A retired Market Harborough businessman has lost £4,000 in a luxury car scam on the online auction and shopping website eBay.
Ray Alway (68) paid the money up front for a Mercedes C22o he spotted on the website.
The car should have been delivered to his Market Harborough home on October 13 - but it never arrived.
Now Ray and wife Teresa (60) say they have lost the money, which represents most of their savings.
“I was sucked in” Ray told the Mail. “It seemed so genuine. Now I feel an idiot.”
Ray had been looking for a Mercedes car on eBay, when he came across a silver 2009 model that seemed a bargain.
He exchanged emails with the seller, who called himself Dennis Gutendorf and said he was based in Germany.
Mr Gutendorf referred Ray to his Symbonet website and sent pictures of the car. Ray even spoke to Mr Gutendorf twice on the phone.
“He said the car belonged to his brother who had died in Scotland, and he just wanted a quick sale because he lived in Germany” said Ray.
“I seemed to have established he was a real person with a real car. It seemed so genuine.”
The moment when alarm bells could have rung was over the method of payment.
“I usually pay by Paypal or on my card, but he wanted the money by direct transfer to his bank account” said Ray.
When the car didn’t arrive at his home on the appointed day, Ray tried to contact Dennis Gutendorf again.
The website had disappeared, and there was no answer on his phone.
Now Ray says the banks can’t help him and there has been no feedback at all from the police.
The Mail has found two more people online who seem to have fallen for the same scam, again involving Symbonet.
“At the end of the day it’s only money,” said wife Teresa.
“But I’m usually pretty clued-up” said Ray. “And I feel so damn foolish.”
The website MoneySavingExpert.com, founded by TV presenter Martin Lewis, advises eBay buyers to use Paypal, because you’re then covered by eBay’s own money-back guarantee scheme.
The website adds: “Avoid sending cheques and never use money orders.”