Has your Plant been sold without you Knowing?

Has your Plant been sold without you Knowing?


Has your Plant been sold without you Knowing?

This might seem like a strange question to ask – of course I’d know if I’d sold a piece of plant!

We have seen a steady increase in the fraudulent selling of plant with a number of clients either falling victim to this or being inadvertently caught up in the fraud.
How it seems to go is that someone sets up a website, that for all the world looks like it is a plant disposal or sales website of a reasonable sized plant hirer or groundworks company. The quality of the site is pretty good, it has all of the right company logos, which of course they’ve just down loaded from the internet and the address is correct and checks out. The email address even looks plausible. There is even a contact name but the one thing that should start to ring alarm bells is that only ways to contact them are via email or a mobile phone number.
The customer sees a piece of plant on the website, which looks in great condition, low hours, well serviced etc. and the price looks really good too, but not so good that it’s too good to be true, that would put people on their guard.
He gets in touch with the ‘seller’ on the email, they might even send more photos of the machine and have a chat about it on the mobile phone number provided.
After that, he agrees a price and pays an initial deposit of say 20% and agrees a date for collection. On this date, the balance is due and ‘the machine can only be collected on receipt of full, cleared funds’ in the ‘seller’s’ bank account. We’ve seen a number of these cases where the deal has been done in Euros and the ‘seller’ even has the facilities to deal with an international transaction like that. It all looks pretty professional.
The buyers sends a lorry to collect their new piece of plant and it now that the penny starts to drop…
The driver arrives at the agreed place – ‘Hi, I’m here to collect the machine that (whoever) has bought’ only to be met with blank faces. The faces are blank because of course, no one there knows anything about it, because they haven’t actually sold the machine.
So at this point there is a situation where the supposed ‘seller’ has to convince the driver that they are telling the truth and that they haven’t actually sold a machine. Having done that, the driver then has to break the news to his boss that he’s driven all the way from (and in many cases, he’s driven all across Europe) to find that there’s no machine and that they might have been conned.
Once it has become clear that they have been conned, it is extremely difficult to get any money back because it hasn’t actually been stolen, it has been willingly paid over as a result of the con.
Criminals are getting more a more sophisticated and are (sadly) quite good at using technology and the internet to set up very plausible looking scams that are good enough to actually catch people out.
The way to protect yourself is to make sure you do as many checks as you possibly can on both the machine and also, and perhaps more importantly, on the people to are buying the machine from. If there’s no land line, have a look online and find the head office telephone number, ring it and ask for the guy you are dealing with, it could be that they’ve never heard of him is he’s bogus.
There are some devious criminals out there, make sure you do everything you can to protect yourself and don’t get caught out buying one of these machines because if you do, there are not many insurance solutions that can protect you from being conned.