Exercise caution before handing over cash

Everyone likes a bargain and getting a sweet deal on a new set of wheels can be cause for celebration, but be cautious before handing over cash.

Exercise caution before handing over cash
Always report fraud and doubtful items or traders to us.

Recent news reports of two couples who were fleeced of $50,000 between them in separate but nearly identical scams – one involving the fake sale of a campervan and the other a caravan – proves that caution rather than trust must be the rule applied when considering expensive vehicle purchases.

AA motoring advisor Cade Wilson says the two incidents highlight that there are duplicitous people willing to take advantage of others’ trust.

The two couples were attracted by advertisements for the vehicles being sold urgently with a relatively low price attached. After making contact with the fake seller, they then transferred funds to an offshore bank account without even seeing the vehicles. The vehicles were to be transported from Dunedin. The fake seller then requested more money for insurance.

Mr Wilson says sometimes people do advertise a vehicle with a low price, often because they need to dispose of it quickly.

"There are legitimate reasons for a too-good-to-be-true price and buyers can benefit from that, but do your due diligence to ensure the deal is real," he says.

"For lots of reasons it’s risky buying a vehicle sight unseen, even if the deal is valid. Pictures don’t show everything and even a quick inspection can determine if there are any issues that might warrant a lower price."

Mr Wilson says an AA Vehicle Inspection prior to purchase is a good tool to determine you’re getting what you expect to.

"If you must buy something sight unseen, then a pre purchase Vehicle Inspection is a good way to get peace of mind and it also proves the vehicle is in the hands of the seller you’re dealing with. If the seller is reluctant to allow access to the vehicle for an inspection, then walk away from the deal."

Additional checks such as an AA Vehicle History Report will also provide information including current and previous owners, finance owing or police interest.

"Remember a legitimate seller wants to dispose of the vehicle and is unlikely to put up barriers if a potential buyer is seeking more information. If there is any doubt, buyers shouldn’t part with any money."

Our anti-scam guide

Don't give your personal details out over email.

That's the message from Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations, after reports of customers receiving emails asking to confirm or supply website login or credit card details.

We have also received reports of vehicles advertised with unusually low sale prices. These emails provide detailed information on the vehicle, which is often located abroad, and pressure the buyer into making a payment to secure the vehicle for a viewing.

Please note, Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations does not offer a facility to verify transactions or pass on information between buyers and sellers. Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations will not act as an intermediary or arrange or confirm shipping arrangements. We will not direct users from an email straight to a payment or 'shopping cart' page.

While we run suspect trader processes and work with the police with our database, you should always be aware of the too good to be true ad. Do not put any monies into non NZ bank accounts. Overseas bogus sellers are a common scam, contacting you directly or pretending to be reputable organisations.

Hoax, counterfeit, bogus and stolen vehicles and items can slip through and appear as the real deal. It is important to read the advertisement description carefully and ask questions. It is common for fraudsters to ask for contact via another email address and ask for payment for goods by non-traceable means. Always ask questions - is there a warranty, receipt?

Always report fraud and doubtful items or traders to us: internet@bauertrader.co.nz

Keep up to date with news by signing up to nzmcd.co.nz's free newsletter or by liking us on Facebook