Consumers Say They Wired Money, Online Car Company Didn't Deliver Vehicles
March 21, 2014

The Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York has received several complaints from consumers alleging that an unverified company claiming to be Westchester Car Sales LLC (“Westchester Car Sales”) advertised vehicles for sale on their website and on Craigslist but did not deliver the car after the money was received. In addition, consumers are being misled by Westchester Car Sales, which is not a BBB Accredited Business, by the fraudulent posting of the BBB logo on their website and, according to consumers, by verbal statements made by “representatives” from Westchester Car Sales.

In complaints made to BBB, consumers said that when they responded to online car ads posted by Westchester Car Sales, they were instructed to wire money to the company to be applied toward the purchase of the car. Consumers who wired money to Westchester Car Sales alleged that after the money transfer went through, all communication with the “company” ended. The consumers claimed they never received the vehicle they wanted to buy, and they also were unable to obtain a refund of the money they paid.

 “Just as you never send cash through the mail, don’t use a money transfer service to pay for a product you haven’t seen, from an individual you have not met,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the BBB Serving Metro New York. “Wiring money can be a risky thing to do and should be conducted with caution and never with people you don’t know.”

Westchester Car Sales is not listed as a state-regulated facility for auto dealerships with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Westchester Car Sales claims to be located at 33 Brockway Place, White Plains, NY, 10601. Mail was returned to BBB from that address as “Attempted-Not Known,” and BBB has been unable to reach them by phone to obtain a valid mailing address. When a BBB representative called the “company’s” telephone number, 914-618-5011, they were told by the man who answered that it was a wrong number.

Consumers can take steps to avoid losing money through online scams:

  •  If you need to wire money, send it only to a person or business that you already know and trust. Never wire money to an unfamiliar business or an individual you have not met in person.  High pressure to wire money quickly or to use other non-reversible payments such as prepaid debit cards is a red flag. 

  • If you are asked to pay money up front, before a transaction is fully negotiated, that is a warning sign.   An immediate request for money to pay for fees to cover vague costs such as “insurance,” “processing” or “paperwork” is a big red flag. 

  • Be very cautious if you are thinking of dealing with any business, especially an online firm, that provides only a post office box, cell phone number or email address.  Verify the company’s identity and street address before you send any money.  Consult phone directories, online maps, and other resources to check on whether a business may be providing a bogus address.

  • Check to see whether the company is licensed, if it is in a business category that requires licensing.  Your local Attorney General or Department of Consumer Affairs can identify which businesses must be licensed, and can also provide information about whether a firm has a problem history with that regulatory agency.

  • Check out the company’s record with the Better Business Bureau.

If you believe you have been a victim of an online purchase scam, you can file a complaint with the BBB at newyork.bbb.org or bbb.org.  You may also want to file a complaint with the New York State Attorney General’s office at http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint and Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov