A MELVILLE resident has warned Garden City shoppers to be on the lookout for scammers after he was approached by two men selling stereos out of a white van.
Chris, who did not want his last name used, was in the parking lot of the Booragoon shopping centre last Friday morning when the men rolled up alongside him in a white Hyundai iLoad.
“They shouted something about the van being overflowing with excess stock and asked me if I wanted to buy a stereo,” he said.
“I just fobbed them off and kept walking but after thinking about it for a while I decided to ring Commerce WA to report the incident.”
Chris was able to provide Commerce WA with the van’s registration, which he was told had been reported at other shopping centres around Perth.
He described the two men driving the van as “typical Australian blokes you’d see down at the pub.”
“They were both in their mid-to-late twenties. One had a baseball cap on and they were pretty friendly,” he said.
“You would never suspect them of doing this kind of thing if you saw them out and about.”
Chris said he reported the incident in a bid to protect others who might fall victim to the pair’s scam, which typically involves selling low quality whitegoods or home entertainment systems for inflated prices.
“My wife shops at Garden City every week and if she thought she got scammed into buying something she thought was really special I would be seething,” he said.
“What they’re doing probably isn’t technically illegal but they’re just not the kind of people you want in your community.”
The scammers appear to be operating in a wide area, with Commerce WA reporting similar incidents at Joondalup Lakeside Shopping Centre, a business in Greenwood, a car park in Mandurah and major shopping centres in Bunbury.
One consumer reported handing over $1200 to two men in a white van.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the people should refuse to deal with travelling conmen who were breaking consumer law.
“Back of van salespeople often sell inferior and sometimes counterfeit products at a high price, convincing their targets that they are getting a genuine bargain,” he said.
“Consumers have no chance of a remedy if the goods are faulty and are unable to make a warranty claim as the conmen are impossible to track down after the sale is made.
“It’s common for them to give out business cards with fake names and phone numbers.”
“The travelling conmen are also breaking consumer laws, which require a 10-day cooling off period for unsolicited sales.
“We urge all consumers when approached by these back of van conmen to refuse to deal with them – it’s the only way to drive them out of business.”