Carrie advertises her caravan for sale for £1,500, cash only. Xavier sees the advert and knocks on Carrie’s door, asking to inspect the caravan. He introduces himself as Youri, owner and operator of ‘Youri’s Caravans’. Carrie has heard of ‘Youri’s Caravans’, which she knows to be a reputable local business. Xavier produces a business card, which has a picture of him on it, under the title ‘Youri Zuki, Owner, Director, Youri’s Caravans’, on one side and the address, phone numbers, email address, and web address of ‘Youri’s Caravans’ on the other side.
After inspecting the caravan, Xavier, still claiming to be Youri, offers to pay the full £1,500 asking price. He informs Carrie that, as it is after 17.00 on a Friday, he will not have sufficient cash available until mid-morning on Monday, because the business will be closed for the weekend and has already deposited all of its cash in the bank. Carrie states that she will happily keep the caravan for Youri until then. Xavier, still pretending to be Youri, states that he is very grateful, but that he really needs to take the caravan away immediately, as he knows of a customer who wants this exact model and who intends to drive over a hundred miles to buy one tomorrow. Carrie reluctantly agrees to accept a cheque for £1,500 from ‘Youri’s Caravans’ and to allow the caravan to be taken away immediately.
When she tries to cash the cheque, Carrie discovers that it has already been cancelled by ‘Youri’s Caravans’, as it had been stolen from them. She informs the police of the scam. The police manage to track down the caravan, which is in the possession of Daniel, who had paid £1,200 for it to Xavier, who was at that time claiming to be Carl, the owner of the caravan.
The police have no idea who Xavier is and cannot track him down. Carrie demands the return of the caravan, but Daniel claims that he is now the true owner of it.
Advise Carrie and Daniel.
a) Would it have made any difference if Xavier had not ever claimed to be anyone other than himself but had not corrected Carrie when it became clear that Carrie believes that Xavier was the owner of ‘Youri’s Caravans’?
b) Would it have made any difference if Carrie and Xavier had never met in person and Xavier had conducted his fraudulent scheme entirely over the internet, uploading scans of forged documents to convince Carrie that he was the owner of ‘Youri’s Caravans’?