Beware of fraudulent online car sales, FBI warns

(WSPA) - The FBI wants you to watch out for fraudulent online car sales. In the last three years alone, buyers have lost more than $54 million.  

Many had no car to show for it.  In other cases, the car turned out to be unsafe.

An Upstate couple found what they thought was a great deal on a car selling app.

But their lawyer says it turned out to resemble a bait and switch scenerio. He's seen one too many times.

It's been a long road for Corrie and Justin Willis in Cowpens, but one with very little driving.

This Nissan Altima broke down about 20 minutes after they bought it for their teenage daughter.

"Low and behold the clutch went out, she never would have known what to do, she would have wrecked," said Corrie Willis.

The car had been listed on the personal selling app LetGo.

"That is the very first thing I asked him. 'is there anything wrong with it that I couldn't put my 18 year old daughter in it,' all he said was car is a stick shift."

They drove to the Greer address only to find the seller was a dealership, Stan Egan's Auto World.

"So it was going to be a $1500 car instead of a thousand dollar car," said Justin Willis.

Attorney Andrew Hart argues that goes against conduct laid out in the Motor Vehicle Dealer Act.

"I would call it a bait and switch. The bait is an offer that sounds good, a tantelizig vehicle that looks good on the outside, the switch is when you find out you're going to a car dealership and it's going to cost more than what it's listed for in the app," said Hart.

And then, there's the safety concern.

"He said it was a good driving car, it was a good sound car," said Ms.  Willis. 

But when the car was towed to a mechanic, the Willis learned there was so much rust underneith, it wasn't safe to drive.

7News spoke with dealer Stand Egan who said he did not know the car's history and had been selling it for the family of a friend who had recently died.

He says a  temporary employee had listed the car on LetGo, and admits, "that car should never have been posted from my dealership on that app."

Neither Egan nor the Willis's pulled the car's history report which shows it was previously salvaged, rebuilt, and reconstructed.

Today Egan put those reports in all the cars on his lot and gave the Willis's back their money.     

"I'm happy, he can have it," said Ms. Willis.

Top Stories

More Stories

Don't Miss

wspa news app free for download choose your store below
download the wspa news app from the apple app store
download the wspa news app from the google play store

Latest News - Local

Video Center