TENT giant Vango has warned customers of a series of fake websites purporting to sell Vango gear at discount prices, only for buyers to end up receiving nothing or entirely unrelated items.
The scam has been operating for a number of weeks and has seen a swathe of disappointed bargain-hunters receiving bizarre items such as counterfeit Burberry scarves, ‘Gucci’ necklaces and fake Cartier jewellery.
Shoppers were duped by the websites’ close resemblance to the official Vango website, and even a similar URL.
One victim – mother-of-two Kayla Jane from Halifax – was preparing to take her children on one of their first camping trips as a family after buying all the gear they needed, except for a tent. Kayla spotted the perfect tent – a Vango Tailgate AirHub with a massive discount from £509 to just £68.
Believing she’d landed a bargain, Kayla didn’t realised she’d been scammed by a fake site until a counterfeit Burberry scarf arrived instead of the tailgate awning.
Kayla is now preparing to contact her bank after not receiving a reply from the email address on the bogus site.
“I’ve heard nothing, but I’m not surprised though,” she said.
“My children are upset as we have all the gear but now no tent that we’ve been waiting a month to arrive and are now on the count down for our second camping trip. If it’s too good to be true, it generally isn’t – lesson learned!”
Sadly, Kayla’s experience isn’t isolated. Dozens, if not hundreds, of other shoppers have been duped in a similar fashion.
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Keen camper Gareth Andrews from near Hay-on-Wye was also taken in by what he thought was a summer sale of Vango gear.
“I honestly thought I’d stumbled across a real bargain, and it was some kind of flash sale, so I jumped on an eighty quid family tent that had been reduced from nearly £500,” he explained.
“I was in a rush, and not paying full attention, and just didn’t think anything more of it.”
Three weeks later, a tracked package arrived from the phoney supplier.
“I looked at it on the doorstep – it was about the size of an iPhone – and I just thought there was no way a six-person tent was in that envelope,” he said.
“I ripped it open, and then just sat on the bottom of the stairs and sighed when I realised I’d obviously been scammed.”
Instead of a Vango Keswick II 600, Gareth was left clutching a bad forgery of a Gucci necklace.
It’s a scene that appears to have been repeated across the UK.
Response from Vango
Vango say they are aware of the scam, and urge customers to ensure they are using the official Vango website.
“We have been made aware of various scam sites and fake profiles popping up across the internet,” a spokesperson said.
“We have reported it already and are working hard behind the scenes to have these sites removed and have also posted on all our social media platforms letting people know not to use this [fake] site.”