Dubai property scam? Dubai roffers.

On holiday in Dubai, my brother signed us up to an "investment tour" because he wanted £100 in food vouchers. 

The "investment tour" was booked from a rep with a permanent desk inside the (wyndham) hotel (so with the hotel's blessing).


We were whisked to a sister hotel which was also the site of the investment property. 

The offer:

£73k to be paid over X years for a share of a £4mn apartment in the complex. 

At 50% , investors can take either

1/ a week in the apartment or one like it

2/ use points awarded if the week is not used to stay at other hotels in the consortium including hotels outside of this group, such as Waldorf and Hilton, anywhere in the world. The points would need the equivalent of 6-7 weeks worth of stay. 

3. The points awarded and the points cost of the hotel would never change so infusion proof. 

Details are now hazy  but I think this was 20 year lease arrangement

No website. No idea who the front for this Investment was. 


It was very high pressure as the deal was only live whilst I was at the table. Not regulated by DFSA but by the Land regulator (?). No due diligence could be done. 


Obviously walked. But the thing is: is this just how Dubai does things? The fact that

A/ the referral came from within the hotel

B/ the boiler room happened on the grounds of a sister hotel

Makes me think - could this be genuine. 

Dubai roffers? 


Sounds like a 80s/90s timeshare pitch. Whether or not it’s good value I’m not sure but I’ve never felt that timeshare was as bad as the “consumer rights” mob made it out to be. 

The details of the deal offered are almost entirely

Irrelevant- anything pitched to you under time pressure and with an attempt to create FOMO is to be regarded with extreme suspicion- that alone is a reason to say no

My brother isn't poor. But £100 for 1 hour was a trade he wanted to make. We did get the food thing. 

I found the experience worthwhile to see first hand what a boiler room feels like. I can see how people can fall for these things. 

I walked thinking it was a scam bit just couldn't reconcile how a name hotel would allow itself to be so openly associated with it - which was making me think it most be genuine. 

I've been to The First Group website and it has very prominent invites to invest including them flying you out and putting you up at their expense. But zero mention of this model of investment with the substitute hotel stay element. 

Even though I still think it's a fair offer I still feel a sense of loss. It's annoying. 

Not getting into the detail of this on here but there is specific (and reasonably well developed) regulation of timeshare schemes in the UAE (including cooling off periods) and the real estate regulator is fairly activist in its approach. It probably wasn't a 'scam' as such. That is not to say it represented an attractive investment opportunity of course! 

Agree with Donny.

A lot of these things aren't scams per se they are just terrible value. Made so by things like all the best weeks being allocated to other mugs paying more money for their holidays, or the points being difficult to redeem at times or places you want to go so you end losing them or going somewhere undesirable at an inconvenient time that would have been cheaper through Tui.


Thanks Donny. 

Toward the end of their pitch I did Just openly ask "how doi know I'll get what's promised"

When the minion handed over to the closer I asked what he would do ina roles reversed and would he want to do due diligence on me to see if I was good on my promise/claim. He said "if I liked the idea I would invest, without due diligence". I was gobsmacked. 

I went to one by mistake once, got invited under somewhat false pretences

The main thrust of it was that as I’d had some nasty Prosecco and some canapés I was somehow beholden to sign up to some dodgy and obviously unrealistic property investment scheme. I told they guy I was there because my mate said there were free drinks.

In the 1980s I went to something similar - time share, Kensington. of course the prize we got was the cheapest of those mentioned - the £25 carriage clock! At least we got the clock.

It was too hot in Dubai to do anything. 

On one day I managed an aquarium and the Burj khalifa which took been 10 and 8pm (2.5 hours at Burj over sunset)   taxiing between locations. 

On another, I managed the big bus hop on/off and only hoped off once. That zapped all my energy (and helped me to realise that if that was day 1's best of Dubai, I'm not even doing day 2

It was this model:


Although there is a wide array of different types of scheme, timeshare broadly involves property in hotels or resorts with either: (i) multiple purchasers buying use rights over a specific unit (‘Timeshare Contract’); or (2) purchasers acquiring points which can then be exchanged for rights of use in a selection of properties of a certain type which may be located in a number of different countries (‘Points Contract’).

Timeshare differs from fractional ownership in that, in addition to periodic usage rights, investors additionally acquire an undivided share in the legal ownership of the property. Both timeshare and fractional ownership offer a more economical alternative to outright second home ownership.….

Some acquaintances of ours did this, but they had to spend a half day listening to the spiel, and in return they would get a free meal.

They are reasonably wealthy, and they seem to know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Why on earth would you spend any time at all on a holiday doing something that is so unattractive…?

There is no secondary market for shite investments like this.  As such they can’t be compared to what the underlying asset would be ‘worth’ 

If you have a spare 73k do something where what you buy can be sold. 

Thanks parsnip. Had no intention of signing up. 

Marshall: We needed to be at the sister hotel anyway as that's where the beach was. So it was where we needed to be any way. And the £100 was spent on food there. 

I wouldn't have signed up. My brother did it when I wasn't looking. But I'm glad I went. 

I remember sitting with my parents listening to a similar spiel back in the 80s in somewhere like Corfu when this stuff was novel.  I am astonished they are still wheeling it out.  My parents didn't fall for it back then, but lots did.