Made-up companies will go to extreme lengths to appear legitimate – as Charles discovered when he lost £269 paying for a dishwasher by direct bank transfer.
Charles told us: I tried to buy a dishwasher from an online electronics company. It has a sophisticated website which says you can pay by credit card, but the firm contacted me to claim that my transaction had failed. They requested to be paid via bank transfer instead. Like a fool, I transferred £269.
They tried to convince me that the bank transfer hadn’t gone through either. That’s when I began to smell a rat. I’ve informed Trading Standards, which confirmed the company is phoney. The address shown to the public is a residential one occupied by someone unconnected with this fraud.
I have also informed the police, Action Fraud and the price comparison website PriceSpy, which has since removed the company from its database. I accept I won’t get my money back, but don’t want others to suffer the same fate. How can I avoid falling in to this trap again?
Our advice on fake companies
Sadly, you’re correct to assume there’s little you can do on this occasion. You should only ever use a bank transfer with someone you know and trust, and should be extremely suspicious of any company asking you to transfer money in this way.
If an unfamiliar company is selling products at a significant discount, it’s worth searching online for reviews of its service. In this case, you would have found many warnings from others who have been stung by the same company.
It’s good that you have already reported this company to all the appropriate bodies. This case highlights that even the most clued-up consumers can be caught out.