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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 27454
Experience:  18+ years of NYS litigation experience.
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I am about to make a purchase of a collector Maserati car

Customer Question

I am about to make a purchase of a collector Maserati car from a company [760 E. Francis Street Ontario, CA 91761 Phone 1-***-***-****]
He also has a business on ebay under svauto
I would like to confirm that this business is legitimate
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.


I've come up with some conflicting information here. The owner registrant of the website does check out, which is good news. His contact information is correct. The site WHOIS also indicates that the domain name was created in 1997 which is also a very good sign. You can see this for yourself by going to and running the whois.

I'm disturbed, however, by the fact that I find no such California company as AV Automotive Engineering on the register of the California Secretary of State. where I would expect it to be for tax purposes. And, for what it's worth, Google Maps shows that 760 E. Francis Street is an auto repair shop named New Era, with a phone number entirely different from SV Auto's. I have blown it up and am attaching it Google captured the image on March 2014.

There is a great deal of scam in this area, both on and off of eBay, and there's a lot of money involved here. There are companies called SV auto that were at one time registered with the California Secretary of state, but they have expired from the register or been suspended and are no longer active businesses.

Given the amount of money involved here, you might want to contract with a local mechanic to inspect this car in their shop before you purchase it. If SV tries to talk you out of something like that, then I'd be leery of the deal.

Just for your information, here's how the typical car scam goes:

You see a desirable vehicle in an online advertisement, site or eBay auction. The cost is way below its book value. The seller is typically either out of your area of the country or advertising it from abroad. He can't let you see and inspect the item, nor will he allow for an agent of yours to come see it on your behalf. Whatever the excuse, there is no possible way you or your agent can come and inspect what you are looking to buy before you will have to pay for it.

But don't worry, he assures you. The car is just great and you will be able to have 5 days (or so) to inspect it during which time you can send it back. Meanwhile, your money will be held by eBay Buyer Protection or Amazon Payments or PayPal , while you look it over. If you decide to get the car, he tells you that eBay will release your money to the seller. He may even "throw in" the cost of shipping and insurance, to sweeten the deal because he is in such a hurry.

You'll get an email or call from "eBay" providing you with payment instructions. That will usually involve a wire transfer using Western Union or MoneyGram, payment to go to the so-called eBay agent. Then you sit back to wait for your car. By the time you figure out that it's never going to arrive, your "seller"and the "eBay agent" have disappeared without a trace and your money along with him. You try to find him, but none of the information you got turns out to be true.

The real eBay (or PayPal, or Google Wallet) never acts as an escrow service to hold goods or money for any buyer or seller. eBay protection extends only to what goods you actually purchased in an eBay auction or fixed price listing.