We all love a good bargain, especially if it is a car! Well Ravinder Singh Guraya is no different, he was looking to buy a used car for his young family when he came across an attractive deal on Gumtree that turned out to be anything but attractive.
Ravinder Singh told SBS Australia, that he bought a silver Toyota sedan for $12,500 after seeing a Gumtree ad and paid in advance for the vehicle.
Though Mr Guraya is the legal owner of the car, the car itself is nowhere to be found despite having been paid for.
“The seller said he needed to keep the car for another two weeks and that he needed the money right then. He was selling it at least $3000 cheaper. So I thought what’s the harm, he is giving me the papers,” he told SBS Australia.
In his statement to Victoria Police, Mr Guraya said he paid the seller $10,000 on 22nd January after inspecting the car and the seller signed the ownership of the vehicle to him with an agreement to hand over the car by 6th February.
He went to VicRoads and got the ownership of the vehicle transferred to his name the next day.
Mr Guraya said he transferred another $500 to the seller’s bank account on 30th January after receiving a text message from him stating that the money was required for roadworthiness inspection and that he would deliver the car the same day.
He waited for the seller to deliver the car, but he didn’t turn up.
“My first thought was that he might have had a family emergency as he had told me when I met him the first day. But then I called him and he didn’t answer. I texted him saying ‘I have to go to work, please let me know when you are coming’. But he didn’t reply.
“Since then, his phone isn’t reachable.”
He then went to the address mentioned on the seller’s driver licence.
“Someone else lives there now and they told me he [the seller]might have lived there before.”
Mr Guraya realised that he may have been scammed.
“I honestly didn’t know that something like this could happen. I have never heard of people being cheated like that. I had no reason to suspect when he had transferred the ownership of the car to me,” he said.
He then approached the police and filed a complaint on 5th February.
“The constable recorded my statement and I handed him all the evidence of money transfer, the details of the seller, including his photos and driver licence, but to the date, nothing has happened.”
“I have gone to VicRoads and pleaded with them to help me. They have taken my details and said they would forward my case to another division of theirs. When I go to the police station, they tell me the constable who is dealing with my case isn’t there,” he said.
He has now approached his bank and trying to get the transaction reversed.
The seller told Mr Guraya that he had a “family emergency” and needed the money. Mr Guraya says it was a mistake to believe him. He said he also felt a sense of urgency as the car’s price was so “attractive”.
But Gumtree says “if the price is too good to be true, it probably is”.
The Victoria Police said they are investigating the matter.
“At this stage, the vehicle has not been found and an offender has not been apprehended. Victoria Police recommend people remain vigilant when purchasing online,” a spokesperson told SBS Punjabi.