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Safeguarding against rising scams at live and online auctions

In today’s challenging economic landscape, where consumers increasingly prioritise affordability in their car buying endeavours, the allure of snagging a great deal often leads them to auctions. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a live auction and become carried away with the potential savings. While there’s a real chance of securing a fantastic deal, it’s essential to do your homework beforehand and fully understand the auction process before raising your paddle to bid.

Remaining alert and aware of your surroundings at the auction is imperative. Scam artists may be present, preying on unsuspecting attendees. Therefore, it’s crucial to comprehend the intricacies of the auction process to avoid potential pitfalls and scams. WesBank offers invaluable guidelines tailored for auction attendees, ensuring a smooth and successful purchasing experience.

Auction Scams Article (#27248)

Research and Preparation

Before diving into the excitement of bidding, take the time to research and understand the vehicles available for auction. Visit the auction centre in advance to inspect the cars and review the updated catalogue.

Stay informed

Be aware that last-minute changes to the auction catalogue can occur, and in a bank auction, the bank reserves the right to remove vehicles without notice. Stay updated on any alterations to avoid surprises and disappointment.

Registration and documentation

To participate in the bidding process, registration is mandatory. Ensure you provide the necessary identification documents and proof of residence. Only registered bidders are eligible to make valid bids. A refundable deposit is to be lodged by the bidder on registration, but will be forfeited if a purchase is not paid for. It is very important to note that a genuine WesBank auction will never ask for a deposit to secure a certain car.

Clarify terms and conditions

Familiarise yourself with the auctioneer’s terms and conditions, including payment procedures, buyer responsibilities, and refund policies. Understanding these guidelines is crucial to avoid any misunderstandings.

Beware of scams

Be vigilant against potential scams, especially with online platforms. Ensure you’re dealing with reputable auction houses and authorised representatives. Avoid offers that seem too good to be true.

Auction scams pose a significant threat to consumers, with more and more people falling target to online scams, exploiting the convenience and anonymity of online marketplaces. To combat this threat, WesBank offers essential tips to help consumers safeguard themselves against auction scammers to educate and empower individuals with the knowledge to recognise and avoid fraudulent schemes.

Lebo Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank, emphasises the importance of dealing with trusted sources: “Ensure you are dealing with a reputable, registered auction house and only engage with official WesBank representatives. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts and proceed with caution. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to fall victim to a fraudulent transaction.”

Staying alert for red flags is crucial. Be vigilant for common warning signs such as sellers requesting payment outside of the auction platform, reluctance to provide additional information or photos, and vague or inconsistent product descriptions.

“We urge participants to report any suspicious activity promptly to the auction platform to prevent others from falling prey to scams and contribute to a safer online marketplace.  By taking note of these guidelines and exercising caution, buyers can confidently navigate vehicle auctions, maximising their chances of securing a quality vehicle at a reasonable price,” Gaoaketse concludes.

Always check on www.wesbank.co.za/auctions/ to get reliable information about official WesBank online vehicle auctions.

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Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa
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