A couple from Norfolk were held at gunpoint and robbed of £9,000, cash they had taken to Manchester with them to pay for a car they’d purchased on eBay.
Terribly frightening, and with a fractured nose, eye socket and cheekbone from the beating, it’s not a situation anyone would want to be in and it’s not an isolated incident. Between Tuesday the 19th of November 2019 and Wednesday the 22nd of January 2020, Greater Manchester Police received 10 reports of armed robberies across Manchester and Oldham. On most occasions, offenders falsely advertised a car on Ebay and organised to meet the buyers at a given location for the car sale. On arrival, the potential buyers were threatened with weapons, including with a gun, a hammer and machetes and offenders fled with a large quantity of the victim’s cash.
“These offenders are targeting innocent members of the public via the internet and have no compassion at all for their victims who they have subjected to a number of terrifying ordeals.
They are devious and ruthless and need to be caught. For this reason, we have a dedicated team of detectives working around the clock to identify those responsible. Though, I would like to take this opportunity to remind people to say alert and vigilant and report anything suspicious to police immediately.”
– Detective Sergeant Kat McKeown, Greater Manchester Police’s City of Manchester division
If you are buying a vehicle on eBay, or indeed on any other website or off line classified ads site, there is one simple way to ensure that you aren’t robbed and that is never to take cash with you. Any reasonable car dealer or private seller will be more than happy with a bank transfer and in today’s world bank transfers are instant. You can turn up with nothing other than a smart phone with your banking app installed and, when you’ve checked you are happy with the vehicle, make a bank transfer as you accept the keys and sign the paperwork.
There’s a reason that banks are so pedantic about accepting large deposits or handing out thousands in cash as a withdrawal and that’s because of money laundering and other crime. Why someone would consider driving around with nine grand in cash in 2020 seems a needless risk and it’s not only the loss of money but also the risk of violence from the criminals are willing to relieve you of the cash, no one wants to be held at gunpoint.
If you are considering buying a car, if the seller is insisting on cash simply walk away from the deal. There will always be another similar vehicle that you can purchase and the risk of violent robbery simply isn’t worth it. If you are selling a car, whether privately or as a dealer, suggest to your buyers that they stay safe and consider an instant bank transfer.
For what it’s worth I’ve purchased about a dozen vehicles online over the past 20 years, most of them on eBay. I still have two of them and have never had an issue but then I’ve also never paid cash. If a deal seems to good to be true it probably is and if anyone insists on a cash deal move on and find an alternative car to buy.
I must admit to not knowing how much cheaper cars are on ebay, ie with no genuine warranty, no genuine HPI check, no genuine MOT, no genuine nothing potentially, compared to a dealer. But along with suggestions of not taking large amounts of cash……agree to meet in a busy area…….not some out of the way place or at night. Even a busy petrol station forecourt (which would / should have cctv) would help surely. And if they don’t want to meet in somewhere like that, walk away etc. Its not limited to ebay, when I use autotrader to look up cars, if the seller has no fixed sales site and cars are by appointment only, ie just a phone number……I walk away. There will be another car along soon enough to meet your needs……it may be less of a “bargain”, but you get to stay in one piece!
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