The Better Business Bureau serving Greater Maryland is investigating an online auto dealer that has allegedly scammed people out of tens of thousands of dollars.
Multiple consumers paid Quality Car Guys for vehicles advertised online, then never received their purchase. The company's listed address is in Dundalk, Md.
After the customers sent their payment, contact with the company ceased. No one with the business returned calls or emails.
The BBB has received complaints from five victims, who have lost a combined $65,000. They believe more people may have been scammed.
The BBB first started investigating the company after they received a complaint in December of 2016.
"It appears like all other auto or used car dealership websites with an inventory, a location encouraging you to come and see the inventory. Of course, the location is bogus, it does exist but they're not located there. There is absolutely no inventory there," said Angie Barnett, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Maryland.
Property records indicate that the company is not at their listed address. Quality Car Guys' address, 8200 Fischer Road, Dundalk, Md. 21222, is an industrial warehouse currently up for sale.
The BBB is warning that the company is using deceptive tactics and may appear legitimate. It is believed that the scammer(s) may have prior experience in the industry.
"The website appears to be very legitimate. You have an opportunity to apply for credit on the website that is usual standard protocol for car dealerships, and in so doing, one of the things that alarms BBB, is the fact that if you apply for credit, you put in your social security information," said Barnett.
Aliyu Aruna paid the company more than $40,000 for two cars and never received the vehicles or a refund.
"I was supposed to pretty much wire transfer them 80 percent of the payment. Pending when I received the car, and if I liked the condition then I would send them the remaining 20 percent and they would send me the title," Aruna said.
Aruna started received emails from an online car auction site two years ago. It wasn't until February that he considered looking at the inventory on the Quality Car Guys site. After several months of negotiations, Aruna made the $40,000 transfer in April.
"From Wells Fargo Bank to CitiBank, their bank," said Aruna. "They seemed very legit because I've done this before, this wasn't my first time. I've bought cars like this."
Aruna filed reports with the Federal Trade Commission, FBI, Maryland Attorney General's Office, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, and CitiBank.
The Maryland Attorney General's Office said they have several open complaints against the business.
"It was very stressful. I thank God that I'm over it now. I'm over it in the sense that it's not really choking me, I can still live but it was very, very depressing. I was depressed," Aruna said.
To avoid being duped, Barnett recommends thoroughly researching any business you plan to make a large purchase from.
"I encourage everyone to put the name of the business in your website browser, and simply type in the word 'complaint, reviews, scam,' just type in additional words and the negative information comes up," said Barnett.
Auto dealers in Maryland are also required to obtain licenses from the Motor Vehicle Administration. Quality Car Guys is not registered here.
Quality Car Guys did not respond to ABC2’s requests for comment.