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Calne family paid £5,000 for holiday home that didn’t exist
12:00pm Friday 8th March 2013 in News
NURSE Jo Giddings and her husband Jonathon were duped by a £5,000 scam when they tried to buy a caravan on eBay.
The couple, of Azalea Close, Calne, saw the caravan on Trade-It, a free online advertising site, and after they expressed interest the seller asked them to pay via eBay to make use of the website’s buyer protection scheme.
Through the scheme, eBay promises to help buyers and sellers resolve disputes if an item is not received or it is different from what was described.
The seller said they would list the caravan as a private auction and would send the couple a link, which they would then click on in which to buy it.
They logged onto eBay on February 19 and paid the money.
Later, they received an email from eBay to confirm they had won the auction, but the next night they got an email from the seller asking where the money was.
The Giddings said they logged onto eBay as a guest, rather than using their password because they thought they had forgotten the log-in details.
On February 21 they contacted eBay and were told although the account they had paid the money to existed, the user was not selling a caravan.
Mrs Giddings, who works as a nurse in Devizes, said they now have five different companies investigating the matter, including eBay, the police crime team, trading standards and both parties’ banks.
An investigation by the couple’s bank, Lloyds, was able to trace the money to the seller’s Barclays account when the incident was reported, but Barclays says it cannot withdraw the money without the account holder’s permission.
Last week Mrs Giddings asked North Wiltshire MP James Gray to highlight the issue in the Commons and to get protection in place for people buying online.
She said: “We saved this money because we’ve got three young children and wanted to take them on holidays. They’re distraught.
“We went through and paid the money thinking eBay were going to hold the money until a decision had been made.
“I know they can’t help people spoofing their pages, but they do need to make sure their customers feel supported and secure.”
An eBay spokesperson said: “We were very sorry to hear of this incident and will be investigating the situation.
“The incident acts as a reminder to always stay safe when buying an item from a private seller, whether on eBay, through a classified advert or elsewhere.
“Criminal activity is not tolerated on eBay and we work closely with law enforcement authorities to keep eBay safe.”