Not All People Are Nice. Trust Who You’re Buying From.
eBay Classifieds in the UK will not protect you.
NatWest Bank will not protect your funds.
When Bishop+Rook got into the “business” side of importing vintage Land Rover Defenders from the UK to the US, we knew it wasn’t always going to be possible to buy 100% of our vehicles face-to-face. While that has always been our goal, the realities of life and the expenses of flying to the UK (or rest of the world) each time we find an export eligible Defender to inspect, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Even after all of our due diligence, we sometimes end up in situations that don’t end up with a happy ending. We’re sharing this story to give you all insight into the process, as well as caution many of you who think buying a Defender in the UK and importing it will be an easy process. Unfortunately, it’s not, even for the professionals (which we have become very good at it).
NOTE: We checked the guy out. Had several phone and video calls with him before we completed the transaction. He just turned out to be an ass. So, for the armchair commenters, we know … don’t rub it in.
The Art of the Scam vs. The Deadbeat
We’re planning to keep this series running and updating it on a frequent bases as we come across various internet scams surrounding the sale of Land Rover Defenders – in the UK and the rest of the world. We already have a good dozen unique scams, but we wanted to start with one that gets deep at the most difficult aspect of our business – guys who lie and conduct themselves in a matter that defies logic.
1. The Story of Jason Hartley – Deadbeat Seller
It’s been nearly 4 (Update – 10 months) months of Jason Hartley going back and forth with us with one story after another on how or why he can’t fix the problem – DELIVER THE DEFENDER OR RETURN OUR MONEY. We’re offering him one last chance with this blog post before we release his name to the world, and ensure every search engine on earth will know his name and the way he conducts himself.
Here’s the simple version of the story:
We saw a posting for a 1990 Land Rover Defender 110 CSW 200 TDi Jason Hartley had posted online (ebay username “2010aahartley“. It was a classifieds ad so we reached out to his phone number (+44 07902 553580) to get more details. He was very responsive and eager to make a deal. We asked for additional photos and a video walk around to see her running. Within a day or two he sent us exactly what we wanted. We arranged payment via wire transfer and the transaction was complete. All we needed was our signed bill of sale, a copy of the V5C (title document), and a time and a place where we could have the vehicle picked up.
Despite our repeated attempts to get the documents, he would always come back with a nonsense email about, “when will you pick up?” We informed him that we needed those documents to book shipment.
After about 2 weeks he sent us a barely legible photo of part of the V5C, still in the previous keeper’s name (owner) and without access to the unique reference number that would have allowed us to get a new V5C in our name. We were patient, but days turned into weeks. Emails would go unanswered.
Once we finally had it we called Jason Hartley and voiced our displeasure in the transaction. He hung up on us. We were more than professional, but it was clear he had no intention to complete the transaction. To be honest, we were quite embarrassed that we had already completed our wire transfer. Day after day we waited, he would reply to 1 out of 10 messages sent — always with an excuse that he would contact us on “the weekend.” Never came.
He claimed the couldn’t find the VIN number and didn’t know where to look for it, despite a long history of flipping and dealing in Defenders (taking photos in front of his property), which we were able to track back to the precise GPS location.
He gave us some of the most creative excuses we could imagine: he was out of the country, in LA, another country, on an oil rig. He said he was never online, despite his WhatsApp clearly showing he was getting our messages. We asked for a time and a date to fix the issue. Nothing. So we began Plan B for dealing with guys like Jason Hartley.
We were able to find out a lot of information about Jason Hartley. A lot. We found out info about his business, his family, his kids, his home, his mom, where he vacationed, what else he sold online (including stuff his wife likely sells), what places he was having dinner and drinks. We tracked it all. We saved it all. We reported it all.
You see, what Jason Hartley did was an international financial crime. But mostly, he made us mad.
Fortunately, there are legal means to solve this problem. They’re not easy, which is why we offered him a chance to solve the issue before it becomes a big deal. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Crime Complain Center (IC3) is a good place for us to start for anyone who experiences someone like Jason Hartley We have an open case which we are holding for now. Hoping that he will man up and fix the problem.
In the meantime, we’re holding on to a lot of messages, photos, and information we’ve gathered. But will likely post it here for the world to learn from. How to spot a deadbeat and how to deal with their kind.
Update About Jason Hartley (June 2019)
We’ve been chatting with the local police about the case and they took a lot of info and were pretty eager to help out. eBay has been useless in protecting it’s members in these types of cases. NatWest, his bank, was sort of responsive, but never did anything. We’ve just changed all the blanked out names on this blog post to include his whole name. Figured there was no reason to protect the guilty.