A COUPLE were conned out of more than £5,500 while trying to buy a motorhome on eBay.

David Harrison and his wife Christabel had found a Peugeot Boxer Swift Kontiki motorhome on eBay they wanted to buy, which would allow them to travel the UK to see close relatives.

Mr Harrison, a former tank driver, messaged the seller, “Kirsty”, who said she was from Bolton, under the username “Kirstwhittake_0”. She had valued the motorhome at £5,500.

After exchanging messages, the pair agreed on the price and agreed to have the motorhome delivered to Mr Harrison’s home in Darwen, with an extra £100 delivery charge.

Mr Harrison, 65, claimed he contacted eBay to help with payments as he did not feel comfortable using PayPal and had not used eBay before.

The former Warwickshire police officer claims he was sent instructions from eBay on how to transfer the money into the seller’s account.

However eBay denies this took place and it believes the seller had sent him a fake invoice, pretending to be eBay with instructions on how to transfer the sale.

Three days later Mr Harrison contacted customer services and was informed he had been conned and had lost all his money.

Mr Harrison said: “My wife broke down in tears when we found out.

“It’s made us feel really, really sick.

“To think we put trust in a person who had only set out to con us.

“We looked at motorhomes across the UK and found the perfect one in Bolton, really close by.”

Mrs Harrison is registered disabled and suffers with a range of illnesses including multiple sclerosis, diabetes and partial blindness and lives with her husband in a specially adapted bungalow.

Mr Harrison had used a lump sum of his retirement fund to buy the motorhome, which was part of their dream retirement plan.

The motorhome would allow the pair to visit family and friends in Cornwall and Wales.

He said: “I’ve gone to the bank and the police, who put me in touch with Action Fraud.

“But they said this could take some time to retrieve.

“eBay said they were not at fault but I believe they have some responsibility to help me get the money back.

“They helped me with the payments. I put my trust into eBay.”

eBay said motor vehicles and bank transfers are not covered by its money back guarantee policies.

An eBay spokesman said: “We invest significantly in measures to detect and prevent criminal activity.

“Dedicated fraud and counterfeit teams work around the clock alongside law enforcement agencies to block suspicious activity, helping stop fraudulent listings in the first place.

“We also work with the police and other authorities to share intelligence and help bring those who deliberately flout the law to justice, as well as providing extensive advice to buyers to keep them safe.”

“It is so important to remember that any transaction not completed on the eBay platform – including a case where a buyer follows instructions on an email or message and sends money to a bank account – is not an eBay transaction and is not protected.

“When Mr Harrison contacted eBay customer services three days after completing the transaction off site, we immediately took appropriate action on the seller’s account.

“We also advised Mr. Harrison to contact his bank to try and stop the payment, and to report the matter to the police.

“eBay users can contact us for support seven days a week via the eBay resolution centre or our customer service team.”