As online car sales continue to grow at record levels in Ireland, a new campaign from Crimestoppers, in association with Carzone and DoneDeal, is being launched that aims to help Irish consumers stay safe when buying and selling their car online.
Crimestoppers, An Garda Síochána and Ireland’s main online classified websites Carzone and DoneDeal, are giving consumers practical advice to follow when they’re buying or selling cars and commercial vehicles online.
While the vast majority of transactions occur with no issue, a limited number of online frauds do occur. In 2015 over 300 million searches were carried out on Irish car websites by people interested in buying a car. The most popular car brands searched for online in Ireland are Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, BMW and Opel.
Top tips for people considering buying or selling a car or commercial vehicle online are:
• Do your homework – if the price of the car or vehicle is way below its current value, the “bargain” may indeed be too good to be true.
• If you’re contacted by a company promising to buy your car or claiming to have buyers ready and waiting, beware. These are usually scams – some even use an official website’s name to appear legitimate.
• Face-to-face contact with the person you are buying from or selling to can reduce the likelihood of you transacting with someone involved in illegal activity.
• Is the seller the same person named in the vehicle registration certificate? If not, why not? Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of address, identification.
• When carrying out a transaction, make sure you meet people in a public area, preferably somewhere that has CCTV cameras.
• If someone wishes to pay by bank draft, meet them at the bank so that you can verify its authenticity before handing over the item for sale.
• Make sure you get to meet the person selling or buying the item themselves, and not a person acting on their behalf. Take their photo if possible.
• If you have a concern about the bona fides of a buyer or seller, do not go through with the transaction.
• If you suspect that a buyer or seller is engaging in illegal activity, call your local Garda station.
Gardaí continue to work closely with all of Ireland’s online buying and selling sites to counteract all illegal activity online, and to provide advice to members of the public.
Tim Dalton, Chairman, Crimestoppers said, “If you are buying or selling cars or any items online and come across an activity that appears to be illegal, please call your local Garda station. By contacting the Gardai with information, you will help to make the buying and selling of goods through classified sales online safer for everyone.”
Ailish Tully, Carzone said, “Buying or selling a car should be a pleasant, hassle-free experience. If anyone spots an issue online, let us know by emailing email@example.com or calling 01-4490650. Alternatively contact the Gardai or Crimestoppers on 1800-250025.”
Finbarr Garland, DoneDeal commented, “While the vast majority of people have a positive experience when buying and selling goods through classified advertising, there are occasions when buyers or sellers can be misled and taken advantage of. DoneDeal urges members of the public to read the advice issued by An Garda Siochana, as well as the safety guidelines which are clearly promoted on every car advert on our website.”