Troubleshooter: Unhappy campers

March 16, 2011 1:23:07 PM PDT
Janie Dunevant and her husband saved for years so they could spend quality time together in their retirement. They wanted to spend some of that time camping, and decided to by a camper listed on the craigslist website.

"A camper seemed like the most feasible thing to do, for us to have a little vacation now and again, get away from it all, enjoy life a little bit," she recalled. "I was up bright and early, excited, waiting for him to pull in with it."

Dunevant's husband found the camper. It seemed perfect. The price was $4,300.

"He said 'I found us a camper. We can afford it,'" Dunevant recalled.

Dunevant says the seller's story touched her heart.

"He informed me he was trying to sell this camper to help his daughter with her wedding," she said.

Dunevant says the seller gained her trust through friendly emails, which included pictures of what the camper looked like. The seller claimed he was out of town but had left his camper with a company called Online Assistant Trader who would handle the buying and shipping.

"It seemed very legit, very legit. Everything was just perfect. They had all these guarantees," said Dunevant. "They even give you a site that you go on to warn you about scams."

Dunevant said she followed Online Assistant Trader's instructions and wired $4,300 from her bank account to an approved bank in England. She got confirmation that her camper would arrive at her door February 15, but on that day, nothing arrived.

"I mean it was like the ground was took out from under me. I was standing there going, 'Oh my God, all that money, please God please no, no, no, no. It was devastating. Three days I cried. That's all I could do, is cry," said Dunevant.

After losing their money and the hopes of a new camper, Dunevant said she tirelessly tried to contact the craigslist seller and Online Assistant Trader but never got a response. She said she realizes her money is gone and is speaking out so others don't fall for it.

"It hurts, and it hurts bad, and you feel so stupid," she said.

Dunevant said she often hears about how others are taken in, but never thought she'd fall for something similar.

The Online Assistant Trader is no longer available on the web. ABC11 discovered many other complaints from people who claim they had the same experience as the Dunevants. Janie said she's been able to find other websites that offer the same services.

While craigslist can be a useful tool for buying and selling, experts say you should be wary anytime you're asked to wire money - especially to a location outside of the United States. It's also best to only buy things you can physically pick up because there's a risk that something you buy won't be shipped to you.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | See Click Fix
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook

Load Comments