Rogue car and parts dealers face a clampdown after a new law is passed to prevent them advertising on-line.
In future, search engines and social media platforms face fines of up to £18 M or up to 10% of their global revenue if they fail to remove the fraudsters’ content once identified.
Britain’s Consumers Association has been in the forefront of fighting fraudsters and Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said, “The Online Safety Bill passing its final hurdle in parliament is a very significant moment.
‘Which? led the campaign for consumers to have stronger protections against potentially devastating scam adverts on social media platforms and search engines. These new laws should make a big difference by putting the onus on tech firms to stop them from appearing in the first place.
‘The tech giants need to get their houses in order ahead of these new laws coming into force, while Ofcom must hold platforms to a high standard and stand ready to take enforcement action, including fines, against firms that fail to meet those standards.”
Car buyers have been caught out by fraudsters advertising cars which don’t exist from bogus premises, often using the real name of a legitimate business and copying images from genine sellers, and the motorists are then lured into giving them money but, of course, never see the vehicle or their money again. Advice given by fraud watchers is that if a deal looks too good to be true it probably is a scam.
If you’ve shared personal details with someone who you think could be a scammer, change any relevant passwords and report the scam attempt to Action Fraud, or the Police on 101 if you live in Scotland. If you’ve shared financial details with a scammer, contact your bank immediately.
Suspicious emails can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org, and scam websites can be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre online.
The CA is also concerned at the rising number of policy-holders complaints as premiums hit a new high.
“At a time when the cost of some types of insurance are at record highs, it’s extremely concerning to see an increase in complaints made to, and uphold rates in favour of the consumer by, the Financial Ombudsman Service.
“Buying car insurance is a legal requirement for motorists, yet Which? research has found that customers are not only having to chase their provider over claims, but over three quarters of car insurance customers reported they were not given an explanation by their insurer for rejected, partially accepted or disputed claims.
“While the Financial Conduct Authority’s new Consumer Duty should help to make firms raise their game when it comes to providing adequate customer service, with easy to understand terms and conditions, insurers have been subject to higher standards for almost two years now. That some are struggling to provide appropriate support to their customers is worrying – and the regulator must be ready to take tough action against companies falling below the required standards.”