Hot Dog Cart Seller on eBay Does Not Deliver, Says BBB

While online purchases of food trucks and mobile vending units have increased over the last year, there are still people and companies that are taking advantage of this trend. More than a dozen consumers have been left out in the cold when they spent thousands to order hot dog carts on eBay and received nothing in return.

The Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia says more than a dozen people have complained since August 2009 about a Barboursville company that goes by two names: “Virginia Hot Dog Cart Company” and “New World Hot Dog Cart. Co. ”

The company allegedly offered two carts on eBay for $1,500 and $4,300, but never delivered them, says Tom Gallagher, president of the local BBB.

One complaint filed in December stated that a buyer sent the seller money through a wire transfer and was told the cart would arrive for approximately a month. The cart never arrived, but a contract did. This contract said the buyer had five days after date of purchase to cancel the order. Unfortunately, since this notice arrived a month late, the buyer had no recourse.

After almost two months of being told that the cart was lost, that there was a new delivery system, that things were crazy because of the holidays AND that the cart would arrive next week, yet still no cart. And the owner refuses to return the money.

Gallagher says the BBB plans to contact state and federal authorities.

If you’re planning to make a big purchase from an online auction, officials usually recommend an escrow service, particularly for items over $500. The service receives the item from the seller before sending the payment.

EBay recommends, and warns consumers of many fraudulent escrow companies, so if a seller suggests another company, investigate that company first.

In addition, avoid paying for online auction purchases via wire transfers, which carry few if any fraud provisions compared to that of credit cards. We hope that none of our readers have run into this type of scam, but if you have, we suggest contacting the BBB as soon as possible.

If you know of any companies that have attempted these types of false business practices, let us know so we can share this information with our readers.