Garda warning after farmer loses €5k in online tractor scam

Stock image.
Stock image.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Gardai have issued a warning after a farmer lost a significant sum of money in an online tractor purchase scam.

The County Longford man was recently defrauded of €5,000 when attempting to purchase a tractor online from a trading site in the UK.

After agreeing a price online with the owner he lodged a €5,000 deposit in a foreign bank account with the balance due on delivery.

The tractor never arrived and seller cannot be located. 

Farmers are strongly advised not to wire or lodge monies to unknown seller’s accounts in advance of seeing the goods being purchased.

Figures from the CSO show 4,263 tractors were licensed for the first time in Ireland last year, with 2,453 of these imported while the remaining 1,810 were new tractors.

According to the latest statistics, the number of new tractors being licensed in Ireland has gradually declined in recent years, dropping from 1934 in 2016 to 1,810 in 2017.

Buying secondhand tips

1. It is important to check out the machine fully before buying. If you are not familiar with cars then you should get an independent mechanic to look it over for you. When you are test-driving, turn off the radio and air-conditioning and make sure there are no strange noises or smells of oil, petrol or diesel.

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2. Always ask for the relevant documents when you buy a tractor – a written warranty stating what it covers and its duration; the machines service book; a handbook /manual; a signed receipt for payment and/or the Vehicle Registration Tax certificate if the car has been imported. Receive these before making any payment.

3. If dealing with a trader, ask if they are part of a trade association, for example the Society of Irish Motor Industry. This requires them to follow certain business standards.

4. Check the machine you are buying is not under a hire purchase agreement. This information is available (for a small fee) from Hire Purchase Information Limited. If the car is under a hire purchase agreement then the seller does not actually own it and does not have the right to sell it to you.

5. Ask for two sets of keys as it may prove expensive later on to purchase a second key.

6. Finally, always meet a private seller at their home address in daylight and check that the documentation matches this address.

* Don't hand over any payment unless you are completely happy to buy it.

* Don't feel pressured into buying it.

* Always pay by bank draft or cheque, never with cash.

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