12 Jan How to Buy Shipping Containers Without Being Scammed
The past few decades are likely to go down in history as the age of the scam. Just as the internet has created innumerable benefits for the honest citizen, it has also opened up numerous opportunities for those who wish to enrich themselves by preying on the unwary consumer. The banks warn us regularly about the latest schemes to steal our account details, and consumer programmes advise us about the unscrupulous practices of cowboy builders. However, few realise that the extent to which shipping containers sales have become the target of fraudsters has grown in parallel with the increased public interest in these items.
At first glance, one might wonder how this type of scam could work and whether it is not just another conspiracy theory. However, the principle is surprisingly simple. The unwitting buyers are drawn to a website with the promise of substantial discounts and savings where they will find enticing pictures of the stock and glowing testimonials from dozens of satisfied customers. What could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately, everything! The site owners will collect your money but will not deliver your goods. In practice, scams involving shipping containers appeal to the perpetrators because they require little investment but are highly lucrative.
After a few fraudulent but rewarding deals, someone inevitably reports the site, and it will be closed down. However, scammers are seldom caught and will simply set up a new presence with a different company name and appearance. Most will be back online and in business within a week or two. These scams do not only pose a risk to prospective buyers. Fraud also threatens the livelihood of bona fide vendors. So, if you plan to buy shipping containers, what can you do to protect yourself from the growing threat of fraud? Here are three valuable tips:
- Compare Prices: These should not differ much between genuine dealers. Treat anything significantly cheaper as suspicious. It is fair to say
- you can only expect what you are willing to pay for.
- Check for a VAT Number: Only non-profit companies are exempt from paying value-added tax. Given that, the scammers’ only
objective is a massive tax-free profit, so a missing VAT number is a dead giveaway and a sure sign you need to shop somewhere else for your shipping containers.
- Check all Contact Details: Google Maps will reveal the physical location in seconds and provide details, such as email, web address, and landline numbers for you to verify.
These are just a few ideas. Details of fraudulent traders may also be available on dedicated anti-scam websites. However, for South Africans purchasing shipping containers, the safest option is to deal with the established industry leaders – Absolute Containers.