Herefordshire Council Trading Standards Service is warning car buyers across the UK about a company that is scamming consumers into transferring thousands of pounds for cars that are never delivered.
A bogus company, CAR MARKET (HEREFORD) LTD, with a fake director and a false address of Ross Road, Ledbury HR8 2LP are conning consumers out of huge sums of money.
They advertise using reputable online platforms such as eBay, Gumtree and Motors.co.uk, using a ‘virtual’ Hereford landline number and offer cars for sale at prices as low as half of their market value. This entices unsuspecting car buyers - who believe the seller is a genuine business due to it being a registered Limited company - to contact them, keen to buy at such a low price.
Buyers are then encouraged to transfer the full sale price of the car to various bank accounts with the belief the car will be delivered the next day.
Last week one buyer transferred £6500 for a vehicle that was really worth £12,000. The advert had been copied from a genuine dealer’s advert from earlier this year.
Herefordshire Council’s Trading Standards Manager, David Hough, says: “This is an elaborate, but not uncommon scam and could net the fraudsters a fortune if not stopped. Our officers are investigating the matter and working with the online platforms to take down as many of these bogus adverts as possible.
“We would urge car buyers to be very careful how they purchase vehicles online. If you are going to pay for a vehicle you do not actually have in your possession yet, then we recommend the payment must be by credit card only.
“In addition if the car is delivered but is not as described or in the condition advertised then you can claim a refund from the credit card issuer should the trader refuse to honour your statutory rights, including the 14 day cancellation period for online sales. Payment by money transfer or cheque offers no protection whatsoever, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Anyone concerned is urged to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 or visit the Herefordshire Council website for more consumer advice.