following comment on Whisperer’s site:

    The fraudulent CTV News report from Shannon Paterson should be forwarded to Lynda Steele (“Steele on Your Side”) so she can expose it as a case of attempted consumer fraud.

    Oh, wait…maybe not….. :-)

  6. So Amanda Lee has now become Amanda Chu on Facebook:

    http://www.facebook.com/sweety.amanda

    • Well yah, probably cause people were harassing her.
      I wonder if anyone harassed that white guy in the story.

      • :roll:

      • Excellent point! People keep claiming they aren’t racists and such but almost all the harassment calls I see are to harass this poor girl rather than the white guy boss. Seriously, she is an admin assistant!! A very low position! Chances are even if she didn’t want to do it, she probably has no choice unless she doesn’t mind being fired. Cut the poor girl a break and put the blame on the guy who is actually responsible for this, and likely forced this poor girl to do it.

        To use an analogy, stop shooting the messenger!

      • It’s you idiots who made this a race thing. :roll:

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        It’s the old “I was just following orders” crap.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Which idiots bubbly? :)

      • Wonder how all the “HAM narrative” cheerleaders feel about stoking the resentment?

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      That is probably a no :roll:

  7. Some hilarious comments on the Mac facebook page.

  8. Real Estate Tsunami

    I showed this post to my wife, who is Chinese.
    She laughed, and said that this is common practice in China, and everyone knows it.

    • Speaking of CommonPractices… This mornings ‘Zen’/Quote ‘O TheDay… [such as it is]…

      “Mr. Wen has been in power for 10 years and millions of farmers have lost their land. When it comes to the central government, we don’t listen to what they say, we watch what they do.” – Huang Qui, Chengdu Human Rights Activist/Blogger

      …or

      “They all smoke Chunghwa.” – Liu Mengjia, a Yangwa Town neighbor of persecuted/dispossessed agrarian, Ms. He [in referance to corrupt local officials' penchant for one of China's most expensive brands of cigarettes]

      [WSJ] – Tensions Mount as China Snatches Farms for Homes

      …”CHENGDU, China—Fu Liang pulls his battered car alongside Golden Lakeshore, a collection of luxury villas whose salesroom, outfitted with chandeliers and velvet furniture, evokes a nouveau riche fantasy of Tuscany.

      “This is where my farm was,” he says.

      The villas are out of Mr. Fu’s price range. In December 2010, when he says a campaign of harassment drove him off the small plot where he ran a fish farm, the local government paid Mr. Fu just nine yuan ($1.45) a square meter for it.

      The plot was quickly resold for 640 yuan per square meter to a developer, a national database of land transactions shows. The developer has built villas that sell for 6,900 yuan a square meter.

      Mr. Fu now is unemployed, one among tens of thousands of former farmers who inhabit the impoverished fringes of Chengdu, a city in southwestern China. He has no heart to start another business.”…

      http://tinyurl.com/yjtrtcs

      [NoteToDearReaders: if you hit a PayWall when you click that link… and you’re using MS IE, just highlight/select a paragraph from the abstract above and then RightClick the selection, from there: choose the option “SearchWith [google or yourDefaultEngine]; clicking on the subsequent search results should get you the entire article. NoteToEd: I do hope the MagicCircle won’t punish me for that.]

  9. Link to Facebook page with comments

  10. Jeez. If the data below is correct, Cameron McNeil is the head hancho of condos and sells about 14% of Van’s annual apartment sales.

    [Translated]

    Friday, June 8, 2012 The Epoch Times
    Home · REAL ESTATE

    The first sale Xin subway lines uncompleted recycling sensation Adversity MAC Marketing team another masterpiece 35 – storey StationSquare is located in the heart of Metrotown, a total of 269 units. Public Offering last weekend, once again hit Subway along the uncompleted sale this fall elephants. According to the person in charge responsible for marketing the MAC, the first day of the Public Offering and he received nearly 1,500 Guests, while more than 600 housing broker. To 14:00 the next day, is almost sold Xin. The MAC Marketing Company (MACMarketingSolutions) is a best marketing team in the Greater Vancouver market annual sale of 1,000 To 2,000 apartments. With operations in Alberta, in the past 12 years, they sold a total of 14,000 apartment Western Canada Large real estate marketing company. But this company is only 12 years old, founder and president of the company, Mr. McNeil (McNeill) this year, only 42 Years old. Which the wonders of it? (For more, see C3 version) Link

  11. CanuckDownUnder

    I can’t believe these pimps at MAC turned their apology into a fluff piece.

  12. I know reporters are paid and all that but that’s mighty embarrassing! Sounds like the CBC reporter is a wee bit perturbed.

    Ironic perhaps that putting a face to the story backfires; on the blogosphere it’s nothing more than data and analysis, alas an online argument’s validity needs to be verified the old fashioned way — thinkin’..

  13. Those who haven’t yet actually watched the CTV clip, make sure you do so:
    ‘Year of the Snake nets condo sales: developers’, CTV 9 Feb 2013
    It clearly shows how much intentional acting was necessary to execute this deceit.

    • Classic. The advertisement before the actual news piece was about investment fraud.

    • Speaking of bad acting… the BOSA spokeswoman alludes to intentional construction delays at their proposed Coquitlam ‘EverGreen’ development as being occasioned by the need to maintain intact the on-site presentation centre throughout SpringFestival… (vs. adverse market conditions and collapsing buyer interest)

      How curious… Curious indeed, especially when you allow that their Granville street development opposite the TwistedFork has been converted to rentals…

      http://goo.gl/maps/Zysqh

      [NoteToEd: Never underestimate the sublime snark of spot schedulers... when starting the clip I was initially presented with the public service announcement re: InvestmentFraud referred to by Diggstown and it's closing caption, "If it's too good to be true... It isn't!"... which same quickly segued into AdrianDix's latest campaign message and his new TagLine, "ChangeForTheBetter!" prior to the actual AdvertorialPuffPiece'News'Clip.]

      • Nemesis, that building was built as rentals and not converted. It’s ‘affordable housing’, the units are about 300sqft, and you can find photos of the mayor breaking ground.

      • Cheers Anonymouse… I was passing through the neighbourhood a couple of weeks ago and was surprised to see BOSA signage adjacent to rental enticements (given that they’re far better known for branded resale developments vs. design/construction/administration of purpose built rentals)…

        As for 300 sq. ft… Wow. I’ll bet you didn’t know that that’s 700SqFt less than is considered an acceptable living space for ResearchChimps [vs. GradStudents, for whom there are no regulations as regards minimum acceptable standards re: domiciles]…

        [WaPo] – Rules would restrict medical research on chimpanzees

        …”New federal rules proposed Tuesday would severely restrict medical and behavioral research on chimpanzees and send nearly all of the government’s remaining 450 research chimps into retirement, an unfunded project that could cost $25 million. The recommendations, which set high hurdles for new studies using chimps, arrive even as research with the apes has grown increasingly rare…

        …Although most research chimps would be retired under the plan, 50 should be kept for research, the group recommended. These animals would be housed in open habitats, with at least 1,000 square feet per animal, the equivalent of a roomy one-bedroom apartment.”…

        http://wapo.st/11Q02x1

        [NoteToEd: Not bad, eh... defined banana benefit pension scheme and spacious lodgings in perpetuity @ ChimpHaven...]

    • “Don’t kid yourself, these people do actually live here…”
      Derr.

  14. Who has emailed CTV and CBC?
    Also their MLA?

    • I am thoroughly disgusted and want to email CBC. Does someone have an email address that they know will go to the right people?

      • Go to VCI (Vancouver Condo Info), which supplied a number of addresses when they covered this story a few days ago. If I can copy them for you later in the day and paste them here, I will.

        I made calls to Global TV about the Cam Good scandal a few months ago and never heard back from their producers; also spent time with someone there who indignantly argued back that the supposed condo client was just another citizen like anyone else.

        I’m beyond hoping anyone in British Columbia will take any responsibility for anything related to lies and deceit about real estate. I’m flabbergasted people in Canada aren’t more ashamed about this and doing more about it — the country has a reputation for honesty.

        I’m living elsewhere now and I think I may contact media where I am about this latest story. The Vancouver media obviously doesn’t listen to anybody in its own city when it comes to objections about how they “report” on real estate. Maybe international disgrace will change their tune.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      I e-mailed Bill Good at CKNW.
      He’s got a segment on RE this morning.

  15. And why are condo sales news anyway? I can think of a hundred other things that are newsworthy that we never hear about. All our vets are back from Afghanistan, what are they up to these days? There are massive benefits clawbacks and restructuring in the public service. What is that looking like? How do those changes affect everyone needing those services? There are people fighting cancer, dying from cancer, collecting money for worthy causes. Childhood obesity is a huge problem and last night there was an 11-year-old at run club and did almost 7kms. But we get some crap about who’s buying what. I bought groceries yesterday. I can go again today and the camera crew can follow me and document my careful reading of nutrition labels and comparison of brands, flyers, coupons, profile me as a prudent buyers. OR we could watch paint dry, grass grow… MSM: crime (bread) and RE (butter) and weather (turkey) and traffic (the pickle). There’s really not much else to it.

    I will be so happy to see RE “news” fade into the background never to be heard from again. Ever.

  16. And why are condo sales news anyway?

    Good question. It’s a mass idée fixe. RE has taken over people’s minds.

  17. 4SlicesofCheese

    http://www.cressey.com/news/successful-opening-weekend-at-porter

    Is this going to replace the pre-sale lineups? Lineups for newly built rental units.

  18. I’ve said it a million times here and on every other RE related website.

    Those parties involved in the “REIC” (Real Estate Industrial Complex) are, for the most part (because obviously every bag of rottem apples will have a few that are edible) nothing more than liars, cheats, thieves and frauds of the highest order.

    This is not the first time that RE vendors have been busted with these sort of shenanigans either.

    -Paying for people to line up.

    -The yellow helicopter episode.

    -Using hot models to pose are sales managers.

    -Ad infinitum……..

  19. Should we start a Twitter hashtag on this? We need more exposure on this so the media outlets will actually do something about this

  20. vamcouverbubbleman

    david baines is a good contact at vancouver sun

    dbaines@vancouversun.com

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      He’s not gonna risk his job, biting the Developers’s hand that feeds his employer.

    • David Baines has said that he focuses on the kinds of frauds that involve millions and billions of dollars, and he has done some good reporting on those. But from something else he said, I also don’t think he will pursue the media issues.

  21. I am shocked! Shocked!

  22. I’m glad that MAC got caught and publicly shamed for this.

    But the media are are asking for this type of thing by producing hype stories for years on end during a bubble. The media has to feel somewhat complicit for treating this like news in the first place (as Angela points out.) Does this reporter really imagine that he’s not helping to market real estate with these types of stories?

  23. Thieves and liars.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Feather and tar them, and drive them out of town.
      That’s what John Wayne would do.

      • Well, the proper procedure is tar first, then feathers. I’ve tried it the other way around and the subject just ends up laughing too hard from the tickling feathers… and then the tar won’t stick. Really annoying.

        I’m sure John Wayne would endorse the correct protocol as well.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        HaHa, thanks for the funny correction.
        That’s why I love this blog.

      • Yah don’t drive them…, it’s tar, feathers, and then a rail for a ride out of town… that’s what all them old leftover railway ties from BC rail are for…

        I’ve said they are good investments for years…
        Thanks for the giggle…
        Silver

  24. CTV’s Linda Steele tweeted me and said they’re on it.

    • Thank God. The media cannot be impressed that they are appearing (to readers of this site) to be complicit in what amounts to a fraudulent misrepresentation of facts and a manipulation of a trusting audience.

      If I am understanding what happened here it is clearly not NEWS but rather a form of duplicitous advertising which would normally be regulated. Just theater and drama and hype.

      Most of the shenanigans have already been outlawed in other industries.

      Do advertisers of medications not need to declare health hazards and medical complications associated with their products?……Do manufacturers of food not need to declare the contents of the products they sell?….Do transporters of hazardous goods not need to clearly identify the contents of their loads under WHMIS in the public interest and safety?……Are toys and childrens car seats not regulated by Health Canada and various product safety boards?……Are money transactions in excess of 10,000 dollars not monitored?…..Do we not regulate Milk, Meat, Eggs and imported produce?

      Is false advertising permitted in Canada?……

      Are Realtors exempt from the law? Then put them in jail.

      • Are corporate insiders not supposed to report the purchasing and selling of shares? Are commentators on BNN and CNBC not obliged to advise whether they hold a stock they are speaking on? Transparency.

      • Exactly NVD. You so get it.

    • @CTVBC says: Condo marketing company admits it duped media http://ow.ly/hJjAw

      Not good enough. Why did the “journalists” not do any due diligence? Are they really that easy to dupe? Or are they just willing collaborators?

      • I said it on VCI, they are willing or ignorant collaborators and should be charged.

        Either way it’s pathetic ‘journalism’. You will see them coming out of the walls now saying they were “manipulated”. Truth is they just didn’t do any work and wanted a fluff piece. It’s easy money and makes (almost) everyone happy. :)

        Until now

      • I am not sure if they can or even should be charged. Bias, yellow journalism, lack of journalistic integrity are not crimes. But all this should be a good reason for firing. Unless “yellow” is considered standard at CTV.

      • Maybe not criminal, but I hope the CBSC can do something at least

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Land baron,
        Hope is eternal, but revenge is short and sweet.
        Let’s prosecute the fraudsters to the full extend of the law.

      • So then we agree *slowly lowers black powder six shooter* :)

  25. There is only one way for this lady to restore her credibility: an expose on Canada’s real estate industry as having perpetrated a broad and co-ordinated…umm…misinformation scheme, leading with an admission that she herself was scammed.

    Otherwise, everyone will continue to assume what they’re already assuming: that she and her MSM overlords were willing participants. Google will not be kind to this incident; I hope that her linkedin profile eventually ranks higher again than all the links to this farcical theatre.

    The good news is that all of her research for the expose is done for her. If she spends a day reading this site and VCI, she’ll have all the links to source data that she could ever dream of. She’s had unpaid interns preparing material for her for half a decade!

    It’s hard to know where to begin when exposing cud-chewing consumers to the Real Estate Industrial Complex for the first time. She could start by profiling the tactics of the developers and condo marketers, move up to the real estate agents, then Royal Lepage and Re/Max, REBGV, lenders, and the MSM.

    The connections, links, ties, and incest among those groups would be difficult to capture in a one-hour piece, but luckily there are so many blatant and egregious examples that she wouldn’t even have to explain.

    She could just give example after example (VREAA posts providing the script) and let the masses draw their own conclusions.

  26. Why do we never see stories of people at car lots trying to decide what type of car to buy with reporters interviewing the sales manager for his opinion on where car prices are going to be next year etc. The media/public seem to place Realtors in higher regard than Car Saletors, but they are pretty much providing the exact same service to the public and both are making their living off of the transactions, and therefore not providing an objective perspective. I’m curious how our neighbours in the US view realtors after the crash compared to Canadians.

    • Naked Official #9000

      Well – we’re about to find out!

      Woops – broke character – disloyalty to the party!

      CTV is on par with xinhua with this stuff – gotta go along to get along

  27. there is no such thing as bad publicity

    every marketer knows this by now.
    The proper response is to turn off your Idiot Box.

    • Cameron Gord MacDougall

      Your cynical hipster response is typical. Usually goes about the “everybody knows these are marketing scams, so just ignore it” theme. Of course this comes from the “insider” the hipster who goes to the openings, the ribbon cuttings. Hears the drunken tales of deceit and lies and manipulation that “everyone” knows about whispered at a party or in the back of a cab or between the sheets.
      The fact is that the CTV/CBC/Global 6pm news audience are the last people to know. Anything. They use terms like “the facebook” and “the twitter”. They are happy to be spoon fed selected news stories by trusted faces that we on the internet read, watched, digested and commented on 6 hours previously. These are simple folks who believe in honest cops and responsible government and hard work and keepin yer nose clean, white picket fences, and the Kardashians . To the 6pm audience of ctv/cbc/global the stories they see are gospel. That is why the direct spin and manipulation is so grotesque. People really believe this crap. And they tell their friends and so on and so on. Its pure propaganda. A breach of the public trust. And everytime that someone gets caught doing it. It only makes joe and jane sixpack more cynical and less distrustful of the media and advertising in general.

  28. This blatant, intentional misrepresentation occurs broadly over a great number of areas. The Vice Chair to the Federal Reserve (and potential successor to Bernanke) has admitted real unemployment in the US is higher than the 7.9% the US claims it to be. When those who have given up looking for work and those who are working part time when they previously worked full time are added to the unemployment figure, unemployment and underemployment together amount to 14.4%.

    This is all in the face of a “recovery.” What exactly would this 14.4% figure be were there not a “recovery.”

    The only way to know what’s really going on is to look at what you see happening out there in your neighbourhood, where you shop, ads in the newspaper (50% to 60% off sales), with your friends, level of housing construction, etc. and by sharing information on websites such as this.

    There seems to be waves of ads in The Province, where you see 50% to 60% off sales, page after page of them, on a periodic basis. This doesn’t indicate a recovery, it indicates desperation.

  29. Cameron Gord MacDougall

    Here is another real estate pumper story on CTV from Jan 30th

    Note the lack of facts and total spin.

    Modest price drops and tempered buyer expectations “are expected” to stir up some movement in B.C.’s stagnating real estate market this year, “according to an industry forecast”

    first quarter housing market forecast, the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) says housing sales in B.C. on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) “are expected” to pick up by 5.6 per cent in 2013.

    The slight jump in sales predicted this year is expected to add up to just over 71,000 properties sold across the province

    Shaw says the outlook for 2013 is much more optimistic and she’s being contacted by lots of potential buyers

    Here is the one FACT that was in the piece.
    The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) represents 11 member real estate boards and their approximately 18,000 realtors

    http://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-s-stagnant-real-estate-market-to-see-boost-in-2013-1.1136587

  30. BOTH SISTERS WORK FOR MAC MARKETING. From Lynda Steele at CTV.

    • I think the last few words of the article sum up the sentiments here at this site fairly concisely…….”charge them with fraud”
      —————————-
      “Mac has admitted to perpetrating a fraud on both CBC and CTV news as well as their viewing public in conjunction to a condo development they are marketing,” Chris Bullard posted Thursday morning.

      “They represented one of their employees as an out of town Asian buyer to fuel their marketing hype of the non-existent Asian real-estate invasion in Vancouver. The management of this company has no ethics and deserves to be drummed out of the business. I’m urging the authorities to charge them with fraud.”

      Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/entertainment/Vancouver+real+estate+firm+admits+faking+investor+news/7965588/story.html#ixzz2KuaiV6HY

      • Ralph Cramdown

        What they did wasn’t fraud in the legal sense, it was just plain old lying.

      • See my comment above Ralph. It relates to a body of regulatory law designed to prevent the abuse of various media (including the news, public advertising, product assertions and the labels on packaging) and therefore is in the public interest.

        Is just “plain old lying” acceptable when you avow that your product (lets say a childs car seat) can withstand a 30 kmh collission and keep your kid safe from mortal harm?

        Is it OK when food producers don’t list their chemical additives?
        Is it OK if we don’t know when we buy irradiated meat or milk?
        How about the lack of labeling for imported GMO foods?

        Wiould we be upset if stocks and bonds were marketed like R/E?

        You see, what I am getting at here is that many of the regulations our country has adopted are designed to protect an uninformed public from being misled by a sophisticated group of sellers. We have those laws on the books in the public interest.

        Deliberate and misleading advertising is a criminal offence in Canada and so it seems obvious to me that if we have a large body of rules protecting investors from fraud in the dealing of securities that we also need some law to adequately protect home buyers.

        Just because a house might only amount to a single transaction in a persons entire life should not give those who sell them latitude to trick, cheat, lie, decieve or conceal information that is contrary to the interests of the buyer.

        We need more transparency in the selling of homes to the public.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        More thoughts, Farmer.

        Back in the day, people who could afford real estate were assumed to be sophisticated, if only by virtue of having accumulated or inherited enough dosh to pay for it. If they had to borrow, their lenders were assumed to be sophisticated enough not to lend 100 against property only worth 80. Caveat emptor is pretty much the original real estate law, followed closely by the Statute of Frauds (“get it in writing”). Other consumer protection laws originated because all were consumers and needed protection, but real estate law is all the common law results of centuries of sophisticated parties suing each other.

        But the case at bar isn’t even about real estate, it’s about real estate futures. What kind of a person says “I want to lock in a price today for a product to be delivered in three years”? A speculator, a hedger or a fool, that’s who. Why not just buy a built unit now if you need a place now, or buy a built unit in three years if you don’t need one until then? How far should the law go to protect speculators?

        Now I’ll be the first to admit that real estate is full of lies. Here’s my favourites:
        – that field across the street is protected, and will never be built on
        – your unit is 700 square feet
        – that abattoir is going to be closed next year
        – the basement has never leaked
        – we don’t know which lots the hydro vaults and fire hydrants are going to be located on
        – you should sign the agreement first, and then take it to your lawyer
        – prices starting from $369,900 (there was only one of those, and it was spoken for before the first “VIP” came through the door. It was put in the plan just so we could advertise that price.)
        – the ones with the red dots on them are sold
        – move in date is next September
        – these units rent for $2,500 per month
        – the tenants are paying below market rent
        – they’re good tenants
        – limited time offer
        – free upgrades
        – there’s another offer coming in tonight

        But there’s misrepresentation and then there’s plain old puffery. Buying the right beer does NOT get you the bikini-clad babes. Retiring at 55 will probably require more sacrifices than you’re willing to make. Not everyone who goes to the casino has a great time. Other condo buildings will not want to have sex with yours. You aren’t a VIP. This project isn’t exclusive.

        There’s plenty of problems in real estate. But this particular misrepresentation?

    • Priceless comment from some realtor:
      “I have worked for MAC Marketing Solutions in the past and they are definitely one of, if not the most ethical and responsible Real Estate Marketing companies out there.”

      • Aldus Huxtable

        If this is one of the most ethical and responsible real estate marketing companies, we are in for one all mighty scare when the layers of the onion are peeled away.

  31. Now to give this story even more legs, all they need to do is go through VREAA’s and VCI’s archives and actually investigate all of the other ethically bankrupt campaigns used to sell condos over the last number of years of this bubble. The real story is not HAM, it’s unethical condo marketers and RE Agents who have gamed BC for too many years. There are at least a few good sources who have been whistle-blowing on this stuff for years, and not just the marketing end. Heck, the hands down most ethical, thorough and trusted home inspector in the COV just retired and sent up a missive about corruption. C’mon journalists and media types, DO YOUR JOB.

  32. Annnnnd Amandas facebook page is gone, if anyone is interested in Cameron McNeills page it is still here, why is noone interested?

    http://www.facebook.com/cameron.mcneill.52?ref=ts&fref=ts

  33. I’ve noticed that there is an Abbie Cheung that works for Mac . If you google “Abbie Cheung Vancouver Mac” (not in quotation) and click images, a linked in picture comes up that looks remarkably similar to the short haired “sister” (with longer hair). I’ve also noticed that the picture doesn’t show up when you click on the link to the linked-in profile (has it been magically taken down?)

    • You guys are terrific sleuths. Keep up the good work. I have a feeling if you keep digging you will eventually send all those rats underground leaving nothing of interest but a veterinary invoice for Fluffy the Pooch.

      You all know its some dogs fault……..right?……don’t you know?

  34. Cam MacNeill…, isn’t he the guy on the CBC’s Manbridge’s full week piece back in Sept 2012 on real estate that used the term “borough” to describe some of VCR’s neighbourhoods. Trying to make it sound all scheik akin to NYC. Didn’t he also compare VCR real estate to a Swiss bank or something? What… a…. loser! Links to this story should be forwarded to Garth Turner if it hasn’t already as his site is more national (no offence), then we’ll get a national response and see how it impacts condo sales across Canada ala Brad Lamb etc. This is the most excitement I’ve had in weeks!

  35. Not much of a name...

    Here’s another from Key Marketing from last year when they tried to use Groupon to sell condos.

    At the 1:05 mark, a real estate investor is interviewed. Tara Fluet is a staffer of Key Marketing.

    • May be it should to be shared with Lynda Steele at CTV as well?

    • I submitted a complaint about this to RECBC after the episode aired last year. RECBC (the regulatory body for realtors) promptly assigned an investigator to the case, who has never followed up. So even the industry regulator can’t be bothered.

      • M, do you still have a copy of the complaint you sent? That contradicts with what RECBC is claiming:

        “Tyler Davies, communications officer at the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, said he had never heard of any situation similar to this before, but that as the provincial regulating body for realtors, the council does have the authority to impose fines or to suspend or cancel real estate licences.

        “We were alerted to this by another media outlet,” Davies said. “We are aware of it and the real estate council has commenced an investigation into this matter.””

        http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Real+estate+marketing+firm+apologizes+after+employees+posed+apartment+shoppers+from+China/7967841/story.html#ixzz2KvxbnnqK

      • Malaya, yes, I still have the letter RECBC sent me. I probably still have the text of my complaint on my computer. I’m pretty sure I also posted the text of my complaint as a comment on VCI. RECBC assigned Carmen Amundsen to my complaint, file# 11-383. Their response letter was dated Apr 20, 2012.

      • M, I can’t find the text of you complaint on VCI. Would you be able to post it here, as well as the reponse? Or you can send it to me at fortunatefool00@gmail.com.

        I don’t want this guy to get away with this lie so easily…

      • ahhh. my email address is fortunatefool00@gmail.com

      • Hi Makaya, sorry about misspelling your name yesterday– I was posting from my phone.

        I followed up with RECBC about my complaint RE: the Tara Fluet / Key Marketing / Cam Good news scam last year.

        The investigator called me this morning. It appears that more has been done than I’d thought; my complaint (and RECBC’s subsequent investigation) is why Key’s website has been “under construction” for much of the last year, as RECBC is trying to ensure that all Key’s marketing is in compliance.

        It sounds like there wasn’t enough certainty on the matter of Tara’s complicity to lay any sanctions– apparently it’s not clear enough whether Tara misrepresented herself, or if the reporter simply made an assumption about Tara.

        Either way, RECBC’s intent in this case file is to get Key’s marketing activities under control, rather than applying sanctions against specific individuals.

        Given that there haven’t been any yellow helicopters in the news since then, I think Scam Good’s probably aware that he’s under scrutiny, so he can’t pull off any similar marketing stunts. If he does, he’s already lost the benefit of the doubt, so sanctions would be likely in the future.

        For what it’s worth, I’ve also sent this to the Globe & Mail reporter (including my file#), and she’s followed up with RECBC as well, so RECBC’s communications people are now well aware that there has been a similar incident last year.

        Unfortunately, I didn’t keep an electronic copy of my complaint. I might’ve made a hardcopy, but it’s probably buried in my files at home somewhere. I do remember that I included a printout of VREAA’s page about the Tara Fluet incident, and referred to it in my complaint. I filed it as “behaviour unbecoming of a realtor,” as I hadn’t suffered any damages, and the RECBC complaint form is geared to people who have suffered at the hands of a realtor.

      • Thanks M. It took them so many month to get back to you… that’s interesting. That they can’t prove Tara Fluet misrepresented herself is pure BS. The news piece doesn’t leave a doubt about it…

        Anyway, thanks for your contribution and hopefully that will lead to sanctions for these crooks.

      • One final followup: the RECBC has closed their investigation into my Tara Fluet complaint, with no sanctions or actions. While I disagree with their conclusions, they opined that Tara (the realtor selling the condo project) was attending the media event on her own time, and that it might’ve been the reporter who chose to label her as a “real estate investor”.

        A load of BS, if you ask me; I have full faith that the RECBC is protecting its own industry, and NOT the public interest.

  36. Now the article is on the Globe and Mail.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/real-estate-firm-confesses-after-employees-pose-as-buyers-in-news-stories/article8688210/

    Please do not hesitate to send more information to the journalist from the Globe and Mail. She left a message in the comment section of her article:

    Hey guys, time to do some work. Here is a comment left by the journalist at the Globe and Mail:

    Andrea Woo
    4:50 PM on February 14, 2013

    Hey. I’m still working on the story for overnight. If your friends are open to speaking with me, I’d be happy to listen: andreawoo@globeandmail.com.

    Let’s dig out all the good old stories of manipulation we’ve uncovered over the years…

  37. Girls aren’t related. Oops. Also this has never happened before and we don’t know who is to blame or why it happened or who we’re going to make the patsy yet, says “honest-I-was-outta-town” McNeil.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/real-estate-firm-confesses-after-employees-pose-as-buyers-in-news-stories/article8688210/

  38. You watch. MAC will come out with full spin.

    “While we regret the confusion cause by the news piece we stand behind the story. In order preserve our clients privacy and conform with the new crews time constraints the story was related through proxy by two staff members. In hindsight this was most certainly not the beat approach and we are conducting internal policy reviews to ensure this does not happen again. The story relates real events we have witnessed in this market as it begins to heat up as we see Chinese New Year activity bolstered by normal spring activity. Our outlook is very positive for the condo market going forward.”

    These are not the scammers you are looking for. Lol terrible.

    If these were any other financial instrument it would be clear criminal fraud, but not with real estate. Whatever.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Well, it looks like the anticipated wave of Chinese buyers is not materializing.
      I just talked to a friend who works for a company at YVR that supplies food for airlines, mostly Asian.
      She says orders from the airlines are way down compared to last year. The company also has an office in Toronto. Same story.
      No wonder the RE industry is desperate.

    • False or Misleading Representations and Deceptive Marketing Practices Under the Competition Act

      The Competition Act contains provisions addressing false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices in promoting the supply or use of a product or any business interest.

      http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03133.html

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Cum,
        You sound like a lawyer.
        Wanna do some pro bono work here.
        Could CTV be cited as an accessory?

      • The court may order a person to cease the activity, publish a notice and/or pay an administrative monetary penalty. On first occurrence, individuals are liable to penalties of up to $750,000 and corporations are liable to penalties of up to $10,000,000. For subsequent occurrences, the penalties increase to a maximum of $1,000,000 for individuals and $15,000,000 for corporations. In situations where a person has made materially false or misleading representations about a product to the public, the court may also make an order for restitution, requiring the person to compensate consumers who bought such products, and an interim injunction to freeze assets in certain cases.

  39. Real Estate Tsunami

    I think this should become an election issue.
    Any party that would implement “Truth in Advertising” legislation for the Real Estate Industry would get my vote.

  40. my land lady who is a very good friend of victor kwan ( one of the players ) tells me that there are no buyers coming – she says market is very bad…very obvious to anyone who actually uses their brain…but quite an admission from someone who has been a part of this giant scam. keep sending the stories to the journalists- i do it often and now that the bubble is popping they will now be more interested in finding someone to blame. bm

    oh……anyone want to buy a 1940’s bungalow on a 50 foot lot for 2.5 million?

    • Does it rain 9 months of the year? Are there a large number of cheaply built McMansions in the neighbourhood built in the last 5 years with asking prices of 3-4 million? Do the people in the neighbourhood. keep to themselves? nudge nudge wink wink. Then i am in! I only have 62k saved and my wife and I earn a combined 120k a year so we should qualify for a mortgage easily with the help of our broker. At the age of 34 we should realize profits of at least 1mm $ in the next three years. God I love Vancouver real estate!

  41. Anonymous Guy in the Biz

    Wow, this story really has some momentum, VCI Crashing, The Province, Globe and Mail and Huffington Post picking up on this blatant fraud and shows how this industry’s pathetic attempt to self regulate will go no where.
    Cam McNeil even had to throw in some obligatory pumping in with his retraction,, what a scumbag.

    When Cam Good’s Groupon News Infomercial was outed there was absolutely no coverage from the MSM, same with the Chinese Helicopter Tours.

    I have a good feeling about this one,, A feel bad RE story for the Condo Pushers to start off the spring season.

  42. metafora economica … http://tinyurl.com/bx7nwf3 … ack!

  43. I think that some people are missing the main issue here. It’s not (just) MAC that should by apologizing. Sure, MAC has provided fake buyers to stir up some interest in the properties they are promoting, but people should target their anger towards the so called journalists who turned a marketing campaign into a news story. At best they were lazy and did not do their work – they shouldn’t be just forwarding narratives provided by marketing companies without asking questions. Yellow journalism…
    Sadly, it is more likely, that this is not a case of simple laziness. This has happened before and the pro-RE industry bias in media has existed for years. There is a conflict of interest going way beyond advertising revenues. Many reporters and “journalists” have personal interest in pumping up the local market. Integrity is obviously out of fashion.

    • Give it time, give it time….

    • Most newspaper are just holding on by the tail-lights these days, Bubbly. The kids on the City Desk have no time to follow up on every press release nor time to make an honest effort of separating fluff from actual NEWS. They pretty much just publish whatever comes their way from the perspective that their readership is interested enough in the topic to buy a copy.

      A consolidation amongst the print media means that we will have just a handful of respectable papers in the future while most of the rest continue to wither and die.

      It is why I think paying for access to the best of class is worth the money. I love the Globe and just one or two others…..the rest are living on borrowed time. Lets support those who still deliver quality journalism.

  44. Lets leave the two Lee girls out of this. They look pretty young and naive. I’m 100% certain their managers put them up to this. CEO can only blame management for not first checking if the girls had profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn that might connect the dots.
    Stupid is as stupid does.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      These “girls” are in their mid thirties.

      • Naked Official #9000

        disloyal cadres!

        the loyal cadres took every marketing and event planning class at BCIT

        SKIPPED ETHICS

        unnecessary western propaganda and corruption

        all hail comrade mcneil!

  45. I don’t let them off the hook that easily…there was strenuous LYING engaged in by both of them. Watch the videos a few times…. a five year-old knows that lying is wrong….and so should a pair of GROWN WOMEN.

    The one with short hair seems to be quite enjoying her little turn on the stage too, I might add.

    Hopefully, Cam fires them both to cover his a$$ and they sue for wrongful dismissal.

    • AND YOU HAVE NEVER LIED BEFORE?

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        THIS IS NOT LYING, THIS IS FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATION!!

      • I’ve never lied on TV for the purpose of enriching myself. I’ve never pretended to be somebody I’m not in order to create a fictional representation of a market which could lead to someone making the biggest financial commitment (mistake?) of their life. I’ve never committed a fraud.

        Just so you know Amanda, the ends don’t justify the means. Grown up people don’t behave like that. When you’re caught perpetrating a huge scam petulance is not an acceptable response. I know you are probably going to lose your job but use it as a learning opportunity…ethics matter. So does honesty. Even in marketing.

      • Bally +1000

        You should sit every Used House Salesman and Condo Fluffer down and make them memorize that speech. Or maybe write it on a blackboard 100 times.

        To (Amanda)nonymous, above: [expletive deleted]. The people you are [expletive deleted] are real Canadian families, who still believe that the maintsream media is a source of balanced and accurate information. (Because it once was.)

        They are basing life-defining financial decisions on your [expletive deleted] scam.

        Rethink your career. Rethink your values.

        If you were starving in a third-world desert, I would understand you doing whatever it took to feed your family — including pantomiming lies to a news crew in the hopes of earning a few extra pennies in sales.

        But Vancouver is not a desert and you are not starving. You have a responsibility to live a better life.

      • If I did anything even remotely like this in my profession, i would be terminated and my employer would be dragged through the mud by the regulator and then fined. And that would be just for starters – in the end I would be finished both financially and professionally. But real estate and media professionals, it seems, are above the law.

      • Because most of those rats have no credibility at the best of times. I could burst out laughing that they actually have a code of ethics written on real paper!

  46. CTV is running the story … hope the link works and apologize if it has already been posted…

    http://bc.ctvnews.ca/condo-marketing-company-admits-it-duped-media-1.1157243

  47. Several commenters are calling this “fraud” and “fraudulent misrepresentation.” It ain’t. Full stop. Where’s your victim who suffered damages, who relied on the reality of those girls being bona fide buyers, and who wouldn’t have bought or would have paid less if those particular girls turned out not to be buyers.

    Whet they did wasn’t ethical. They gulled the media and lied to the public. But what kind of moron decides whether to buy real estate based on whether two particular non-public-figure girls are or aren’t buying it, too?

    • I mostly agree with you, but I am resenting the fact that all the blame is being put on Mac. There is no way the media is innocent in this. Not after years doing the same “mistakes” again and again.

    • This could certainly be argued in court as defrauding investors. If this story was promoting securities, the OSC would have reeled them in already. If bad intention is present, it can be prosecuted. Clearly this was.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Read here, and read the US section too, which sets out the elements nicely. I Think you’d have trouble with elements 2, 7, 8 and 9.

      • I don’t need to read it and know from personal experience. If one has heavy pockets and a Bay St. lawyer, anything can be argued in court. Who you kidding with a wiki link on law.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        You’ve got no plaintiff and you’ve got no damages, so you’ve got no cause of action. Those are the elements. Who was defrauded, and how much did they lose?

      • MAC is no little marketing/broker firm. A report on their website claims they sell about 1000-2000 condos per year (that’s 1500 average units x Van’s average price $441,667 = $662,500,500 estimate). That’s no chump change.

        Where’s the plaintiffs and loss? This is premature as the story just broke, but one thing is certain i) with condo prices falling and thousands of investors holding on to assignments and presales that can’t be sold at cost or profit, you can bet those investors will try to pursue a lawsuit (even class action) to get out of the sale or recoup losses, and ii) if one were to investigate the issue, chances are this is not one-off event and more likely to be consistent in other selling practices (like Brad Lamb’s 280% return ads).

        This is not the last we’ll hear of MAC.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Yes, investors will be looking at all options to avoid closing. Some other marketing practices might do the trick for them (280%?). Buyers can’t sue MAC, they’ll have to sue the developers, except that the developers typically set up a different shell company for each project, so they’ll have to sue that, or refuse to close, lose their deposits and risk being sued for any further deficiencies.

        In Toronto, the suits and countersuits are flying over the Trump tower, a hotel/condo/rental-pool project. I think the developers got a specific exemption from the OSC in exchange for an undertaking that they would not market the units as investment properties, which they then allegedly proceeded to do, complete with rosy scenarios. These investors are alleging that they didn’t get what they bargained for.

        But to sue based on whether or not two unknown women were or were not actually considering purchasing? Your lawyer will advise against it, and you may well end up paying the other side’s costs.

      • If the losses are substantial and worthwhile to pursue, everyone may be suing each other, including developers suing MAC. Any case that involves big losses and multiple parties can get very ugly. I’m not saying there’s a case here solely based on the girls (obviously not), rather that this latest ruse exposes what is likely to be consistent with other misleading sales pitches.

        We’re just starting to unwind. Wait until next year when billions of equity gets wiped out sending them negative in equity. Yes, 280%

      • Some good points there Watchdog. You can be sure the girls won’t be terminated from their jobs either. Too risky for Maddox. If in fact they were given direction from above for that little stunt the company will determine it is not in thier interests to make enemies of the two gals. They will want to keep them close (and quiet).

        I bet they both get promoted. It is how the world works.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Ralph,
      You’ve got kids?
      Ever take them to McDonalds for McHappy Meal?
      Innocence lost.
      Ronald McDonald got them.

    • There are several meanings for the phrases Ralph. The standards for a criminal case of ‘fraud’ are much higher than for a civil case of misrepresentation (which is basically inducing someone to contract through by lying). I agree that it is unlikely that anyone would win a case in court based on MAC’s lying but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make a fraudulent misrepresentation – it just means it doesn’t meet the strict legal definition. There are also moral, ethical and professional standards to consider. Plus false and misleading representations under the Competition Act.

      So, while I agree this isn’t a crime and probably wouldn’t support a civil claim, I don’t think describing it as fraud or misrepresentation is totally off-base.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Fraudulent misrepresentation is a legal term. It doesn’t have a non-legal meaning. For there to be fraud, somebody must have lost money, or gotten less than he bargained for, was promised, etc.

        The Competition Act? You’d try under section 74.01 (1) (a)?
        A person engages in reviewable conduct who, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the supply or use of a product or for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any business interest, by any means whatever,
        (a) makes a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect

        Note that last phrase “in a material respect.” That’s code for “don’t bother us with de minimus BS.” I don’t think posing a fake condo buyer is material. If they put some guy on TV claiming to have an economics PhD from the LSE and saying these were a great investment and he did not in fact have said degree, you’d have something.

      • [NoteToEd: Like... absolutely the best StudentUnion in the BigSmoke That would be, "Academic Pub" for the rest of you 'plebs'.... pfffft! KC UoL rules!]

      • They were fraudulent (which has a non-legal meaning) and made a misrepresentation (which has a non-legal meaning). It is not true that for something to be called fraud somebody needs to have lost – the word refers to “a deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.”

        As I said I agree this is unlikely to result in any kind of successful court action. And wouldn’t meet the criminal definition of fraud. But that doesn’t mean it’s not deceit, trickery, sharp practice…perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

    • My sentiments too, Ralph. I’d go further, if people think they’ve been duped by unscrupulous S/M tactics, they should first look in the mirror.

      I’m half applauding these two at trying everything they can to move sticky product. Getting the media in there to produce a great story sounds like a winner to me, no more a lie than attractive twentysomething models posing in those ads “living the dream” in the Georgia Straight. But perhaps it’s common knowledge that ads in the Georgia Straight are obviously fictitious whereas live models for a news segment are obviously real.

    • If this BS didn’t move condos, they wouldn’t spend money on it. Full stop.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Sure. But the buyer ends up getting what he contracts for. He pays $400,000 and he gets a $400,000 condo.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Ralph,
        “He pays $400,000 and he get’s a $400,000 condo”.
        That’s a funny one. What he pays is certain, what he get’s is not.

    • Sorry to have to disagree with you again, Ralph (especially since you and I usually see eye to eye on so many things) but what is at issue here is a false representation and that clearly falls within the bounds of criminal activity where sales of products, services or securities are involved.

      The girls knew what they were doing and they knew it was wrong.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        If everyone agreed with me, the world would be such a boring place.

        I don’t deny the misrepresentation and the mens rea. But for fraud, you’ve got to show the court actual damages — I was promised a unit worth $x but I got one worth $x minus delta. Now if some famous pop tart came on TV and said “I’m buying a unit here, and you should, too!” and that turned out not to be true, then you might have something, as “owning/living at the same address as poptart du jour” would have value to some people. But these two were nobodies, and they weren’t even portrayed as committed buyers, just people who were thinking about it. What exactly didn’t you get if you bought and then found out that these two weren’t in fact pondering a purchase?

        The Competition Tribunal might be a better bet (and anyone can initiate a complaint), but even there, it’d be tough. Our legal system doesn’t always provide redress for bad behaviour.

      • Ralph, with regards to injured parties, I would argue that several parties suffered injury as a result of this deception.

        1) The news agencies were convinced to run what was in actuality and advertisement for Maddox, under false pretenses. If they were going to run an advertisement with actors, the news agencies should have been paid for it.
        2) The development, Maddox, has ended up receiving a lot of negative attention as a result of this incident. This may hurt their sales.
        3) The public interest. Given all the negative media attention thanks to the exposure of this deception, it’s not likely that any individual will have been duped into buying based on this. But it’s clearly not in the public’s interest to have developers claiming that rich Chinese are buying up everything in sight, when in fact that’s not the case.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        Well, 1 and 2 can sue, should they desire. While I agree that the public interest is not served when developers trumpet an unquantified HAM invasion, I see plenty of ads and editorials all around me every day that I think aren’t in the public interest. Gambling, alcohol, foreign vacations, foreign investments… I’m sure you’ve got your own examples.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Its all harmless until prices start to drop.

    • Ralph you got it wrong, again….

      The Competition Act contains provisions addressing false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices. All representations that are false or misleading in a material respect are subject to the Act. A representation is determined to be false or misleading by considering not only the literal meaning but also the “general impression” it conveys.

      The Act contains both criminal and civil provisions aimed at preventing anti-competitive practices in the marketplace

      The presence of a victim, and amount of damages incurred are not factors that are considered to decide whether the CA was violated. I’d say that, based on what we have read here, it is reasonable to conclude that a case could be made that MAC violated the CA.

      MAC, if they were to be found in violation of the CA would be subject to criminal prosecution and the charges could include fraud.

      Get your facts straight. Full stop.

  48. Wow, this condo marketing scam is going totally VIRAL! Could this be the catalyst that precipitates our Minsky Moment here in Vancouver? Or maybe all of Canada, as the media coverage of this revelation is getting pretty broad based.

  49. I’m super upset that only MAC got called out for this fraudulent piece of work.
    Why is the media letting Cam Good off the hook when he did the exact same thing in that helicopter stunt?

    • I am sensing a growing outrage over the antics of the 11th grade dropouts who run the sales mills selling houses in Vancouver. Maybe a higher authority will step in and call a halt to the bullshit once and for all.

  50. VREAA, you might be interested in this.

    http://business.financialpost.com/2013/02/14/imf-says-canadas-housing-market-still-overvalued-warns-more-intervention-may-be-needed/?__lsa=0575-ea96

    Economies that escaped the bust in 2008 are at risk of RE bubble burst.

    • “Canadian housing prices were still about 10% overvalued at the end of 2012, the IMF said on Thursday”

      Ummm …

      Like in Europe where they severely underestimated the multiplier effect on economies from sovereign fiscal austerity, their credibility is suspect.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Advoc,
        Sorry I don’t get your point.

      • Ralph Cramdown

        The point is that since the IMF has proven itself unable to find its own ass even with both hands, a flashlight and a map, it behooves you to check their data, premises and calculations very carefully even if you agree with their conclusions.

      • Sorry, I should have explained it better, though it’s hard to find an article that can explain these financial things so everyone can understand.

        Basically, the prescription for European countries in financial trouble in the eurozone crisis was agreed upon by a so-called “troika” of Germany, the IMF, and the European Central Bank (like the Bank of Canada). It consisted of pretty major fiscal spending cutbacks to cut deficits and eventually government debt and reforms to labour laws, banking laws, a lot of other things to get their economies more competitive.

        The austerity part was based on previous IMF studies that showed cutting spending by 1% of GDP, the country’s economic output, will cut that output by 0.5%. So you have a drop in the economy, but double that amount in debt reduction.

        What happened is that, in a situation where many countries in Europe were cutting spending at the same time, economic output fell by 3 to 7 times the cut in spending. In these countries the economy falls so much, tax revenues fall more than expected, there’s not as big a cut in debt, if at all, so bigger cuts in spending are needed the next year to try to stop ever more debt: a vicious circle.

        So the basic IMF premise of austerity, instead of their previous prescription of having the economically-troubled country devalue their currency and slash interest rates to promote more exports, was totally wrong (and one of the results is massive unemployment for many years. Spain’s just officially hit 27%.)

        When the IMF gets the huge, huge problem of Europe wrong, what they say about anything else, like Canada, becomes rather suspect.

        blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100020504/multiplying-europes-fiscal-suicide-technical/

        telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/9600467/Why-the-IMF-has-got-it-so-hopelessly-wrong-on-the-euro-crisis.html

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Well yah 10% for Canada.
        Vancouver will be much worse and drag down everywhere else once they discover the not so prudent dealings with the banks and credit flows tighten.

    • Maybe they used the RBC method:

      “[b]Housing-crash prophets should check their numbers again[/b]

      LARRY MACDONALD

      Special to The Globe and Mail

      Published Thursday, Feb. 14 2013, 4:00 AM EST
      Last updated Thursday, Feb. 14 2013, 7:31 AM EST

      Some people are predicting a crash in the Canadian housing market because price-to-income and price-to-rent ratios have gone up a lot. But these ratios omit mortgage rates, a key determinant of prices. A better guide, in my view, is the housing affordability index published by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).”

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investor-community/trading-shots/housing-crash-prophets-should-check-their-numbers-again/article8611843/

      This needs a thorough critique from the knowledgable people of this site, or if it’s been discussed before, a link or reminder for those who are more recent readers here.

  51. Ask BOB RENNIE and all his team about DR. KO!

    At all of the Rennie marketed condo Projects, the mysterious Dr. KO (Asian and completely fictitious) buys a large swath of condos that are behind those “SOLD” stickers even when the Sales and Display suite just moments ago opened for the first time.

  52. Everyone should write to the media, MLA, RE board. The squeakier the wheel the more action that happens

  53. What is even more interesting here is that the traditional “old” and slowly dying media (TV and newspapers) is now reacting to the bloggers…………..it is a tipping point in more waysthan one.

    FWIW my “news” is drawn from several online sources, and has been for years, none of which are owned by the traditional old school outlets who have slowly migrated online……….

    • “is now reacting to the bloggers…………..it is a tipping point in more waysthan one.”

      +1 damn rights man,

    • I know a few people in the media, Carioca. A good friend of mine is an anchor. He gets all his best material off the internet or from “hot” talk in the bar. Nothing like getting loaded with good friends and catching up on the trends. The good bars are all full of realtors swimming in commissions though…..they have a knack for turning every conversation into a sales pitch and then paying for the drinks so you don’t forget them. That is how the news gets dominated.

      Seriously….It’s all about booze. Trust me on that.

  54. no one has been harmed….
    … are not all the Property Assessment documents based on these Experts Estimation of increasing values, and sales.
    And are not the city council tax base increases and growth formula’s based on information that comes from these Honest Real Estate Authorities…
    No one harmed…bull s..t.
    Anyone with a property tax increase can point at these Experts as the source of the paperwork.
    At least every document shown me by the City and BC Assessment backing my tax increase’s had the real estate board and its cronies as the original source of the document information.

    Silver

  55. Wow, it’s amazing how this story has taken on a life of its own. Kudos to all who have been following this.

    You all know this isn’t the first (or the last) case of such shenanigans in the RE industry and that TPTB will do everything in their power to convince the masses this goof up was an isolated incident (case in point, look at the Vanc Sun article that was published shortly after the story broke). Going forward, I am betting that no one will be disciplined and things will continue on business as usual. By next week many will have forgotten all about this. Such is life. FWIW, the securities industry is 100x worse while the select few who have the privilege of running our cities, provinces and countries are probably the most corrupt bunch of them all. Again, none of this should be news to anyone here.

    I’m sure the MAC Marketings of the world (among others) are likely drafting up new policies with regard to using “known” employees in their infomercials and/or presale lineups and engaging with social media consultants as we speak. Future ads will now feature carefully screened movie extras with no ties whatsoever to the RE industry. Not only will these actors be asked to sign non disclosure agreements prior to accepting the job, they will also be required to use an alias and perhaps even a disguise (courtesy of the makeup dept) to make life much harder for those rogue anonymous bloggers who are especially adept at using facial recognition software and finding needles in haystacks online. To cover their own asses, news networks will run an “actor portrayal disclaimer” in impossible to read French Script 8pt prior to airing their stories. Perhaps filming will be done under lock and key at one of our underutilized studios on the North Shore? Given that so much of what is told to us is make believe anyway, why not recreate the “highlights” of Vancouver on a movie set? Think multiple display suites complete with all the bells and whistles against a backdrop of a stunning, cloudless blue sky (with yummy mommies sporting Lululemon tights running by…). Hey, if things work out, a full blown reality show called “The Best Place on Earth” could follow. I sense an opportunity here.

  56. Real Estate Tsunami

    What about all the Property Virgins who lost their virginity though fraudulent MISREPRESENTATION.

  57. See Cam McNeill’s statement?
    “Cameron McNeill, the head of MAC Marketing Solutions admits the story was a fake and says sorry. But McNeil says just how the incident happened may never be solved.”

    NEVER be solved? What is this, the murder of Jimmy Hoffa?
    Are you friggin kidding? What kind of CEO cannot even find out how this was perpetrated? Obviously he was aware of the ploy and doesn’t want to admit guilt. Now we’re going to see a cover up or the two women take the fall.

    • Way wrong, Kansai. The girls will never take a fall. Cam would be an utter fool to alienate those two now and I can almost guarantee he is not that stupid. They are in like flint for the long haul and they won’t ever be making remarks that harm the companies best interests. Muzzling costs money though. I say they get promoted…..just watch and see.

  58. No, they (MAC) can do better.
    They can give the girls 90% off discount for 2 apartments to make it possible/desirable for them to actually buy these marketed units and also buy the flight tickets for both pairs of their parents to come and approve the deal with the TV airing it – then the fake story turns into the real one!
    The only unsolved problem left is to turn 2 unrelated girls into sisters, any ideas?

  59. 188 comments when I got here. Must be lucky! ^ . ^
    Cam Good, Cam Muir, Cam McNeill.

  60. It’s pretty obvious that these two sisters were not working the traditional “sex sells” angle……………it would have been a massive fail judging by that photo.

  61. Pingback: South China Morning Post Headlines MAC Marketing Deceit – “Bogus Buyers”; “Scam”; “Teetering Market”; “Steadily Falling Prices”. | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

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