BBB warns of fake auto dealer, escrow shipping scam

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific alerted consumers Wednesday of a fraudulent auto sales and shipping website claiming to have BBB accreditation.

An investigation performed by BBB NW+P revealed that www.sapaautosales.com, a website allegedly operating out of Portland, Oregon, has been using a counterfeit BBB business profile to deceive online shoppers. The falsified profile allowed consumers to both submit and review complaints.

A second counterfeit profile was also discovered for a company called SEB Freight.

BBB NW+P’s investigation was initiated after a Hawaii-based consumer clicked a fake BBB Accreditation Seal on the auto company’s website. That seal then directed the consumer to a seemingly legitimate BBB business profile that operated using the URL www.bbb-accredited-businesses.com.

Consumers should be aware that all BBB-sanctioned business profiles are located at www.bbb.org. Users directed to any other website are asked to contact their local Better Business Bureau immediately.

BBB encourages consumers interested in using an online auto shipping and escrow business to follow these tips:

  • Start with trust. Visit www.bbb.org to view the business’ profile and read consumer reviews. Also, lean on advice and recommendations from friends who may have experience with a particular company.
  • Do your homework before you buy. Check the company’s website for a physical address and phone number. Call and talk to the merchant before buying.
  • Keep your documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email until you receive your item. Be sure to know and understand the company’s return policy and keep any necessary documents with your purchase records.
  • Ask about the company’s refund policy. Find out if the company will refund your purchase price or issue a credit if there are problems with the goods or services you have purchased.

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