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Couple left without van after buying Volkswagen T4 online

A Scottish couple have been left devastated after the £5k campervan they had just bought went missing.

June and Alastair Rafique, from Fort William, paid £5,000 for a Volkswagen T4 through a private seller in Crewe last month, only for the courier they hired from a well-known firm to disappear.

The couple have now reported the missing van to police and are warning others of the scam.

June, 49, said: “It’s a disgrace the way we’ve been treated and we want to warn others to be vigilant when using courier companies.

“When you go through a big company, you expect your van to turn up.

“We thought it was 100 per cent safe but it’s been a nightmare.”

Related: Jail for arsonist who set fire to friend’s campervan

June and Alastair, 53, say they found the van on Gumtree and used UK-based firm Shiply, an online marketplace where transport services bid for work, to find a firm to bring it the 350 miles to their home.

They agreed to pay the £300 courier charge and handed over a £99 deposit to Shiply, with the rest to follow on delivery.

They were notified the van had been collected as planned on October 27 but their ETA of 7.20pm passed and the camper was nowhere to be seen.

June said: “The previous owner has been in touch with police and given them a statement.

“They have a description of who it was who collected it but the chances of getting it back are very slim.”

Related: Campervan driver arrested after leaving trail of destruction

The couple insured the van but face losing their cash.

They say the van was registered as a light commercial vehicle as it needed work before it could be used as a camper van but insurers disagreed and told them their claim is void.

A Shiply spokesman said: “Fraudulent transport providers are extremely rare – 99.96 per cent of transactions go ahead without serious issue.”

The courier the couple chose had only been on the site for days and had not built up a user rating.

The firm added that it had processed the return of the Rafiques’ deposit.

The courier could not be reached.

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