The majority of buyers and sellers are serious and trustworthy. However, there are a tiny minority who use dishonest and illegal methods to try and scam you out of your money, or worse, your horse. Here are the Horse Deals top tips for buyers and sellers on how to avoid scammers and how to spot a potential scam.
• If a horse looks too good to be true, it probably is. You're not going to find a 3* event horse priced at £1000 and if you do, seriously question why it is so cheap.
• Never part with any money before you have viewed a horse. Scammers will ask you to pay a deposit before you view the horse to show you are interested. When you arrive at the viewing address given, there will be no sign of the horse or the person you have been liaising with.
• Always have a horse vetted and ensure that the horse you are buying matches its passport. If the seller claims to have lost the passport or says that the horse does not have one, it could be that the horse is stolen, so do some serious checking before you part with any money.
• Always be wary of anyone looking to buy a horse without viewing it first. This is usually the first indication that you may be dealing with a scammer.
• Scammers usually only deal with you via email and if they refuse to give you a telephone number or refuse to ring you, be careful.
• A common scam is one where the ‘buyer’ asks you to ship your horse abroad. They will often offer to pay well over the asking price. They usually ask you to pay the shipping costs into the account of a company they suggest, with the promise that they will pay this back with compensation when the horse arrives. The company is usually fake and once they have the money, you will never hear from them again.
• Be wary of taking payment by cheque. If the seller takes your horse and then the cheque bounces, it can be very difficult to get your horse back. Take payment by cash, bankers draft or bank transfer and if you must take a cheque, make sure it clears before you let the new buyer take your horse.
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