Vancouver, BC - BBB has been made aware of a scheme targeting Canadians who are trying to sell their used cars online. BBB and local media have received complaints from private sellers who have been approached by interested buyers through text or email. The alleged buyer asks for a vehicle history report from a website other than from reputable organizations like CarProof or ICBC.
CarProof and ICBC offer information such as whether the vehicle has been in an accident, where it has been registered, or if there are any liens against it. They conduct searches of the vehicle through the use of the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN. Neither private sellers nor car dealers are obligated by law to produce these reports, they do so with their own due diligence and sense of transparency.
Claiming they are not satisfied with just the CarProof report, the buyer requests that the seller purchases a vehicle history report from another, specific website. The buyer may even promise to reimburse the seller for the cost. However, the buyer has no intention of purchasing the vehicle and may be collecting a commission from the sale of the report. Once the seller buys the report from the website the buyer recommends, they are no longer interested in the car. The seller is out the cost of the report.
One website that showed up on BBB Scam Tracker recently is www.ProofVin.com. A consumer felt deceived by this type of marketing scheme.
“ProofVIN’s website has so many red flags,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Very poor grammar, the employee pictures on the Home page show up with different names and titles on the About Us page. Even the names and pictures have been pulled from other legit businesses. They offer no phone number and the business does not exist at the address on the website. As well, the IP address is based in the Netherlands.”
Last year in Utah, a website called historycheck24.com was accused of doing the same thing and a warning was issued by BBB there. That URL is now redirected to InsightVIN.com.
“The fact that these people are misleading sellers to spend money with no intention of buying the car is definitely a very deceptive business practice,” adds Kelly. “If a buyer is not satisfied with a CarProof or ICBC report and pressures you to buy one from another site, it becomes suspicious. You might just be better off finding another legit buyer. And if a buyer really is interested, they are free to request the VIN and get the report themselves. In fact, many people post ads with the VIN included.”
Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 365 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 6,000 complaints.