Wine scams and advance fee frauds Bordeaux and EFW

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2015-02-10


It’s become apparent over the last few weeks and months that consumers who’ve already been taken advantage of by companies like European Fine Wines (EFW) are being targeted yet again with advance fee frauds and ‘White Knight’ scams.

What’s more, the cold-callers approaching those people who had previously bought from EFW seem to know an awful lot about their prior purchases. We can only presume that the EFW customer base was filched and passed around the London and Bromley wine underworld?

One of our members was approached recently by Rothstein Capital & Partners, who purported to be working in partnership with the receivers of EFW to assist former clients in recovering losses.

On that basis they offered to find buyers for her stock. The prices quoted were well ahead of market levels, for example £14k for her case of 2003 Latour (actual market price £6,500).

They then advised that the case of Latour 2003 she had received in 2013 had been misallocated, and that 'her' case was still held at the Chateau. She was told that she could not sell the case of Latour in her possession, as it did not bear her ‘log number’. She was told that her case needed to be exchanged for the correct case before they could proceed to sell it, and offered to arrange shipping of the 'correct' case from Bordeaux, provided she cover the insurance costs associated with shipping, which would cost £1,000 up front.

As reported in Jim Budd’s excellent resource on wine fraud, Investdrinks Blog, The liquidator, Nedim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding Limited, was understandably scathing of this advance fee fraud and according to Jim Budd of Investdrinks has reported Rothstein Capital to the police.

This isn't an isolated instance reported to us: another member was approached with a similar proposal, requesting that she pay for shipping fees plus a commission fee of £1,500 to get her wine to Hong Kong where it would sell at a premium.

EFW ex-customers are not alone in being targeted.

An elderly gentleman who had bought from Bordeaux Fine Wines previously, was contacted before Christmas with an offer to place wines for sale at auction in Hong Kong, again on the proviso that he pay £2,000 for shipping (and insurance). He was informed by the cold-caller – going by the name of Jay Kingsley - that his case of Montrose 2009 for which he’d paid £3K (at a time when it was worth no more than £1,500) would fetch £7,000 in Hong Kong due to heightened demand ahead of the Chinese New Year.

If you’ve bought from EFW or other cold callers from so-called wine investment companies, watch out for these scams, demand to know how the cold-caller got your information, and do not be taken in. Collect as much information as you can about the caller and their contact details, and report them to Jim Budd. Check the value of your wines on the Wine Owners website, and do let us know.

The bottom line is: if it sounds too good to be true, it will almost certainly be a scam.


Buying from reputable fine wine merchants & brokers

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2012-03-05


Check out Jim Budd's excellent blog and site, who has been leading the good fight against disreputable and financially risky traders for many years.

The message is loud and clear when looking to invest in wine:

  • Stick to established sources, especially when buying futures
  • Use pricing tools such as Wine Searcher to establish fair market value based on a known range of selling prices if in any doubt
  • Report suspicious cold calls and hard selling to Jim.

I've met intelligent people who have invested in wine futures and lost considerable amounts of money. Basic checks and following Jim's advice is as good a way as any to ensure many, many years of happy drinking and fine wine appreciation.


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