Warnings of online scam when buying horse trailers

An H&H reader who lost more than £4,000 trying to buy a trailer is warning riders to beware of fake listings on eBay.

Leicestershire-based Susan Bromell bought an Equi-Trek Show Treka trailer via the internet auction site in June for £4,200.

But the advert had been posted by a fraudster who, it seems, had stolen the identity of a genuine eBay seller, so he appeared highly rated on the site.

The trailer never arrived and — because the “seller” had persuaded Mrs Bromell to pay by bank transfer rather than PayPal — the purchase was not protected and she lost her money.

“I feel like a complete fool,” she told H&H. “You could say I’ve been stupid, but all the correspondence looked authentic.

“I went from the excitement of thinking I’d found a really nice trailer, which was slightly below market value but not ridiculously cheap, to the realisation I’d been scammed.”

Mrs Bromell reported the fraud to the police and eBay, but fake trailer adverts are still being listed on the site.

Many are located in the far north of Scotland — in order, Mrs Bromell believes, to deter would-be buyers from going to look at them.

London-based dressage rider Martina Tomandlova was almost caught out by a similar scam when looking for a second-hand Ifor Williams trailer in July.

“It was all very convincing at first,” she said. “But it was weird that the trailer was advertised as being in Devon, then Aberdeen. And when the seller could not provide the chassis number, I thought, ‘That’s it, I’ll walk away’.”

Ms Tomandlova eventually bought a legitimate Ifor Williams trailer from eBay.

An eBay spokesman said such cases were “incredibly unusual”.

“Criminal activity is not tolerated and we work with law enforcement authorities to pass on information where there is evidence of wrongdoing,” he added.

If you have been a victim of internet crime, contact Action Fraud, tel: 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (18 October 2012)

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