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TAMA warns of online tractor scams

TAMA warns of online tractor scams

30 November 2015

Tractor and Machinery Association urges caution when buying farm machinery directly from overseas Kiwi farmers need to be cautious when purchasing farm machinery directly from overseas vendors, warns the Tractor and Machinery Association of New Zealand (TAMA).

TAMA President Mark Hamilton-Manns said the organisation was aware of a number of incidents, including a South Island farmer who paid a deposit and transport costs for a tractor advertised online, only to find the listing was a scam.

Some who received their purchases also encountered problems, including one facing a $20,000 bill for cleaning a second-hand mower, imported from Europe. The vendor claimed to have cleaned it but biosecurity inspectors found foreign matter in the machines.

“There have been numerous reports of online scams regarding tractors and farm machinery internationally and there has been at least one case of a New Zealand farmer being defrauded in this way,” said Mr Hamilton-Manns.

“He saw a second-hand tractor he liked online, checked out the website of the company listed as selling it and rang the phone number provided in the advert.

“Everything seemed all right, so he paid a 30 per cent deposit plus transport costs. Then the ‘vendor’ asked for additional transport costs. The buyer contacted the company named in the advert and found a fraudster had created a fake advert using the details of the genuine company and the machine they had previously sold. Only the phone number listed was that of the fraudster.

“It’s not just scams which are the problem. One farmer dealt directly with an overseas dealer to buy a new baler wrapper which then broke down. The buyer’s local farm machinery dealer had replacement parts but the warranty wasn’t validated in New Zealand. The parts had to be shipped from the original dealer – leaving the machine out of action for quite some time.”

TAMA Board Member John Tulloch said other problems farmers had encountered included machinery with different specifications to those normally used in New Zealand – such as different numbers of knives on a forage harvester or mowers running at incompatible

speeds. Parts for those models may not be immediately available here.

“When you buy a tractor or farm machinery through an accredited dealer in New Zealand, they are trained to fully set up the machine and walk the customer through every step of the process,” said Mr Tulloch.

“There are so many factors involved with putting a machine on a tractor. For instance, arm heights – if you don’t get that right it will not allow a mower to ‘float’. Or setting the PTO shaft so you don’t get vibration down the drive line. When you buy second hand from offshore the vendor isn’t there to demonstrate how to use it – often you don’t even get the manual.

“You need to check very carefully that you’re dealing with a genuine and reputable dealer. Find out if the warranty will be validated in New Zealand and what back-up it provides, look into the compatibility of machinery and availability of parts and make sure you are getting the operating book.

“You also need to be absolutely confident a second hand purchase has been cleaned properly. If it gets stopped in biosecurity and needs to be waterblasted there is a risk of water getting into the sensor. All those costs of cleaning and repairs go to the purchaser importing it. Rather than saving money, you could end up tens of thousands out of pocket.”


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