12/01/2017
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Caravan Rip-Off: How to Avoid It

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Editor Sootheran has some fun with caravan scammers!

Recently, this advert landed on my desk, supposedly a classified advert from a Caravan reader to go into the magazine.

Caravan rip off ad

 

 

 

 

It was immediately apparent that this was too good to be true – a caravan worth around £17,000 for £5150?

I’ve seen these types of ads before for cars in Autotrader and on Pistonheads.com, and was sure that, like those cars, this caravan would turn out to be abroad. I decided to check it out and have some fun!

Using a new email address, I got in touch…

Hello Tamara
I saw your Hobby caravan for sale online, it looks great.
Could you tell me what the MTPLM weight of this caravan is in kgs and also if there is any movement on price at all?
Ivor Smalbrayne

The MTPLM is 1900 Kg.ok i accept to sell it for £5000.
Thanks
Tamara

Interesting. Already the very-English-sounding Tamara Pierce doesn’t sound so English.

Great! Thanks.
How do we progress it from here?
How do I pay? How do I get the caravan?
Ivor

 

 

Hello,

Thank you for your interest for our caravan.The caravan is in perfect condition in and out. Paint is good ,no dings/dents and no accident.We also are both non smokers .It have valid MOT and road tax and is still registered in UK and have UK number plates . I bought the caravan from UK since i worked there for a period . Two months ago my work contract expired and i get back home in Netherlands,Utrecht. I know that is a small price for a such caravan but if we will keep it we need to pay an import tax and it very expensive.

If you are really interested we are ready to make a trip to UK next weekend to meet you and take a look .where do you live?
Tamara

Surprise, surprise, the caravan is in Holland (and has an MOT, road tax and UK plates!).

Thanks, Tamara.
Yes it is a good price, which is why I want to act quickly.
I live in England in a town called Bourne, Lincolnshire.
It is very good of you to bring it over. I am free next weekend.
Ivor

pppay.com

 

If you are really interested to buy it we will drive it to Bourne and we'll be there on Friday .

Please do not get me wrong but before coming we need a guarantee from you that you are a serious buyer. We don't want to ask you to send us any money in advance, we just want to be sure that you are a serious buyer. If you don't want to buy it after you will inspect it, no problem, but I need to be sure that you will be there.

Last year my husband bought a watch from a seller from Liverpool on www.ebid.co.uk , the seller requested as a payment www.pppay.com . This is an UK based escrow service and now we think that the best solution for us is to use this service to manage our transaction . We read that they have launched a new service employing brokers in all countries to offer faster transactions. If you agree to use the service, our transaction will be managed by an UK broker.

We checked out pppay.com, which is a kosher international business. It’s the UK broker bit that’s dodgy. All sounds impressive, though.

I've had a look at the sites and that seems fine.
I can guarantee that I am interested at this price.

We will come to meet you only if this transaction will be managed by www.pppay.com. Please check this service on eBid ( http://uk.ebid.net/help_payments.php ) in order to see how safe and secure they work`s:

- I have to record our transaction with them and to pay fees.
- They will confirm the transaction to you and will require the payment (you'll pay to a bank account in the UK as our transaction will be managed by an uk company)
- As soon as they receive confirmation from you that the payment has been paid will inform us to come to the meeting.
- From the moment we met you will have 3 days to check the documents and inspect the caravan.
- When the inspection period is over you have to decide if you want to buy caravan or not.
- If you want to buy, pppay will release the funds to us.
- If you do not want to buy, they will return your money that day without any delay.

 

Wow! This sounds so good. And safe.

Let’s have some fun.

bumblebee

£5000 is a lot of money to me, so it makes sense to use a secure website to do it.

I just have one more question. Could you tell me the depth under the fixed-bed mattress. I am an apiarist, and I always take my bees away on holiday with me. I developed a beehive which fits under the bed of my current caravan. 

Bees actually suffer from claustrophobia and stop making honey if they are stressed. I need 420mm of clearance to fit it in. Could you just check that measurement for me?
 

Bee-hive yourself! Surely they won’t fall for that? 

Hang on…

Ivor,
Your hive will fit under the bed because it have 447mm ...Please e-mail me back with your full name and address and your tel # in order to start the transaction with you through PPPay.com.

Let’s tug on their heartstrings and see if they have any scruples at all. We’ll also offer to collect it ourselves, as it’s in Utrecht near lovely Amsterdam.

That is great news.

My wife and I are so excited about buying your caravan, we've saved for over four years (you can't save much on a UK pension) and never dreamed we would be able to afford such a beautiful, modern caravan. We can't wait to take our young grandchildren away in it.

My wife even wondered if we could come and collect it in person, as she has always wanted to visit Amsterdam and the tulip fields? We could then bring cash with us and tow the caravan back. This would save any fees from PPpay and the cost of you bringing it to England for us. 

Is perfect but we live in Maastricht,Netherlandsand you can't visit Amsterdam..If you want to come i will be more then happy ..The PPPay fees i will support no problem ...Using pppay.com it will be more easy for us because in this way we will have the warranty that you have all the money available in cash and that you are a serious buyer and not a time loser. Please let me know soon how do you want to do it ..

Hang on a minute! The caravans suddenly moved right across the country from Utrecht to Maastricht?! It now couldn’t be any further away from Amsterdam!

I thought you were in Utrecht near Amsterdam? The Summer School at Utrecht is famous for its bees, you know.

I have attached a picture of my favourite bee, Basil. You will meet him when you come to England.

We are sooo excited and are planning our first trip away in the caravan with our grandchildren. Please could you send me a picture of the toilet and the toilet cassette from the caravan, just so I can see they are in good condition. I don't like other people's poo. 

As soon as I get these details, I will make the transfer. 

If you are ready to move on secure and safe through PPPay.com please e-mail me your full name and address and your tel # and i will start the transaction with you secure and safe through PPPay.com and they will contact you with all the information regarding the caravan and payment.
You can call my husband, Boaz in order to talk with him +31303200290

Let’s try insulting them.

Hello T and Bozo

I can give you a telephone number, but I am quite deaf (pardon?) and my wife is afraid to answer the phone (she got scammed a couple of years ago). Is there any way we can sort this over the email? Pardon?

I am happy to go to the bank and arrange a payment as, now that we are friends, I trust you, especially as I have Bozo's phone number.
I have the money waiting. Can we do a deal today? We just want to get away in that lovely caravan.
Ivor
PS: Don't forget the toilet pictures. They're essential.

I will send you that pics no problem i will not forget..Did you received the invoice from PPPay.com ? If yes please follow their payment instructions and send the payment directly in their account and after that PPPay.com will send us the e-mail confirmation that you sent the payment and they received.

bee scalerSorry, there's one last thing I need to check before I send the money over. Could you tell me if the door screen mesh is Bee proof? I have attached a Bee scaler. I just need to know if they can escape from the caravan, as I like to let them out in the van every now and then for a bit of exercise.

As you can see, the mesh mustn't be more than a few millimetres. One time, 7296 bees escaped from my Bailey in France. When I got back to the campsite it took me ages to find them (at least I think it was them.)

Okay, the money is ready to go. Should I send it now? To Janusz Tomasz Romanowski? (the name on the PPPay invoice) Don't forget the toilet pictures.

 

So, who’s this Janusz fella? He wasn’t mentioned before and doesn’t really sound like a UK agent.

Yes the door screen mesh is bee proof don't worry.... If you received the payment invoice please forward the payment to PPPay.com on the bank account of the agent from the invoice in order to receive the confirmation from PPPay.com

Could you ask Bozo, what the insurable value of the caravan is as I need to tell my insurance company.

Bozo is now at the hospital with his mom and it will be back in 2 h. I will let you know in 2 h that information and also i will send you 2 pics with the toilet is ok?

Please get back to me a soon as you have made the wire transfer to PPPay.com in order to book the ferry tickets and letting you know the exact day when we will be at your address with the caravan..Thanks and please take good care of it because is like new !!!!
Bozo

Oh look, Boaz has changed his name by deed-poll to Bozo, and started writing in the third-person!

Good morning Bozo,
Sorry for the delay, I had a bee-mergency last night.
I am heading into town to make the transfer right now. It’ll be with you within the hour.

Let’s just check that they aren’t going to sell the caravan to someone else, just as we pay for it. We e send this email from [email protected]

 

Hello Tamara Pierce
I just saw your Hobby Premium 645 for sale online. Is it still available?
Cheers
Stew Pidd

 

Oh look, we got an instant response and this time there’s a picture of the lovely Tamara. She is very beautiful, but far from living in Utrecht or Maastricht, this Tamara is a 23-year old cocktail waitress from Beverley Hills, a contestant on ABC TV’s The Bachelor show. It’s just a screen grab. Pity.

Hello,
Thank you for your interest for our caravan.The caravan is in perfect condition in and out. Paint is good ,no dings/dents and no accident.We also are both non smokers .It have valid MOT and road tax and is still registered in UK and have UK number plates . I bought the caravan from UK since i worked there for a period . Two months ago my work contract expired and i get back home in Netherlands,Utrecht. I know that is a small price for a such caravan but if we will keep it we need to pay an import tax and it very expensive.
If you are really interested we are ready to make a trip to UK next weekend to meet you and take a look .where do you live?...

 

These scammers are good and add a lot of plausible detail to their ‘sales pitch’, if you fall in love with the super-value product on offer, it would be easy to get caught up in their ‘spiel’.
Follow the advice in our panel to avoid being scammed.

How to avoid being ripped off

  • If a deal looks too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Always aim to buy from a reputable source/media, but bear in mind, even the big-boys get targeted.
  • Check the web for price comparisons.
  • Never send money before you see the caravan/towcar ‘in the flesh’.
  • Scammers weave very elaborate and believable tales. Don’t be tempted.
  • Only use forms of payment you are comfortable with and understand.
  • Ask to see all paperwork and check caravan identities with the CRiS register.
  • If you buy a stolen caravan, you will have to return it to its rightful owner/finance company, and will not be compensated.

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