Shankar Sanghi (name changed) wanted a grass carpet welcome when he decided to move into his apartment in Noida Extension. Accordingly, he paid a preferential location charge of Rs 100 per sq ft while booking the home four years ago.While checking out his unit being readied for possession a few days ago, Sanghi was shocked to see artificial grass instead of the lush green park he had paid for. Today, he feels conned.
"I had paid the additional charge for an apartment that faced a park but have got a green carpet instead. It may be a cost cutting measure on the part of the developer, but it now needs to be seen if I will want to pay monthly maintenance for a fake green strip instead of a garden."
According to a Delhi-based architect, a grass carpet is relatively easy to maintain and costs between Rs 100 and Rs 150 per sq ft, while a real garden with waterproofing etc costs between Rs 300 to Rs 500 per sq ft.
If Sanghi decides to drag the developer to court for fraud, he has a case, according to a legal expert.
"This is an absolute hoax. A builder cannot possibly presume that a buyer is so gullible that he will pay preferential location charges for a fake grass carpet instead of a park-facing apartment. This amounts to fraud and consumers have a remedy available under the law," said Vaibhav Gaggar of Gaggar&Associates.
Sanghi has to make the call now, but the developer may be banking on the possibility that he will not have the time, energy and money to pursue the case and put up with what he has been offered.
This kind of belief on the part of a builder is not unheard of or uncommon.
Close to Sanghi's apartment, another builder has pulled a fast one on his customers. The builder had initially sold the project with six swimming pools being the unique selling proposition. It has now been reduced to one.
These gaps between and promises and delivery are in line with usual stories of additional floors being constructed on top of what was pitched as a penthouse at the time of booking and new towers coming up on land initially projected as a park.