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Selling Your Car? Cold Calling Buyer Matching Scam Warning

ConsumerWatch / Scams Jun 06, 2009 - 01:46 AM GMT

By: Consumer_Direct

ConsumerWatch

Consumer Direct, the OFT-managed advice service, is warning consumers about vehicle matching scams which cost UK consumers nearly £3 million every year.


Vehicle matching firms work by approaching consumers selling their cars and promising to match them with definite buyers. Typically, the seller is cold-called by phone once they have placed an advert in a magazine, on a website or in a newspaper. They are promised that a buyer exists for their vehicle but are required to pay a matcher’s fee up front before the sale is completed. However in many cases there is no buyer, the contract with the vehicle matcher cannot be cancelled, and any money paid is lost.

Last year over 1600 private sellers of second hand cars complained to Consumer Direct about the practice, losing between £80 and £99 each, but the true number of victims is thought to be much larger.

The OFT has co-ordinated the sharing of intelligence between different enforcement agencies to target action against traders engaged in unfair commercial practices, assisted on enforcement action, and has organized a day of action with  the police, local authority Trading Standards Services and consumer bodies to crack down on the car matching scammers.

Michele Shambrook, Operations Manager for Consumer Direct said: 'If you're cold called by traders promising to put you in touch with guaranteed buyers, it's worth thinking very carefully before paying an up-front fee.'

Further information on vehicle matching scams is available on the Consumer Direct website at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk . People seeking individual advice can call 08454 04 05 06.


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