3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - Quang Dinh says he really enjoyed driving his 2012 Tesla. But, he wanted to upgrade to a newer model. So, he searched online and came across a legitimate and popular website called Cars.com.
"I went to Cars.com website and saw the Tesla 2015 Model S and the price is very reasonable," said Dinh.
Dinh says the newer model Tesla really caught his eye but it was the price that got his attention.
"The asking price is $28,900," said Dinh.
The nearly $30,000 price tag for the Tesla came with all the bells and whistles that Dinh was looking for.
"I like it a lot, look very clean," said Dinh.
Eager to buy, Dinh filled out some information online and then received an email with instructions on how to proceed with the sale.
"Cars.com, you know, referred me to the seller and his name Richard Fisher. And he claims he's a pilot and moving and training in Canada and need the money to make a down payment on his house," said Dinh.
The seller told Dinh that the Tesla and the title were actually in Fort Worth, Texas, with a car brokerage company.
So, Dinh agreed to wire the full asking price, $28,900 to the broker. When he did, Dinh says he received a tracking number and was told the Tesla would arrive in Arizona in a few days.
"Told me they will ship the car on Friday," said Dinh.
But that Friday came and went weeks ago, and nearly $30,000 later, the Tesla has never arrived. Dinh says he's called the so-called broker several times but gets nowhere.
"Thank you for calling. You have reached us outside our normal business hours. Please leave a message after the tone," the answering machine said.
3 On Your Side emailed the broker and the seller but never received a response.
However, we did hear from Cars.com, which told us: "We do not own, buy or sell the vehicles listed on our site, and we are not involved in transactions between buyers and sellers."
They went on to say: "The vehicle was immediately removed from the site on August 12 and the private seller was reported to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance."
Dinh says he can't believe he's been scammed out of $30,000 and hopes others won't fall for it.
"Lesson learned and very expensive lesson for me," said Dinh.
3 On Your Side has discovered the Tesla really does exist and was most recently registered in Tucson.
The seller and the so-called broker are most likely the same person and pulling the scam on other victims. Remember, when you wire money, there is very little you can do to get it back.
Cars.com successfully connects millions of car shoppers and sellers every day. Of the more than two million vehicles listed on our site, less than 1% are from private sellers while the vast majority are from trusted dealerships across the country. We do not own, buy or sell the vehicles listed on our site, and we are not involved in transactions between buyers and sellers. However, combating internet fraud is a top priority for Cars.com, we take it very seriously.
In this particular case, the vehicle was immediately removed from the site on August 12 and the private seller was reported to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance. We also advised the buyer to file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is something that we advise anyone who has been a victim of a scam to do.
We provide a host of resources to educate consumers on the potential dangers of shopping online and provide digital tools to promote safe shopping practices. Here are a few important tips for online car shoppers:
- Inspect the vehicle, preferably in person, before purchasing.
- Use caution when a buyer requests payment online before you have seen a vehicle in person.
- Avoid listings that are too good to be true.
- Learn about a vehicle’s history.
For more tips and information, please visit the Fraud Awareness page on our site at Cars.com/fraud-awareness. If you are suspicious of a listing on Cars.com, please do not hesitate to contact our Fraud Prevention Department: firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-780-1286. Thank you.