How to dodge poor consumer feedback? Ask Hawelia


Hawelia Group, a non-descript builder in Noida Extension is a case study in dodging poor consumer feedback and rather manufacturing positive reviews. In blatant contravention to the Article 19 of the Constitution of India, the critical reviews of the home buyers are restricted by either threats or blocking on the social media pages of the builder. Ravi Sinha reports from the ground zero.  

Challenging market and strong consumer feedback defines the resilience and character of any given brand. Most of the consumer brands go through this critical journey of turning consumer backlash into consumer delight. The housing, costliest & most aspirational purchase of the Indians, is no different and hence reviews are often critical for even the established brands. However, the established brands make good use of those critical reviews to take home some learning and improve their offerings and consumer experiences. The small builders like Hawelia, on the other hand, get offended are resort to silencing the home buyers by means fair and foul.  

When coercion and other means to silence the home buyers don’t work, these builders block the home buyers to review and/or share their poor experience with the builder. Some of the home buyers of Hawelia Valenova Park have woken up to the reality that the builder has blocked them on their Facebook page to share their experiences and grievances. Their fault (sic! Builder repeatedly calls it spreading negativity) is that they did not write glory story of the builder after having faced extremely poor experience as home buyer.

It is pertinent to note here that there has been nothing posted on Hawelia Facebook page that could be defined as “Defamatory” by the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It seems builder does not believe in the IPC and wants to continue his fiefdom with HPC (Hawelia Penal Code). As per the law of the land, any comment/feedback/grievance could only be termed as defamation if it can’t be substantiated with the fact. Truth stands as biggest defence against the defamation. The chain mail between the builder and the home buyers of Hawelia Valenova Park could establish the fact that the buyers are not happy with the builder and the builder failed to even come forward to address the concerns.  

In order to dodge the bullet of home buyers’ critical reviews and feedback on its Facebook Page, the builder found it convenient to just block them. Interestingly, the Facebook Page of Hawelia is flooded with the glory story of the builder. Most of the appreciation and consumer delight story seems to be either fake reviews while the builder’s own team is busy in liking and endorsing it.

This raises some pertinent questions about the intent of the builder. Isn’t it a violation of the best practices of the business? Isn’t he forcing the buyers to protest on the street? Isn’t he forcing the buyers to file for litigation in consumer courts?  

After all, the builder has even violated his own Builder Buyer Agreement (BBA). For instance, as per the Agreement, the internal paint had to be plastic paint whereas the actual offering is low cost OBD. Similarly, the layout showcases a Tennis Court in the given project whereas the builder has scrapped it at his own will.

Furthermore, the buyers are coerced to sign an undated undertaking that they have reviewed the FAR/Layout changes and are convinced with it, and give their consent for the same. Similarly, the buyers are coerced to sign undertaking of satisfaction with the apartment and all financial demands of the builder. Any refusal to sign these papers and the builder refuses the apartment handover and threatens to drag the buyers into lengthy litigations. Track2Realty has reviewed all the said documents and our legal experts believe it is a fit case for the buyers to drag the builder into NCDRC for breach of contract.  

Some of the buyers who had approached the UP RERA for the delay in delivery have been rewarded with delay penalty being slapped on the builder. However, Hawelia for some strange reasons (read his own inflated ego) continues to believe that the law could be defined with HPC and not IPC. The litigant buyers have been told to be ready for a long litigation ahead. Needless to say, anything to this effect being posted on its Facebook page leads to the buyer getting blocked. Negative reviews (as per Hawelia definition) are further discredited with fake profiles put on job.  

Threatening with legal consequences is the defence mechanism of the builder. Most of the home buyers coming from the middle class with jobs and family responsibilities resign it to their fate after some initial protest; thus the builder having the last laugh with his high handedness.

This journalist has not only been blocked on Hawelia Facebook page but also received brutal threats. Hawelia that stooped low to use the home buyers’ celebration pics to showcase it as the builder organised function at Hawelia Valenova Park could not take the criticism for the same on its Facebook page.  

Hawelia method to silence the home buyers is a case study in how the small time builders, erstwhile doing standalone projects, can’t grow beyond their builder floor mentality. The deferred land payment in Noida, added to the lax regulations where delays & defaults are rarely contested, has led to mushrooming of such builders in this part of the world. Sadly, none of them seem to have even the intent to grow beyond their builder floor mentality. When questioned, they get violently offended and what follows it brutal threats to silence and block option with social media is exercised without any restraint.

@ravitrack2media

Track2Realty is an independent media group managed by a consortium of journalists. Starting as the first e-newspaper in the Indian real estate sector in 2011, the group has today evolved as a think-tank on the sector with specialized research reports and rating & ranking. We are editorially independent and free from commercial bias and/or influenced by investors or shareholders. Our editorial team has no clash of interest in practicing high quality journalism that is free, frank & fearless.

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