[June 22, 2010 – Nashville, TN] – The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that an Internet car sales scam using the website www.americautosales.com is falsely using the name and address of a BBB Accredited car dealer in an attempt to defraud the public. The BBB of Northeast Florida issued a similar scam alert last year about a similar fraudulent website using the names and addresses of two of their local businesses.
The scam offers repossessed cars for sale at prices well below market value. The website currently claims their headquarters to be America Auto Sales, 3240 Millbranch Rd., Memphis TN. This claim is false. The real America Auto Sales, located at this address, has been BBB Accredited, since February 1999 and currently has an A rating. They are in no way affiliated with this scam. America Auto Sales’ real website is www.memphisautoworld.com; they do not sell cars over the Internet.
The fraudulent website claims to sell cars that have been repossessed at prices well below market. Buyers are instructed to wire a deposit to an individual rather than the company, which, according to the company, “helps us avoid taxes legally.” The balance is to be paid upon delivery at the consumer’s address within five days. Based on the fact that the company whose identity is being used to perpetuate this scam has nothing to do with this site, we believe that no cars will ever be delivered and that any funds wire transferred in a transaction associated with this website will be unrecoverable.
Micah Guidry, salesman for America Auto Sales in Memphis, reports having received about 300 phone calls about the website since yesterday. According to Guidry, some customers actually showed up at the car lot this morning to pick up the cars they had “bought” on the bogus site. The customers had receipts showing that they had paid for vehicles and were to contact Julia Fischer for pickup. “There is no Julia Fischer associated with America Auto Sales and the vehicles ‘sold’ to these customers are not in our inventory,” said Guidry.
The bogus site also displays several “Merchant Certification” seals, which link to an E-Certification Agency. According to the BBB of Northeast Florida, this certification site is also bogus. These “seals” mean nothing and are simply an attempt by the scammer to impart some credibility to their scam.
Consumers should be wary of wiring money to web-based businesses or individuals. You may never receive the purchased item and will have absolutely no recourse to recover the funds. The BBB implores consumers not to wire transfer any payment to a business unless you have an established relationship with that business because wired funds cannot be traced. Websites that have vague or no address and contact information should be avoided. Verify any third party credentials with the accrediting organization (BBB, Consumer Reports, Car-Fax, etc.) before accepting their validity.
For more information from BBB on common scams looking for you, go to www.nashville.bbb.org.
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The BBB of Middle Tennessee, Inc. was founded in 1961 as a non-profit Tennessee organization serving 38 counties in Middle Tennessee and 7 counties in Southern Kentucky. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada.
Serving as the 'ethical gatepost' of our communities, BBB fosters and promotes ethical business practices and self-regulation standards that build consumer trust in the marketplace. BBB services include business reliability information, complaint resolution services and consumer and business educational information. In 2008 BBB Nashville handled over 4.0 million services requests via our web site www.nashville.bbb.org.
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