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The Hangar 247 team puts significant effort into ensuring that all for sale listings are genuine and not the basis of a scam or fraudulent/malicious intent – hence every listing is moderated by our team.
If you think you are making enquiry with a suspicious advert / seller on Hangar247 please immediately bring it to our attention email@example.com
Our director and co-founder, Justin Sollitt, has spent close to 20 years operating internationally as an aircraft broker/dealer and he shares with all Hangar 247 customers his experience in what to look out for so you avoid falling victim to a scam or fraud. Over this length of time orchestrating aircraft and helicopter deals in over 30 countries Justin has seen it all and heard it all - below he shares his experience:
"Aircraft and helicopter trading is among the worlds largest targets for scams because fundamentally:
1. The transactions are often international and can be legitimately in any country.
2. The money involved in a single transaction is nearly always significant.
3. Unlike say a land or property sale normally orchestrated under a Land & Property Act, aviation transactions are completely unregulated."
Also refer to HELP FOR BUYERS
1. Always trust your intuition and apply common sense. If you feel something is just not right, most likely - it isn’t.
2. Don’t persist with any deal that is tedious or very difficult to get information out of the seller or where clarifying any information is subject to your sending money. "There is a big difference between hard negotiation and a seller being plain evasive or obstructive with trying to force you to send money."
3. Don’t persist with a deal where the other party places you under undue pressure to either complete the sale through fear of missing out on the deal of the decade, or where the deal quickly becomes solely about the money or deposit payment, without any importance placed on the aircraft technically or its compliance.
4. Be wary if you feel the ‘nibbling effect’ creeping in – where requirements that you have met in full to secure information, unilaterally becomes a new set of requirements that usually involves sending money.
5. Don’t send money to someone who only operates via an untraceable email address and no details, or they refuse to provide their full contact details.
6. Don’t send/receive money via Western Union of other such exchange. Use a tier one trading bank, registered escrow service or your lawyer/accountants trust account.
7. Always validate the deal directly with the registered owner / operator displayed on the Civil Aircraft Register. We have never had a sale negotiated through an owner's representative were the owner refuses to at least confirm the agents approval to represent.
8. Always personally sight the aircraft or helicopter prior to committing to the purchase and prior to sending any money to the seller. (refer also pre-purchase inspections)
9. No deal should ever require that the seller requires first paying money to the buyer, prior to the buyer settling the purchase. (Transfer fees, insurances, title searches etc).
10. Be very aware of sales listings that are unreasonably well below the market price with no reasonable explanation.
11. ALWAYS use a written sale and purchase agreement confirming all the sale conditions and taxes - prior to sending any money. The price and sale terms of verbal/handshake agreements can have a nasty habit of unilaterally changing (usually in favour of the seller) once an initial deposit is paid and the buyer is committed.
12. ALWAYS check that you will receive clear title/there are no registered securities prior to settling the purchase.
13. Only release possession against IRREVOCABLE CLEARED FUNDS from the buyer, as confirmed directly by your bank. This includes cashing bank cheques.
14. Always secure all the maintenance logbooks at the same time as possession of the aircraft as logbooks can sometimes later become an extortion tool. (withholding vital maintenance records pending payment of previously undisclosed ‘additional charges or taxes’).
Also refer to HELP FOR BUYERS
"Any scam will most likely become evident at the initial enquiry stage.
Keep in mind that aircraft and helicopters are like boats/yachts or classic/sports cars where purchasing one is normally always a very personal and emotional transaction for the buyer (even for commercial use) and as such will always involve great personal attention to the detail with buyer communications normally being enthusiastic, helpful, responsive and conversational."
So be very wary when:
1. The buyer seems too quick and easy to complete the purchase without any inspection or negotiation and/or they are very vague about what aircraft they actually want and their total focus quickly turns solely to the deposit payment or obtaining your banking details.
"Having been directly involved in the transacting around 1000x aircraft sales ranging from a microlight to a business jet, I have never had a single deal that was as easy as: "Dear Sir, I confirm my wish to purchase this aircraft on your listing X, please provide your bank number immediately to pay you in full and advise where I may uplift the aircraft "
.....in this business no deal in the world ever happens as quickly or as easily as this."
2. Similarly, walk away from pursuing any enquiry with a seller who is unhelpful or where information availability is subject to your paying money. Per 1. in this business any legitimate enquiry will normally see you easily obtain all the necessary details from the other person without you even needing to ask for it.
.....this should not be confused with a sellers requirement to see buyer ‘proof of funds’ prior to an inspection or test flight, which can be a very normal request in weeding out tyre kicking enthusiasts, especially on very expensive or highly collectable aircraft.
3. The initial buyer enquiry is convoluted palaver or is completely over the top, for example:
“Esteemed Best Greetings, Dear Friend on this glorious day, let me present a proposition of great mutual benefit to us both under decree from his Excellency X, representing Ministry of Aviation”....
.......no bona-fide aviator/buyer anywhere in the world, from any culture, uses this type of language.
4. When talking on the phone beware of heavy/foreign accents that do not naturally match the persons name. Whilst speaking by phone is not always absolutely necessary to close a deal – be very wary when the buyer simply refuses to talk on the phone or skype if this would clearly make things easier.
5. Communication received from a buyer (or seller) is via an email address baring no relation to the company/broker that they purport to represent. Always check any email address with bona-fide sources such as the company’s website domain, or by phoning their office directly.
.....It is very easy these days to impersonate a legitimate company’s domain/email address by just creating a new one with the subtle insertion of a full stop or a hyphen.
6. Many scammers these days phone using a VOIP telephone number starting with +44 so that the call appears to be originating from the UK, but instead are are just routed through the UK and are actually originating from elsewhere, commonly from African or Asian countries.
If you think you are making enquiry with a suspicious advert/seller on Hangar 247 please immediately bring it to our attention firstname.lastname@example.org