eBay Archive Blog

eBay Seller TopsAndWheels Defrauded Used Car Buyers

eBay Used Car Seller TopsAndWheels AKA Tropical Automotive, operated by Lisandra Gutierrez, listed as the business owner, and her husband, Anthony Zafarino, face multiple fraud and grand theft charges, including aggravated white collar crime.

eBay Seller TopsAndWheels Defrauded Used Car Buyers

Lisandra Gutierrez and Anthony Zafarino, face multiple fraud and grand theft charges for defrauding vehicle buyers and their lenders.

The couple is accused of raking in approximately $300,000 from lenders, a partnering car dealer and unsuspecting car buyers across the country looking for an online deal.

As investigators delved into the case last summer, they noted 33 complaints against Tropical Automotive logged with the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. Fleeced buyers came from states such as Ohio, Virginia, Massachusetts, Oregon, California, Texas, Indiana and Alabama, authorities said. The couple showed “a callous disregard” for customers, Stephenson said.

In one case, an Oregon buyer was sold a 2014 Mercedes Benz belonging to someone in Atlanta who never offered the car for sale, detectives said. The $69,000 transaction was never refunded, an arrest warrant said.

Benton, who purchased the Camaro on eBay Motors in July, said the car was meant to just be a toy he would enjoy before losing his mobility. It reminded him of healthier, youthful years that he wanted to relive, however briefly.

He put a $500 deposit on his credit card and wired the rest of the $9,169 purchase price. But before the Camaro was shipped to his Ohio home, the transporting company informed Benton there was trouble with the title and that the car’s odometer had been tinkered with. He canceled the sale and asked for a refund, but he was never repaid after multiple attempts to reach the company and later threatening to contact authorities, Benton said.

“A legitimate business would have used that opportunity to reach out to the customer and get things right in a hurry, but they went silent,” he said. “I knew there was trouble.” More details are here on sun-sentinal.com.

The quoted partial article above was published on 06/15/16. But we also found this WordPress website “mybaddealfromtropicalautomotive” that has been up since at least 2014. This is an indication that law enforcement and Florida DMV have been investigating Lisandra Gutierrez and Anthony Zafarino, and possibly other individuals in south east Florida for some time gathering evidence.

This situation appears to us that, Lisandra Gutierrez and Anthony Zafarino were living large and it caught up with them. Their alleged eBay Motors feedback was mostly good for some time. Living large then going out of trust can snowball to an avalanche of trouble that damages everyone involved, and can end up with prison time for the accused.

It’s important to remember when buying or selling automobiles online not to trust in what an advertisement claims. Do not believe what the buyer / seller is saying when dealing in big ticket items such as motor vehicles.

Craigslist attracts fraudsters because it’s loosely managed and free. And this is not intended to be a shot at eBay, but simply put, the venue only sells advertising space on it’s website. Vehicle Sellers are not ID Verified, so it’s once strong trust in trading partners and community values is not like it was years ago. eBay Motors is really nothing more than a classified website, like auto trader, cars, etc.

When buying a car online do your homework FIRST! Verify the seller has clear title for the car. Verify seller is the registered owner (if buying from private party seller), and the VIN on the title matches the cars VIN Plate. It’s a tough internet out there, fraudsters lie waiting on the road ahead to steal your money! And most important, have the car inspected! If you do not have the vehicle inspected before finalizing the deal, you might not be happy with what you receive.

Be sure to read our popular article internet car buying and selling tips. The ASS you save might just be your own!

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FidoSysop
FidoSysop
Retired Auto Dealer and former eBay Motors Seller.

Always verify the ads legitimacy and have the vehicle Inspected FIRST before buying. Otherwise you could Loose Your Money or end up with a Severely Misrepresented POS!

Read my Internet car buying tips article while you're here (link above)

4 Comments

  1. Charles Fitch

    I recently heard that eBay is guilty of “Back Dating” stock options. If this is true, many people at eBay will go to jail. Back Dating is when false info on form 10k is filed to the SEC disclosing the amount of back dated stock options given to employees.

    Reply
    1. FidoSysop

      What does securities manipulation have to do with bad seller fraud?

      Reply
  2. William

    I own this car on 6/4/2015. Called eBay before purchasing cuz I felt a little worried about some of the emails I got after purchasing for topsandwheels. I was told that, “Don’t worry about it, just pay them we got you covered. If it comes there and is not as advertised then we will take care of it.” HAHAHA. Well it got here and the car was the biggest pile of crap ever. The transmission was out, the power steering was out, and many other things. I called the owner, they said that they will take care of it. 2 weeks later nothing. Call eBay and they said “well, there’s nothing they can do because it’s over 10 yrs old.” I should have had a mechanic check it out, like it’s my fault the seller is a crook. Just called today because the seller STILL hasn’t paid to get the car fixed and refuses to answer the phone. So I looked him up on the internet and he has an F rating with the BBB but eBay won’t do a thing to stop him.

    Reply
    1. FidoSysop

      The Old saying caveat emptor comes to mind here. eBay is in the business of selling advertising on their venue. Possibly the trust and community values could be restored, but I doubt they care.
      Do your homework before purchasing a car online. Have it inspected and verify it’s title is clear with no liens and the vin matches.

      Reply

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