Keep an eye out for caravan scammers

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Police have issued a warning of a possible caravan selling scam, which appears to be circulating in New Zealand and across the ditch.

Questions were raised after a 2006 Jayco Sterling caravan was advertised for sale well below market value and potential buyers were asked to deposit the $14,000 before seeing the caravan they were purchasing.

The 20ft caravan was listed to come complete with air conditioning, toilet/shower, large 150L fridge/freezer, TV/CD/DVD/AM/FM, microwave, gas/electric hot plates and oven, twin gas bottles, electric brakes, 2x90L water tanks and a king size bed.

For $14,000, Oamaru police Community Constable Bruce Dow said anybody looking to buy a caravan should be very cautious.

“That’s a $40,000 caravan, and the asking price is $14,000,” he said.

“With something of that value you should never buy it without having seen it first.”

Caravan enthusiast Bill Breukelaar contacted the seller after seeing the advertisement and becoming suspicious.

After being sent “quite an elaborate” form to complete, as well as numerous photos, he was told that he was to deposit the money into an eBay Motors NZ & AU account. There is allegedly no eBay Motors NZ.

Mr Breukelaar said the seller, thought to be based in the UK, claimed the caravan was based in Auckland, but photos indicated that it was actually in Australia.

“It’s very slick, and very cleverly done,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ve saved a few people $14,000 who thought they were getting a cheap caravan.”

The alleged scammer asks for the $14,000 before the buyer can view the caravan. They are still waiting for Mr Breukelaar’s money, which will not be deposited, he said.

The advertisement appeared in the Oamaru Mail last week, but was pulled as soon as it was discovered to be an alleged scam.

Oamaru Mail general manager Tony Nielsen said the advertising team were always on the lookout for potential scams.

“We accepted the ad in good faith and the payment cleared to a credit card which is quite often a signal that there’s a problem, but in this case there wasn’t a problem,” he said.

“Once we learned that it was likely to be a scam we removed the ad straight away.”

It was booked for a number of future placements, which will not run, he said.

The seller did not respond to requests for comment by the Oamaru Mail.

Police are investigating.

By Rebecca Ryan