Customers who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Barrackpore foreign-used car dealer are demanding their money back after he failed to deliver their vehicles.
Guardian spoke with at least three customers who have lodged a report at the Fraud Squad.
Ronnell Buckmire, of Port-of-Spain, posted his experience on Facebook after he did not receive his Honda Vezel or a refund for the $44,000 downpayment he made four months ago.
Since then, he said more than 15 people across the country have reached out to him with similar encounters with the dealer.
Buckmire said he was scrolling through Facebook for vehicles when he came across the businessman’s advertisement and the prices were good.
The businessman told him that the car would reach here in eight weeks.
“That was October 6 today is now February 5 and I am still without a vehicle and without my money,” he said.
When his vehicle did not arrive by December, he demanded his money back.
“He later proceeded to drop a bounced cheque into my account,” Buckmire said.
Buckmire then made a report at the Fraud Squad and took to Facebook.
“After I received that bounce cheque from the bank I could not take it anymore I said I have to inform everybody in the world about this man,” he added.
Hemraj Joseph, of Piarco, paid the dealer a $75,000 downpayment for a mini excavator in September.
Joseph said his father bought a car from them two years ago.
He said, “After I made the downpayment we hardly heard from him but I was giving him time because they said the process is three months. But after about two months we kept calling him, sometimes he will not answer the phones, sometimes he will not return the call and when he do return the call he supposed to send us documents, he never sent it.”
When he came across Buckmire’s Facebook post, he demanded a refund. Joseph said he even went by his home.
After getting a run- around from him, Joseph went to the Fraud Squad. He now intends to take legal action.
Sharing a similar experience, a Couva businessman, who wished to remain anonymous, said between October and November, he paid a downpayment totally $115,000 for three vehicles.
“He sounded legit. He knew everything about the importation of cars, any question you ask him about the port, the Ministry of Trade. He knows everything about the industry,” the businessman said.
As the time drew closer to the delivery date for the vehicles, he said the dealer kept making excuses.
But on December 22, the dealer told him the vehicles were on the port. After several excuses, he said the dealer sent him a Bill of Laden for one of the vehicles, but it turned out to be a fake.
“I contacted the supplier in Japan itself and they told me that it is a fake Bill of Laden.”
He said the dealer gave him a Bill of Laden for a vehicle that arrived on the port about three weeks before for a man in Penal. At that point, he also demanded a refund.
The Couva businessman, Buckmire and Joseph complained that since January the dealer has been promising to repay them but every week they hear a different excuse for not being able to give them their refund.
A source at the Fraud Squad confirmed that within the last year they have received several reports against the dealer.
However, they said a few customers have been refunded.
When Guardian Media contacted the dealer on January 26 he claimed that he would have repaid Buckmire and the Couva businessman on January 31 and February 1.
But, the men said the dealer told them he had to wait for a cheque to clear.
When contacted yesterday, he said people are skeptical to lend him money since the customer made a Facebook post about him.
Asked why he was not able to deliver the customers’ vehicles, he said, “I have some issue with somebody I doing business with. I told them that, I mentioned all that to them. I would have gotten their vehicles if he didn’t make that post. And I explained all that to them.”
He complained that people have been threatening him and his family.
Claiming that he owes money to about 11 customers, he insisted that he would repay all of them. He admitted to giving Buckmire a bounced check but he denied that Joseph’s Bill of Laden was false.