There are an increasing number of container supply scams that are taking place in the UK.
Unfortunately, people are falling victim to these scams as the scammers are impersonating legitimate container suppliers. Even S Jones Containers’ quotes are being ripped off and used as templates for scams on internet selling and auction sites.
There is not much we can do to stop these scammers, but we can advise you how best to avoid these scams, and remind you to always be aware of the risk.
Spotting a Container Scam
As mentioned above, many scams will try to spoof an existing supplier’s identity. It’s very common for the scammers to use an existing, legitimate company name, or a very similar sounding one.
They then set up a sale of a fictional container on websites such as Gumtree, Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
Once a customer makes contact, the scammers will provide a spoof quote as mentioned above. These include incorrect contact details, like phone numbers and email addresses, for you to contact (these details will very likely stop working once the transaction has gone through).
The customer doesn’t realise it’s a scam, makes payment to the fake company and then waits patiently for the container to arrive – which it never will.
A Scam Story
James has been asked by his boss to arrange the purchase of a shipping container to store some surplus stock his company has no space for currently. They also think a container will be useful to have around, so decide to buy one.
Wanting to do the best for his company, James sets out to find the best prices for containers. He looks at a couple of supplier web sites, but there are no prices published there, and he speaks to a couple of sales people to obtain quotes.
He then checks out a couple of auction web sites to see what is on there and, lo and behold, containers are being sold directly off those sites too! Not only that, but they are just a bit cheaper than he is being quoted directly.
Not wanting to feel like he’s been ripped off by going to a big company, James contacts the online auction seller and asks for a quote. This duly arrives and looks above board, so he places the order.
As with industry practice, the supplier wants payment up front, so James uses the company credit card to pay for the container and delivery.
James has made all of the arrangements on site to ensure the delivery vehicle can get in, as advised by the very helpful sales person he spoke to, and everyone is looking forwards to the container arriving so the extra stock can be moved out of everyone’s way.
Except the container does not arrive when expected…
James jumps onto the phone to see what is going on, only to be met with an ‘out of service’ message at the other end of the phone.
Curious, he looks at his quote from ‘S Jones Containers’, sees the phone number he has been using is a mobile phone number, not a main line, so he fires up his web browser to get the main number.
Having done that, he calls through to our diligent sales team to ask for the person he has been speaking to. We don’t know who that is… He then asks about the invoice we have sent. Except it wasn’t from us.
He then demands to know where his container is and when it is going to be delivered. We say we know nothing about it and, by the looks of it, he and his company have been scammed.
It could happen to you – except you have read this and, if you read the below ways to avoid the above, you will end up with the container you were expecting!
Tips To Avoid Potential Scammers
Contact Us Directly
Firstly – contact the company you believe you are buying from directly through their published web site and web forms. The UK container trade industry is relatively small and close knit. Because of this, we have a very good awareness of who else is in the industry. With this in mind, they are also likely to be able to identify a fake company.
If you need to contact S Jones and are not sure about using the ‘0800’ phone number at the top of the page, then our main phone number is at the bottom of the page (and it is 01922 741 751). Ask to be put through to the sales team.
The only email addresses we use are ‘@sjonescontainers.co.uk’. Make sure you check for spelling mistakes – even if there is only one change in that address it is a completely different ‘URL’ and NOT us!
To ensure you are dealing with our legitimate sales team, please see our details below:
- General Sales Enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sarah Green – Sarah.Green@sjonescontainers.co.uk
- Halina Witek – Halina.Witek@sjonescontainers.co.uk
- Rachel Haycox – Rachel.Haycox@sjonescontainers.co.uk
- Charlotte Rainey – Charlotte.Rainey@sjonescontainers.co.uk
- Leanne Pallett – Leanne.Pallett@sjonescontainers.co.uk
- Christine Taylor – Christine.Taylor@sjonescontainers.co.uk
- Marie Jarvis – Marie.Jarvis@sjonescontainers.co.uk
We are aware of a number of scammers, who go by the following names and details. Please do not correspond with these people, or make payments to them – they do not represent S Jones Containers Ltd:
- Michael Bradbury email@example.com
- Samantha Brightly firstname.lastname@example.org
- Renard Lebron email@example.com
Is The Price Too Good To Be True?
There are many factors that contribute to container price. It’s no secret that containers are currently very high in price. If the price seems too good to be true, it very likely is. Don’t take short cuts. We are a respectable industry charging fair prices for the goods and services we supply.
Be cautious with making a large payment immediately. For example, at S Jones, we often offer customers the opportunity to pay us £1.00 before paying for the rest of the container, so that we can both be sure the payment is going to the right place.
Once we are sure, the remainder of the payment amount can be made to the same account, which will be ours.
Sellers offering free delivery are often illegitimate too as container haulage has to be individually quoted depending on your location.
Google The Company Details
Scammers will often send invoices with what appears to be legitimate details. A tell-tale sign of a scam includes contact details that don’t bring up the same company name on Google.
Search the contact details on your invoice to check they match with where you’re buying from. You can also use the gov.uk website free of charge to check basic information about a company.
Check Their Online Presence
Bear in mind that scams can be sophisticated, so just because the company has a good-looking website it might not mean they are legitimate. Check to see if there is a registered company name, company registration number, and VAT number on their websites.
Many scammers will have a limited online presence, be this social media or their website. Also check review websites and see what results appear. No reviews, or all perfect 5-star reviews within a couple of days, can be a warning sign.
Still Unsure? Get In Touch
If you ever receive an invoice or quote from someone claiming to be S Jones Containers, call us as soon as possible and we’ll be able to give you peace of mind about your quote.
You can find out more about doing business with us, and how make sure you’re working directly with us, by visiting our Doing Business With S Jones Containers page. There you can find an up-to-date list of our account managers and our contact details so you can get in touch to confirm your quote is legitimate.