Saturday, 12 August 2017

Family heartbroken after caravan holiday they booked turned out to be online ad scam (7 Pics)

Siobhan Finney, 20 was left heartbroken by the scam
A family has been left heartbroken after they were scammed by a brazen fraudster who advertised a show home as a holiday let.
Siobhan Finney, her fiancé and two stepchildren, were looking forward to a seven-night stay in North Wales after booking through an advert on online ad site Shpock.
But when the family got to the Tymawr Caravan Park in Towyn they were told the caravan was an ex-show room static that had been there until the week before.
Siobhan said she thought the fraudster - posting as by Emily J from Fazakerley, Liverpool, - must have gone inside and taken pictures of it then advertised it as her own.

he told the Liverpool Echo: “We are heartbroken to be honest and very, very upset.
“I promised my stepsons a holiday and they were really, really looking forward to it.
“I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
The advert caught the eye of Siobhan and after contacting the woman they began sending messages through WhatsApp.
The advert read: “Eight birth static caravan to hire in Tymawr Caravan Park North Wales.“
It added: “I have a lot of dates available just message me for details if you are interested.”
It is not clear if “Emily J” was acting under a fake name.
In the messages Siobhan was given directions to the caravan, a list of activities that the family could enjoy and also bank details to pay for the booking.
At one point the mum queried why there was a ‘for sale’ sign in the window of the caravan in one of the advertised pictures, but she was told the caravan had once been for sale but she had changed her mind.
Siobhan replied to the message and said: “Fair enough hun was just asking because you know yourself there are a lot of scams going around about statics and I just wanted to be 100%.”
After this Siobhan transferred the agreed £150 for the holiday and ‘Emily’ confirmed she had it but this was the last she heard from her.
The 20-year-old said: “I paid her out of the last of my wages to give my family a good holiday and everything seemed legit.
“It looked lovely and I also knew the area and me and my partner had bought things from Schpock before and always found it very useful.
“She replied to say it was available and it was £250 but when my payday came around I had been underpaid and explained to her.
“She stated that because we had already been booked in she would do it for £150, because she didn’t want to let my stepsons down and she wanted us to come and enjoy ourselves.
“Obviously we were made up and she went on to explain what facilities were at the site and that she would be there between 9am and 3pm to greet us, so I transferred the money.
“However the night before we were due to go, I messaged her after we had finished packing up the car to tell her what time we would be down, but my number had been blocked.
“I tried to phone the number off my partner’s phone and off my house phone and but none of the calls were going through.”
The family decided to still make the trip to Tymawr but said when they arrived the caravan was “nothing like the pictures” and empty inside.
She said: “We asked to speak to the manager and I showed her pictures of the advertisement.
“She stated that the caravan was an ex-show room static caravan that had been on the show ground up until the week before.
“So this person must have gone inside and took pictures of it and was now advertising it as her own.
“She said that it would cost a lot more to put us up for a week than what we had paid and that there was nothing more they could do.”
The family have since contacted their bank’s fraud team but are yet to be refunded.
She has also contacted police and Trading Standards.
The advert on Shpock has also been taken down after the family contacted the site.
A spokesman for Ty Mawr Holiday Park said: “We have been made aware of this suspected fraudulent booking scam and would always recommend that anyone looking to book a holiday does so directly with the holiday park operator, or via a bona fide agent to ensure their booking is secure.”

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