BC-CTV has now updated their website with McNeill's apology and state they will air it on the evening news at 6 o'clock.
A Vancouver real estate marketing company is apologizing for having two employees pose as prospective homebuyers in televised news segments on a supposed spike in sales around the Lunar New Year.
The two young women – presented as house-hunting sisters, whose parents would be in town from China for the New Year to help them purchase a condo – are in fact an administrative assistant and a sales assistant with MAC Marketing Solutions, president Cameron McNeill confirmed to The Globe and Mail.
“All I can say is that I deeply apologize for having misled the media for being there,” said Mr. McNeill, who said he was out of town over the Family Day long weekend, when the news segments aired. “We were busy and I don’t know if the girls were put up to it, or just put on the spot, or if it happened spontaneously. Regardless, it was wrong and I take full responsibility, on my own shoulders.”
The news segments were on the supposed spike in sales activity in the weeks around Lunar New Year – a pattern Mr. McNeill insists is “100 per cent true.” In one news segment, the women tour a suite in downtown Vancouver’s Maddox condo development – which is being marketed by MAC. One woman tells the camera they cannot afford to buy on their own and must rely on assistance from their parents.
“We definitely like it here, but we have to talk to our parents,” she says. “Maybe tomorrow we will bring them here.
“If we like this place, we have to tell them and they make the decision. Usually, Chinese people like to buy during this time.”
In reality, the women are not even related.
The misrepresentation was first spotted by the local online community and then dissected on local blogs, message boards and comment sections. Some noticed a Google search of one of the women’s named turned up her Facebook and LinkedIn pages – both since deleted – which stated she worked at MAC.
Mr. McNeill said there have been discussions about the incident within the company but it is not yet known who is behind it.
“I’m trying my best to figure it out,” he said. “Will there be some heads rolling? I don’t know.”
When asked if the ploy may lead to terminations at the company, Mr. McNeill said it would depend on the depth of responsibility.
“If it was blatant and on the hands of one person, then I think there might be some severe repercussions, but it’s hard for me to answer that without knowing all the details surrounding it.”
He said he is not aware of anything like this having happened at the company before.
We profiled it in this post.
“With Groupon, and the way it exploded, you do get great deals on there, so, why wouldn’t it work with condos, the developer here wants to sell the last few units, so if 20 people come in and buy them all at once, they’re obviously going to get a better deal than coming in one by one.”
So is this a case of a former top MAC salesman pulling the exact same style ruse MAC Marketing Systems fabricated the past weekend?
I phoned Global TV to complain about this and spent 10 minutes trying to point out why the lack of information about Ms. Fluet’s connection to Cam Good might mislead viewers into thinking her views as an “investor” were impartial.The woman I spoke to at Global could not for the life of her understand what I was objecting to, even though I tried repeatedly to explain it. In fact, she grew indignant. She insisted that if Ms. Fluet is an investor, it was perfectly appropriate for her to comment even given her connections to Cam Good.
Worse, there appears to be a compounding conflict of interest.
Once the development is finished, and all the developers suites are sold, then those realtors could sell the units they picked up to be a part of the sales team.
It means that these exclusive agents could be buying up half of the pre-sales at an offering.
When the selling realtors are portrayed as eager purchasers in order to whip up a selling frenzy, a frenzy which could possibly help them flip their own pre-sale purchases, I doubt the average person would feel anything but duped when they found out.
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