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Vehicle scams luring hopeful buyers from far and wide to Roy

Posted at 10:09 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 00:09:16-05

ROY, Utah — Hundreds of potential vehicle buyers have been calling and making in-person visits to numerous local businesses in Roy and West Haven.

For the past four weeks, advertisements on Facebook Marketplace have been scamming potential buyers into believing they can purchase cars, trucks and motorcycles for extremely low prices. The 'seller' has a business named Haven Auto, which used to be located on 1900 West in Roy but moved last year to West Haven.

"They're using our name and our old address from last year and another picture of a dealer and that dealer is down in St. George," said Haven Auto General Manager Thomas Barnett to FOX 13 on Wednesday at the business in West Haven. "I get customers asking for these vehicles and they're not there."

However, it's not just Haven Auto that has been getting hundreds of calls and drop-in visits from hopeful buyers from across the state.

"We've had people drive from Idaho, Wyoming, you know with truck and trailer coming to pick up this deal," said Kirk Dye, owner of Kirk's Car Care on 1900 West in Roy. "It's obviously wasting consumers’ time and they aren't very happy about it and they wonder why we would do that, it's not us, it's someone that's out there somewhere."

Kirk's is just one business on a stretch of road that is being impacted by a false business name and location which has been trying to do online business. Midas Cars LLC is a new car dealership that has been in business since March 2019 and is also in the line of businesses that have been impacted. They have signs posted on their doors due to the foot traffic that read "NOT HAVEN AUTO, HAVE NO INFORMATION ON THE SCAM FACEBOOK PAGE." The owners of Midas Cars LLC declined to speak with FOX 13.

FOX 13 spoke with numerous potential buyers who live in Weber County who noticed that despite having a local address, the 'seller' wanted to do business online instead.

"Their pictures on their listings of the dealership just don't look like Utah," said Jason Jones of Ogden who wanted to buy a rare truck he saw for sale on Facebook Marketplace. "As soon as they said eBay I knew it was a scam."

Jones said that the buyer used an email to outline a story regarding a sick family member and that they moved to St. Louis, Missouri with the vehicle. They told Jones (and many other buyers with the same copy and pasted email) that they'd like to continue with the transaction over eBay motors. At that point, Jones stopped trying to buy the vehicle.

"Any time you can't see the car in person or get personalized pictures, you know usually that's suspect," he said.

As for the local businesses in Roy, they're still getting battered with in-person visitors hoping to catch a 'steal' of a deal on cars that don't exist on the car lot.

"No one here stands to gain from this," said Kirk Dye, who thinks Facebook Marketplace is somewhat to blame. "(I've been) marking them as scams, I've even gone as far as marking them as harmful intent, drug sales, whatever to try to get Facebook to draw some attention this that it's a scam."

FOX 13 reached out to Facebook directly and didn't get a response.

Midas Car LLC told FOX 13 they reached out to Roy Police Department roughly two weeks ago to try and file a report. Roy Police told FOX 13 on Wednesday that they weren't aware of the scam going on.