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Vehicle-match scam warning

PUBLISHED: 10:23 02 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 July 2010

MOTORISTS in Norfolk looking to sell their cars are being warned of a “vehicle-matching” scam which costs consumers nationally £3m a year.

Norfolk County Council Trading Standards is warning consumers about the scams which work by approaching people who are selling their cars and falsely promising to match them with definite buyers.

MOTORISTS in Norfolk looking to sell their cars are being warned of a “vehicle-matching” scam which costs consumers nationally £3m a year.

Norfolk County Council Trading Standards is warning consumers about the scams which work by approaching people who are selling their cars and falsely promising to match them with definite buyers.

The seller is usually cold-called by phone once they have placed an advert in a magazine, on a website or in a newspaper, and promised that a buyer exists.

But they must pay an up-front “matcher's fee” before the sale is completed and in many cases there is no buyer, the contract with the vehicle matcher cannot be cancelled and any money paid is lost.

Last year, more than 1,600 car sellers complained to advice service Consumer Direct about the practice, losing between £80 and £99 each, but the true number of victims is thought to be much larger.

David Collinson, head of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards, said: “Vehicle-matching scamming is a big industry across the country. While we are not aware of a current problem in Norfolk, we want people to be aware of this scam and how it operates. With more people experiencing financial difficulties at the moment, we are concerned that a greater number of people will be vulnerable to the high-pressure tactics. If in any doubt about a deal being offered - especially if it sounds too good to be true -do not agree to anything and take time to consider the potential risks.”

If you think you have been a victim of a scam or suspect a scam, contact Norfolk Trading Standards on 0845 404 05 06 and report it.

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