after cars 'that did not exist' were sold online in Burnham
Trading Standards Service is warning car buyers in the Burnham-On-Sea
area to be extra cautious when buying vehicles online after a
local scam was uncovered this week.
consumers have contacted Trading Standards after not receiving
the vehicles they had paid for, which had been advertised online,
supposedly by a company with an address in Burnham-On-Sea.
trader claimed to be based in Burnham, and had all the hallmarks
of a legitimate dealer, including an address and telephone number
listed on their website.
trader also appeared to be a limited company with two directors
listed, both living in Somerset.
vehicles were said to be in various parts of the country and were
attractively priced, and the trader would deliver them to the
cars described either didnt exist or had been previously
sold by legitimate traders.
investigation revealed that the scam company was a front for what
appears to be an organised criminal gang.
paid for vehicles by bank transfer, but they did not arrive and
all attempts to contact the trader by letter or telephone failed.
contact was by e-mail and complaints garnered no response.
and Somerset Trading Standards successfully traced where customers
payments were going to reveal who opened the accounts and where.
was obtained that criminals had set up a number of bank accounts
in the centre of London to receive the funds from their victims.
evidence was then passed to The Metropolitan Police and Action
investigation revealed that scams of this type are widespread
and significant numbers of buyers throughout the country are being
defrauded in this way.
David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset County Council, told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"Scams of this kind are becoming increasingly common and
would urge potential car buyers to be careful when buying vehicles
websites and adverts look very professional and it can be difficult
to tell these apart from the genuine article."
in these types of scam the fraudsters will claim to be local and
consumers should try to see the car for themselves before purchase."
following a few simple rules including using a credit card which
will give you better protection against shopping fraud, and using
a trader who has signed up to a local member of the Buy With Confidence
scheme, consumers can better protect themselves."
you think you are the victim of car fraud, contact the Citizens
Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/