Cornish teenager scammed out of £8k while trying to buy tractor on eBay

  • Report by Jacquie Bird

A Cornish teenager has had his dreams of owning a tractor dashed by a fraudster who conned him out of £8,400.

Harvey Waters from Hayle comes from a farming family and has wanted to buy his own tractor since he was a small child. The 14-year-old has been saving up to make his dream a reality, even running his own vegetable box delivery scheme alongside his studies.

After searching online, he found an advert on eBay for a John Deere tractor, priced at £8,400.

The tractor advert that hooked Harvey and his parents but turned out to be a scam. Credit: Harvey Waters

After a series of checks, the family transferred the money but then all contact with the seller dried up. The tractor they had promised to deliver never arrived.

Harvey was devastated. He said: "Gutting. To just know that I've been scammed £8,400. The money was gone, no tractor at the end of it.

"My life savings from my Christmas money, my birthday money and my little veg rounds I got just, you know, gone."

Ebay has said it is investigating the seller but advises people to ensure they view any item in person before parting with any money.

One of the photos Harvey was sent of the tractor that never arrived. Credit: Harvey Waters

Harvey and his parents thought they had done all the right things. They did lots of research, asked for more photos and spoke directly to the seller but, because of coronavirus restrictions, they could not go to see the tractor for themselves.

Harvey's mum Rachel Waters said, "Communication was going quite well. They sent a copy of the V5 to us as well. So I thought, well this is pretty genuine.

"Obviously we couldn't go up and look at the tractor because we were in lockdown. But looking back at it now, if we did go up, there would have been nothing to see anyway."

Harvey is still dreaming of getting his own tractor - in the meantime he is helping his father on their smallholding. Credit: ITV West Country

It has been a hard lesson for Harvey and his family - but they are not alone. Citizens Advice and the police say many people have been conned during lockdown.

Last year 10,500 scams were reported in Devon and Cornwall alone - at a cost of £31m.

Thomas Godwin from Citizens Advice said: "We are always hearing about scammers targeting people. Nobody is immune from falling foul of a scammer. Take it from us, we see people from every walk of life, every age group conned out of their details, their money or goods that never arrive."

A fundraising page has been set up by Harvey's mum to try to get his money back and it is already half way to its goal. Any extra will go to support the work of the Cornwall Air Ambulance.

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