Bargain buys from the back of vans will blow your money

Consumers are being warned not to be tempted by what appears to be a bargain buy of electrical equipment by sellers from the back of vans after a spate of recent reports around Perth suburbs.

In the past two months 11 reports have been received by Consumer Protection from people who have been approached in public places such as service stations and shopping centres in Redcliffe, Applecross, Currambine, Maddington, Westminster, Brentwood, Malaga, Bicton, Victoria Park, West Perth and Cockburn Central.

One consumer paid $1,000 for sound system speakers and another paid $2,000, only to find that they were faulty.

The sellers were all driving white vehicles, typically hired vans, except at Canning Bridge where a green sports utility vehicle was used.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said these dodgy and transient traders appear from time to time and he advises consumers not to be tempted by their promises of a bargain.

“These sellers are likely to have a compelling story when they hail you down and will attempt to convince you they are legitimate business people,” Mr Hillyard said.

“These itinerant sellers use clever selling techniques to sell usually inferior quality electronics at inflated prices and give the impression to consumers that they are getting a bargain too good to miss to instil a sense of urgency. The goods sometimes have counterfeit branding or are look-a-like brands.

“These ‘back of van salespeople’ are breaking door-to-door trading laws which allow consumers a ten-day cooling off period for any unsolicited sales.

“It’s difficult to track down itinerant traders like this if there is a problem with the product and consumers will not be able to get repairs, refunds or replacements that they are entitled to.

“Like it is with most things, this is the classic ‘buyer beware’ as a bargain that is to ‘too good to be true’ is no bargain at all.”

Consumers approached by these salespeople can contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 to report their location and licence plate number but our advice is say “No and walk away”.