Mysterious Hot Dog Cart Seller on eBay Doesn't Deliver, Says BBB
The Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia says more than a dozen people have complained since August 2009 about a Barboursville company that goes by two names: "Virginia Hot Dog Cart Company" and "New World Hot Dog Cart. Co. "The company allegedly offered two carts on eBay for $1,500 and $4,300, but never delivered them, says Tom Gallagher, president of the local BBB.
One complaint filed this month says a buyer sent the seller money through a wire transfer and was told the cart would arrive in about a month. It never arrived, but a contract did -- saying the buyer had five days after date of purchase to cancel the contract. Unfortunately, it arrived a month too late.
After almost two months of being told that the cart was lost, that there was a new delivery system, that things were crazy because of the holidays AND that the cart would arrive next week -- still no cart. And the owner refuses to return the money.
Gallagher says the BBB plans to contact state and federal authorities.
If you're planning to make a big purchase from an online auction, officials usually recommend an escrow service, particularly for items over $500. The service receives the item from the seller before sending the payment.
EBay recommends Escrow.com, and warns consumers of many fraudulent escrow companies -- so if a seller suggests another company, investigate that company first.
In addition, avoid paying for online auction purchases via wire transfers, which carry few to no fraud provisions compared to credit cards.