Steer clear of white vans
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.