Buyer beware at the back of the scam van

NSW Fair Trading is currently making enquiries into reports about men who are approaching people to buy audio speakers from the back of their van in the far north of NSW.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rose Webb warned that scammers often misrepresent the quality of the goods and provide fanciful stories of amazing short-term offers on this type of equipment.

“The van scam has been operating in Australia for some years, and may involve distributors renting a storage space, obtaining licences and distribution rights, and the importation of large quantities of poorly made goods,” Ms Webb said.

“These people then recruit salesmen to sell the goods to unsuspecting consumers on the side of the road, parking lots, or anywhere they can pull up and make contact,” Ms Webb said.

In a typical scenario, the scammers pull up beside the target and begin spruiking home audio equipment at bargain basement prices, which they say has "fallen off the back of a truck" or is available through some warehousing error.

The scammers can use high-pressure sales tactics, jargon and fake documentation, then instruct the buyers to meet them a short distance away where they exchange the poor-quality goods for money.

Fair Trading reminds consumers that before they buy they should:
• think about what you want the product to do.
• shop around and compare quality and price.
• take your time and avoid impulse shopping.
• ask for a receipt if you do not get one.
• keep your receipts in a safe place for refund and warranty purposes.
• check the seller’s refund policy before you buy anything.
• beware of scams.

If you are approached by a sale that does not seem right to you or if you have been targeted by this type of sales tactic, call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.