A COUPLE who both work for the NHS had their life-long dream to own a motorhome shattered after falling victim to a £14,000 scam.
Paul Harding-Hubbard, 51 and wife Emma, 37, who works as a nurse, remortgaged their house in Lincoln to help pay for the motorhome so they could go on holiday with their three children Marley, Maxwell and Maisie.
When they spotted an advert for £14,000 motorhome on eBay and Paul, who has been a paramedic for 30 years, thought it was too good to be true.
But after checking out the motorhome with the DVLA he contacted the seller.
The seller claimed that she had bought the motorhome two years ago and Paul found the advert, so her story seemed to check out.
He told The Sun: “I did so many checks. I went on the DVLA website. It all seemed real.
“She sounded like a lovely lady. She said she would sell it to us rather than a dealer because we were frontline workers.
“We even bought her flowers because we thought she was doing a lovely thing.”
How to claim money back after an eBay scam
Auction website eBay has a money back guarantee scheme, which promises that if an item hasn't arrived or wasn't as described, you'll get your item or your money back.
But there are some terms and conditions. Here's what you need to do.
1. Contact the seller
You can do this via My eBay, and eBay says that in most cases, sellers will fix the problem straightaway.
You’ll need to contact the seller within 30 days of the actual delivery date, or the estimated delivery date if an item hasn’t arrived.
2. Contact eBay
You'll have to wait eight days before you can contact eBay about your issue if it hasn't resolved.
After that, contact the website's customer service team.
3. Wait for your refund
If you paid using a PayPal account, you should hear back from eBay within 48 hours and get your money back through the scheme.
But the scheme excludes some listings, including: vehicles, real estate, businesses for sale, and digitally delivered goods or service.
If you paid as a guest on PayPal, you also can't use the scheme.
But you will still be covered by PayPal Protection - so you'll have to contact PayPal instead for your refund.
Once Paul had transferred the cash he asked a friend to call the seller to see if she was still selling the motorhome.
Paul's friend confirmed that the seller had told him it had now been sold.
The family drove to Norfolk to pick up the motorhome two days after Paul had finished a night shift.
But when they arrived at the address they'd been given they were told it didn't exist AND that two other victims had also turned up in the past week after falling for the same scam.
He said: “We’re devastated. We’re not rich, we’re just normal people. We don’t have that kind of money.
“I’ve now got to work until I’m 73 to pay off the mortgage.
“All the plans and memories...it’s left us empty.
“I’ve struggled to sleep. Emma has been very tearful. I just keep going over and over what she said."
As Paul paid the seller by bank transfer rather than via PayPal his payment wasn't protected by eBay's buyers guarantee.
Most read in Money
Paul also contacted his bank but they were unable to reclaim the cash.
A friend of the family has set up a JustGiving page to help raise money for the couple.
An eBay spokesperson said: "We’re devastated to hear that Mr and Mrs Harding-Hubbard appear to have been the victims of an elaborate scam.
"We’re shocked that these key workers were knowingly targeted by sophisticated criminals.
"We take cases like this extremely seriously, investing in teams dedicated to fraud, customer service and law enforcement liaison.
"We have already investigated this and taken action on the seller, who is now no longer a registered user.
"We will cooperate with any Action Fraud or law enforcement investigation to try and help bring the perpetrators to justice."
Action Fraud told LinolnshireLive who first reported the story that it is investigating the scam.
We've previously reported on an eBay scam where buyers paid for Nintendo Switches but they failed to ever arrive.
We've also written about how to avoid scams.