Steer clear of white vans

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - STREET WATCH -

with Act­ing Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner

David Hill­yard YOU only have to look up “white van speaker scam” on­line to find it hap­pens all over the world and it has been go­ing on for years.

Back-of-ve­hi­cle sellers are pop­ping up in metropoli­tan Perth and re­gional WA and we want peo­ple to steer clear of them.

Re­ports re­ceived by Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion re­cently in­clude ap­proaches by two men in a white van at shop­ping cen­tres in Boor­a­goon and Joon­dalup, a busi­ness in Green­wood, a car park in Man­durah and in Bun­bury.

Two sep­a­rate con­sumers were ap­proached while at traf­fic lights in Bassendean and Rockingham.

As with pre­vi­ous back-of-van scams, elec­tronic goods such as home theatre or stereo equip­ment have been of­fered. One con­sumer re­ported hand­ing over $1200 to two men in a white van for an en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem.

No mat­ter what back-of-thevan sellers are of­fer­ing, you should refuse to deal with th­ese trav­el­ling con­men who are usu­ally break­ing Aus­tralian con­sumer law in a few ways.

Firstly, you do not get what you pay for.

Back-of-van goods when un­packed of­ten do not match the de­scrip­tion given, sam­ple shown or model por­trayed on pack­ag­ing.

Of­ten the prod­ucts are not just in­fe­rior; they ac­tu­ally turn out to be coun­ter­feit. This means the “‘bar­gain” for a well-known brand is a high price be­cause you have re­ceived a fake, low-qual­ity ver­sion, which could be dan­ger­ous be­cause it may not meet Aus­tralian safety stan­dards.

Pre­vi­ously there have been fires caused by dodgy elec­tri­cal equip­ment bought from the back of vans, in­clud­ing a tele­vi­sion pro­jec­tor bought from the back of a van in Mid­land that over­heated.

Se­condly, you can not make a guar­an­tee or war­ranty claim.

Con­sumers have no chance of get­ting a re­pair, ex­change or re­fund if the goods are faulty. The con­men are im­pos­si­ble to track down. It is com­mon for them to give busi­ness cards with fake names and phone num­bers.

Thirdly, no cool­ing off pe­riod is given.

Trav­el­ling con­men fail to give a 10-busi­ness day cool­ing off pe­riod for un­so­licited sales. Dur­ing this time, no pay­ment should be taken while the con­sumer thinks over the uninvited of­fer and goods worth more than $500 should not be sup­plied.

We urge all con­sumers when ap­proached by back-of-van scam­mers to say NO – it’s the only way to drive them out of busi­ness.

Ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion num­ber, de­scrip­tions of the peo­ple and any names or busi­ness de­tails can be re­ported on 1300 30 40 54.

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