Chamber of Commerce warns buyers about used tractor company with Cleveland address
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 9, 2021
CLEVELAND — Inundated with concerned and curious callers, the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce is warning people away from a pre-owned farm and construction equipment company said to be located in Cleveland.
The calls started coming in near the end of February and haven’t stopped.
“We’re getting about a dozen calls per week,” said Rowan County Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Spalding.
The callers, who are phoning in from across the Southeast, have been asking about the validity of an online tractor resale company called B&C Tractor that describes itself on its website as “a well-established privately owned company specializes in the sales of quality pre-owned farm and construction equipment based in Woodleaf, North Carolina, and have been trading since 2011.”
The business has a Cleveland address.
However, Spalding said that the company isn’t registered with the Chamber of Commerce and the address listed on its website is home to a dairy farm.
“One person (who called) said he drove from Nashville to pick up his tractor and ended up at the dairy farm,” Spalding said. “The owner of the dairy farm said ‘Nope, I don’t have any tractors for sale.’”
Not far from the address listed for B&C Tractor is Fallout Shelter Gun Shop. The gun store’s owner, Carlton “Flipper” Harkey, said the store has received its fair share of calls about the alleged tractor retailer as well.
Harkey said that he’s spoken to the people who own the dairy farm nearby and that they are confused why their address is being used.
“They’re just as baffled as we are,” Harkey said. “They’re fine folks.”
Spalding said most of the people who have called the Chamber about B&C Tractor don’t live in the area. Harkey found a similar theme with his callers.
“They’ve called from out of state; they’ve called from up and the mountains,” Harkey said. “Some of them aren’t calling from very close.”
Many of the people who are calling the Chamber of Commerce and Fallout Shelter are farmers who stumbled upon the B&C Tractor website when looking for agricultural equipment. Spalding said that the website’s design is “sophisticated” and that the prices listed appear to be competitive.
One caller who dialed the Chamber of Commerce was poised to purchase a piece of equipment from the website, but decided not to after talking to Spalding.
“He was just about ready to wire the money and just something in the back of his mind told him to double check the business and that’s when he decided to call the local chamber of commerce,” Spalding said. “He was very thankful and appreciative.”
Spalding said the Chamber of Commerce has reported the calls to the Better Business Bureau and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, but without any victims willing to step forward local authorities can only do so much to investigate claims of fraud. Cyber crime authorities have long pointed to shame and embarrassment as one reason why many internet crimes go unreported and culprits are never found.
Spalding said concerns over the legitimacy of online businesses in an unfamiliar area should be a reason why people buy local.
“This is why you should buy local,” Spalding said. “Buy from your local business so you know they’re legitimate and good corporate citizens.”
The Post could not reach B&C Tractor by the number listed on its website, but it received an email reply from the company’s listed sales manager, Scott Wilkins. The email declined an interview and insisted the business is legal. The email did not give any evidence and did not respond further.