Used car deal or used car fraud and scam? | AUDI A3 News & FAQs

Q&A

Added: 23 Jul 2008
Last update:

Question

Hi

I have seen a low priced Audi for sale on Autotrader.

The low price is because it was UK purchased but now seller has returned to Germany with it and is unable to sell it as it is rhd.

He thinks his best chance of sale is in UK so is using a third party to carryout shipping and to hold the payment whilst I have the option to trial car for 2-3 days.

All shipping fees covered in price. Shipping firm call AUTO-TRANS EUROPE LTD. Have you heard of this company or this process/type of sale?

Great car and lower than average price but thinking is it too good to be true?

Help! :-)

Main worry is that you pay third party before shipment is carried out who then hold money till you decide to buy. If you dont like vehicle you return at expense of seller and get a full refund.

Regards

Craig
 

Answer

Dear Craig,

You are right to be cautious.We had not heard of this company, so have looked into it for you.

We cannot find any companies registered at Companies House called AUTO-TRANS EUROPE LTD. There is however a AUTOTRANSEUROPE LTD. They are listed as in the business of 'freight transport.'

So far, so good, BUT there is no phone number in their company return, nor are they listed in directory enquiries. We cannot find a website for them.

They are not a company of substance (they have just two £1 shares issued and no meaningful accounts have been filed).

Their Company Secretary and Company Director are both listed as other companies, whilst this is not illegal it is not going to be helpful if you have a problem. One of the companies is based in the Bahamas....

A company called Autotranseurope ltd (with the website www.ate-limited.com) is listed on the fraud and scam forum: www.419legal.org

This could be a coincidence, but it's not looking good...

Finally, if you are going to give money to a third party, this should be put in an ESCROW account so that it cannot be used by the third party. An ESCROW account is a bank account operated purely for client money and is regulated. Solicitors use them for things like transferring money for house purchases.

We certainly would not recommend handing over your money to this company unless they have a regulated client account (which means they will be a law firm or insurance company), and you have a water-tight agreement, have met the people involved and checked that they are a real business.

If you can get hold of them, which I doubt, ask for contact details of satisfied customers, ask why there are no real accounts available at company's house and so on.

We cannot be certain but we suspect that this is a scam. So we recommend walking away unless you can get a lot more information and reassurances.

If you really can't let this opportunity go without knowing more, you should probably go to Germany on a cheap flight and see if the car exists. If it does, drive it back.
 

Keywords: used car deal, used car scam, used car fraud, used car sale, europe car buying, auto-trans europe, autotranseurope