PistonHeads Classified Advert Scam

Don't be parted from your hard earned
Don't be parted from your hard earned
As part of our ongoing investigation into scam advertisers using PistonHeads classifieds to part honest buyers from their hard earned cash, we have been working on ways to block the usual scams that appear on the site.

However, thanks to our readers we are now aware of a new scam that uses the PistonHeads name to lure you into parting with your money, it may be obvious to some that this is a scam, but we wanted to advise you of the latest threat.

One reader responded to an advert for a Renault Clio and received the following reply:

I am selling this car for £2,500 including delivery anywhere in UK.I set at a "very, very low" price to guarantee a sale. The only reason is that I  need cash for a family emergency. I have to tell you that I'm currently out of town with some major problems so pick up/view  isn't an option. If you want to buy this vehicle email me back with your full name and address to start the official procedure trough PistonHeads. They will send you a notification with ALL the info regarding delivery, purchase protection and refund policy so please provide your details before more questions. You will find 90% of answers in that notification from Pistonheads!

Reply to this and you will receive another reply:

Thank you very much. Your details have been noted. Please let me know as soon as you receive the notification from PistonHeads to move forward. The shipping costs are included in the price.Please follow PistonHeads instructions and send me the payment confirmation so I will start shipping asap.

Following this correspondence you will be asked to make payment- the web page you are directed to contains the following paragraphs:

PistonHeads insured this transaction at seller's request.With the new Classified Ad format, a vehicle may be insured at the full price.Buy a vehicle confidently with PistonHeads Motors protection programs.

The payment has to be sent using Money-Gram money transfer. We would like to confirm to you again that our seller, Patrick Mcmanamon is a verified PistonHeads Seller. Your transaction with Patrick Mcmanamon  is covered by Vehicle Purchase Protection and PistonHeads's Fraud Protection Plan  (PistonHeads Safe Harbor) .

The Vehicle Purchase Protection program helps protect your vehicle purchase against fraud and material misrepresentation. After you will send the payment via Money-Gram please contact the Seller at this e-mail address with the payment details:

It goes on to suggest your payment is protected by pistonheads.co.uk- note they do not use the pistonheads.com address.

Finally you will be sent a page entitled 'PistonHeads Purchase Protection Program, with the following words of advice at the end.

PistonHeads Customer Support
Please do not respond to this email with information regarding your case, as it can only be processed through the PistonHeads Customer Consultant website. If you have other questions, please contact us

In addition to this you can verify that the seller is safe, if you do you will receive an e mail suggesting that they are a PistonHeads verified user and all is well. They are not approved, in fact all they are verifying is the fact that they are a scammer.

PistonHeads has notified the relevant authorities and has requested that the website the scammers use be closed down.

In the meantime please be on your guard and be aware that Pistonheads do not offer an approved seller scheme, nor do we offer payment or transaction protection. If in any doubt note that PistonHeads correspondance will only be sent from an e mail address ending @pistonheads.com


    Comments (138) Join the discussion on the forum

    • gti-ted 15 Jan 2008

      Just had this one
      Scammer wrote back
      Hi Mate,
      I-d like to thank you for being interested in my car.The price i will sell it for is the one from the advert but we can discuss it .I'm the first owner of this car and as you can see in the pictures the car is in perfect condition with no technical damages at all, no scratches or dents, no hidden defects.I am not a smoker so the interior of the car is like new.This car will come with 20 Days Return Policy (in this 20 Days you can drive it or go with it at a service and test it) also the car has title of ownership, cleared of any obligations or fees.
      If you are ready to purchase it please get back to me so i can let you know more.
      Hope you will be de second owner of this car !

      I repied and got this
      This is how i propose to do the delivery and payment of the car.This is the best way for a buyer.First of all we will use a delivery company.With Free service because I will pay all taxes.The shipping company is called ExpressDeluxe ( web page : www.express-deluxe.com ).This is a great company.
      These are the steps that we will follow,first i will go with the car at the local ExpressDeluxe office from my town.They will verify the papers of the car to see if the car has any accidents,dameges or if it is stolen.After they do this they will contact you with the Buyer - Seller - Company contract.In this contract you will get all the details on this transaction.They will ask you for a deposite ( 50% from the car`s price ) .This is like a confirmation from the your part that you are a trusted buyer.This way they can make the contract from here on your name and when the car gets there they can validate the contract and you just sign and the car is yours.Of course after you test it,i think you will have 20 days to test it.
      To start this i need this details from your part:

      Full name .

      Full address .

      And contact details ,like phone numbers.

      After i have these details i will go with the car at the ExpressDeluxe office and start the transaction

      I just told him to GET a F%$@in proper job
      Not heard back from him :>(

    • V8 OH NO 15 Jan 2008

      Yep I had the Pistonheads one when enquiring about
      a Dodge Charger

    • scotty_917 15 Jan 2008

      Thanks for the heads-up G.......your zed looked good at the NEC.

    • Dodgey_Rog 15 Jan 2008

      My mate came across this scam but with Autotrader, it was for an Aston Martin. Apparently they are nasty b*stards and shouldn't antagonised, plus if they have your details already, be extremely wary and on your guard. Best to avoid everything that stinks to high heaven.

      Mind you, once this has been rumbles, they'll move on to another way to part people with their cash who think its too good to be true, it usual is.

    • laser avant s2 15 Jan 2008

      Havent been looking to buy recently but a few months back there were loads of e mail contact only ads which were duplicates from elsewhere ie Auto Trader etc that involved the ar5s who placed them e mailing you back saying "Hello my friend the car is with me in Italy as i moved here for work" etc etc notified the admin after i spotted the 2nd ad by the same losser.

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