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The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Readers’ letters -

Scammed on ebay for £4,499 car

Last week I found a car to buy on ebay and con­tacted the “seller” through the web­site it was ad­ver­tised on. The re­sponse was out­side ebay and we cor­re­sponded.

I did some checks and ev­ery­thing seemed above board. I was ad­vised that the car was in Aberdeen and I could see it if I chose to go there. Given that Aberdeen is far from Leicestershire, I de­clined.

The “seller” ad­vised me that the way to buy the car was through a “hold­ing com­pany” and to “Google” it if I had any con­cerns.

This I did and found a seem­ingly le­git­i­mate com­pany with re­views on­line.

PT, LEICESTERSHIRE

You sent £4,499 by bank trans­fer to the “hold­ing com­pany” with the com­mit­ment from the other party that the car would be de­liv­ered in two days’ time.

No car ar­rived and, when you tried to call the seller, the num­ber was dis­con­nected.

All links to rel­e­vant web­sites had been dis­abled. You tried speak­ing to the com­pany through its “live chat” func­tion but again the con­nec­tion was unavail­able.

You spoke to your bank’s fraud team and it tried to have the money re­trieved from the re­cip­i­ent ac­count, which was with a dif­fer­ent bank. By the time the in­for­ma­tion reached it, all the money had gone.

The other bank ad­vised that it could not help any fur­ther, cit­ing data pro­tec­tion rules.

You were in­formed by ebay that the web­site that ad­ver­tised the car had been taken over by a fraud­ster and it could not help ei­ther.

Ve­hi­cles are not cov­ered in Bri­tain by ebay’s mon­ey­back guar­an­tee.

You have re­ported this to Ac­tion Fraud (0300 123 2040; ac­tion­fraud.po­lice.uk).

It is un­likely that the car shown in the on­line ad­ver­tise­ment ac­tu­ally be­longed to the al­leged seller.

You say the back­ground showed a deal­er­ship in Kent. The com­pany whose ac­count, it turned out, had been taken over is in Manch­ester. If it re­ally were the seller’s car the owner might be able to be traced through the deal­er­ship records.

On the ba­sis that you should leave no stone un­turned I sug­gested that you call the deal­er­ship or ask the po­lice to.

Al­ways steer clear when ebay sell­ers ask for a bank trans­fer or other forms of pay­ment that don’t match the ad­vice on the ebay web­site.

You should also be wary when there are ob­sta­cles, ge­o­graphic or oth­er­wise, to seeing the ve­hi­cle or what­ever you are buy­ing.

Some­times a sob story will be used to de­ter a ve­hi­cle in­spec­tion or as a rea­son why the sale needs to go through quickly.

This car’s price was around £1,000 less than for other sim­i­lar, le­git­i­mate ve­hi­cles for sale else­where, which should have been an­other warn­ing sign.

You are now left to pay off a loan on a car you do not have. You say you are look­ing into the ac­tions of the re­cip­i­ent bank.

A reader was caught out by a fake ebay list­ing for a car

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