Fake sources in real estate stories

by
Ethics

A Vancouver real estate marketing company is apologizing for having two employees pose as prospective home buyers in televised newscasts on a supposed spike in sales around the Lunar New Year.

Andrea Woo of The Globe and Mail writes, “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 and message boards. Some noticed a Google search of one of the women’s names turned up her Facebook and LinkedIn pages – both since deleted – which stated she worked at MAC.”

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