Beware of trustees!
On a well-known German website for used cars Matthias discovered a Ford Galaxy and expressed his interest. Immediately Mr. "Victor" sent him an e-mail from England: he had driven the car in Germany, it was kept in a garage, never had been involved in an accident. However in England he could not use it with the steering wheel being on the wrong side.
Matthias made "Victor" the suggestion that he wanted to take the car still situated in Austria, therefore when viewing the car, he may as well run some tests. But "Victor" did not reply to this proposal. He stayed in Norway work-related at that time and could therefore not hand over the car himself.
He proposed to turn to a trustee and let the car be transported by train. All this seemed unnecessary to Matthias, so he tried to contact “Victor” on his mobile which seemed to be impossible as the mobile box answered every time.
But "Victor" contacted Mathtias again by e-mail: He already had notified the trustee company, this would get in touch with Matthias soon. Matthias should deposit half of the purchase price at the company, then he would get a tracking number. If he transfered the rest, he would receive the car.
And he promptly got a serious-looking document of an acting company called "Imported Cars Limited". All this seemed to be a bit too sudden to Matthias, therefore he turned to our European Consumer Centre to get more information about the company in question.
Information through an international network
We introduced the question to the Members of the European Consumer Centre in the UK. They gave us some information about the company that had been founded a year earlier which made us not less suspicious. The homepage was only set up recently – by a private person in Italy.
Advice: One should avoid contracts where the slightest suspicion arises.