Online car buyers warned of scam


PROSPECTIVE CAR buyers have been warned of the dangers of buying vehicles online after a member of the public became the victim of a motoring scam.

Gardaí in the stolen vehicle unit said they were investigating an incident where a member of the public bought and paid online for a car which was never delivered.

According to gardaí, this is just one of many online scams involving cars. Another popular scam involves a seller claiming to be from mainland Europe who has a right-hand drive car with Irish-registered plates.

The seller claims it is too difficult to drive the car outside Ireland, which is why they are offering it at a knockdown price.

In April car buyers were warned of two other online car scams, one in which a would-be car seller attempted to get buyers to part with half the purchase price before shipping the car to Ireland and another in which people selling their second-hand cars were being targeted by scammers attempting to gain access to their bank account information.

Gardaí have advised prospective car buyers to ensure they are satisfied with the bona fides of individuals or organisations offering items for sale over the internet.

Separately, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) said it had received a large number of calls over recent weeks about second-hand cars that had been bought online from overseas.

"When you buy cars in a private sale, especially if you're buying second-hand, then consumer law doesn't really apply so an individual's rights are very limited," Rosaleen Quinlan from the ECC's Dublin office told The Irish Times.

In a statement the internet sales site eBay said it advised prospective buyers to use the same caution when buying a car online that they would offline. "We advise buyers to ensure that all documentation is in order and to choose a safe payment method."