12 investors suing their ‘dates’ after elaborate apartment sales scam uncovered on dating site

Twelve men and women are suing Tokyo-based real estate agencies, apartment sales offices and lending institutions for 200 million Yen in the Tokyo District Court after purchasing over-priced investment apartments at the suggestion of their dates met through online dating sites.

Their ‘dates’ turned out to be real estate agents who concealed their occupation and allegedly sweet-talked the plaintiffs into purchasing apartments. After settlement, however, their dates ceased all communications.

The plaintiffs allege that after several dates they began to discuss planning for their future. Their dates suggested investing in apartments that offer rental income and offered to refer them to real estate companies and banks that could lend. The 12 plaintiffs ended up purchasing 14 apartments in greater Tokyo for a total of 370 million Yen. After the sale, their date would never be heard from again and they would be left with a loan and an apartment with a low yield.

The buyers’ lawyers are arguing that the sales contracts should be deemed invalid due to the way they were lured into purchasing.

The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan has reported a surge in complaints about similar activities across the country. The average apartment purchase price was 30 million Yen. The average age of a complainant is 35.1 years, and they have received twice as many complaints from women.

Sources:
The Nikkei Shimbun, February 26, 2014.
The Sankei Shimbun, February 26, 2014.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, February 26, 2014.

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