An RV Buying Scam: A Warning for Motorhome Owners Who Want to Sell
I really wanted to SELL my Motorhome
I actually have my RV for sale.
The reason that it's for sale isn't important, really. I'm not getting out of the RV lifestyle, rather I am trying to move down in the size of my RV.
We have a big Rig. A very nice, 42-foot, 4-slide Monaco Camelot, that is loaded with luxury options.
We started out in early Spring on what was going to be a 1 to 5 year run around the country. Our big dream trip.
But you see, as we got onto the road and "lived the lifestyle", it became more and more obvious that our bodies were telling us that we just can't, physically do those many common things required to be a Full-Timer; at least not like we used to.
So after almost a year of traveling (loving every minute by the way, including the pain) we finally accepted the fact that we just could not physically do this full time, anymore..
And with that decision, the next obvious realization was that we didn't need such a large and elaborate Motorhome.
This was especially true if we were going to drop back to shorter trips, in distance as well as in time-on-the-road.
Monaco Camelot - Motorhome
It is a BUY BIGGER and NEWER Industry
And, if you are an experienced RVer, you know that the whole Camper sales industry is designed to get you into a larger and more expensive Rig, rather than dropping back, as we want to do.
They call it "Trading Up!"
I have talked with dealers as we traveled across the country, over the past year, literally, from California to Florida, and each and every one of them wants to "steal" my Motorhome from me.
It is actually shocking at how far they want to discount their offer on a Motorhime, if you want to either "Trade Down" or OMG, outright Sell your Rig.
They really cool when you stand your ground and refuse to consider a "Trade-Up".
RV Selling Buzzards
So, after a lot of research and conversations with old-timer RVers, I came up with a selling plan, and the first step was advertising.
You have to understand that the market for Rv's is a lot smaller and specialized than the automobile market.
And, because of this, you need to have your Rig or Camper presented on the web or in magazines in the most favorable light to capture the interest of this limited range of potential buyers.
Well, I did my research and I ended up with my Rig listed on a couple of the most popular RV SALES sites. Then, I sat back and waited for offers.
I immediately found that there is a large flock of "Selling Buzzards" out there, who want to help you Sell your Rig..... For a Price.
They ALL will Guarantee you that;
1- they are the best RV Sellers in the country.
2- they will sell your RV at the highest price of anyone else.
3- they will sell your RV faster than anyone else.
4- and they Guarantee everything, Yadaa, Yadaa, Yadaa.
In reality, these Seller Buzzards, and I call them that because, just like the real respectable buzzards in the world, that circle Roadkill for a while before they decide to land and feast on the carcass, these Sellers, scan the WEB sites that have your RV for sale, and send you emails with their grandiose offers of financial relief. JUST TRUST THEM!
And, if, in a moment of weakness, you respond, they pounce on you and start their sales pitch.
It will go something like this;
1- You Rig will be listed on over a gazillion sites, nationwide. (REALITY? They will list your Rig on their remote site, and they will have ads for their site available for search engines to find with the right search words.)
2- Your Rig will be listed in the top-15, 20, 26, etc. RV magazines in the country. (REALITY? They will have their ads for themselves in those magazines with no direct listing of your Rig.)
3- They guarantee your RV sells, in 60, 90, 180, etc. days, or your money is refunded. (REALITY? Yeah, Sure, just try to get your money back from them.)
4- And, if you sign up right now and use the code provided, they will give you $100 off of their regular price of; $249, $349, $399, etc.
What a gang of crooks.
My Selling Strategy
Anyway, now that I have gotten that off of my chest, here is what i actually did.
I listed my Motorhome on two of the more reputable, and popular RV Listing sites, with pictures and a detailed description of my Rig.
And, every couple of weeks I also list my Rig on eBay.
These three sites give my Rig pretty good exposure, and even though the market for larger Motorhomes is pretty weak, I have been happy with my plan, so far, even though I have not really come close to a real sale.
Oh, I get interested people, but there has been no closure so far.
The Buyer SCAM
When you put your contact information out there, and you have to if you are going to eventually sell your Rig, you need to deal with a lot of different people, like: the dreamers, the Low-Ball Offers, the bored talkers who don't really want to buy, and other strange personalities.
But, that is apart of the selling game and you have to sift through these different "just interested" characters to get to that real Buyer out there, who is going to make you a reasonable offer, and can actually afford your Rig.
Anyway, I received an email a couple of weeks ago, from a person in Kentucky.
He said that he was an Automobile Procurer for other people.
He also stated that he thought he had a buyer for my Rig, and wanted me to answer some more questions about my Motorhome.
This is a normal part of the beginning of a Sale, so we swapped emails for several days until we had gotten down to the particulars of an actual deal.
It was at this point that I got Warning Sign#1!
He didn't try to knock my price at all. He accepted the number i gave him immediately.
It was at this point that he sent me a number of stipulations that he and his Buyer, of course had. They were;
1- They wanted me to accept an earnest fee of $500.
2- They would find an Inspector to check the Rig out professionally.
3- They would arrive at my site, and after the Inspection, they would test drive my Rig.
4- They would pay me with a "Bank Check" and close the deal.
Well, this drove us into another half-dozen or more emails, as i had these new steps clarified, such as;
Requirement#1- I accepted the $500 earnest money but for only a 2-week period. That was OK with them.
Requirement #2- You have to accept an inspection of your Rig, so this was OK with me.
Requirement #3- Of course a personal drive and even inspection is expected by the buyer before he closes on a sale of this size..
Requirement #4- This one drove me back to my Bank, where I had a meeting with one of the managers and learned several things;
A- The payment by the Buyer must be either Cash or a Cashiers Check.
B- the Buyer will give the Cashiers check to the Bank manager, and they will, in turn, contact the other Bank and confirm that the Cashiers Check is 1-valid, that 2-it (the serial number) was issued by the other bank, and that 3-the specific check is backed by the funds listed on the check.
After notifying the Buyers, they accepted the Banks requirements for the closing of the deal.
They said that closing at my Bank, as I had stated, was OK. So, at this point, I started to get more confident that I might actually have a buyer for my Rig.
Then I received another, more detailed description of how they required to first check to be handled. This was Warning Sign #2, and as it turns out, the real show stopper.
Their more detailed requirement was that they would send me a Bank Check for my Earnest Money but it would also include the payment to the Vehicle Inspector that they selected.
And, I had to cash this check, take my money and also pay the Inspector within 3-days of receiving the check.
This WAS the actual SCAM!
I thought a while, and i responded that, after talking, yet again, with my banker, I had learned that when any check was received, it could take up to a total of ten-days for it to be processed by two different banks.
Also, I told them that the normal procedure was for the potential Buyer to select, and pay the Inspector at their own cost. and not, have the Seller handle this for them,
They responded that this was not acceptable, as they had already made plans for travel,and that I had to process this check in their required 3-days.
I firmly replied that I had to follow the directions of my Bank, and that they could bring cash, or I would require the 10-day processing time.
And, guess what? All communications stopped.
What was the actual SCAM?
Well, they never intended to buy my Motorhome.
Rather, they wanted me to cash this first check for the earnest payment and the mythical Inspectors payment. Then I was to hand over this Inspectors fee to someone that they designated.
They would in turn disappear, of course before the 3-days were up.
Then, a few days later (4 to 10?) I would get a call from my bank that the check was rubber, and I was responsible for paying the bank back, for my earnest money as well as the inspectors fee.
No Sale, No Cry!
Sorry, I had a Bob Marley moment there:>)
So, Here I sit,
I still own my Motorhome. It is still listed on my favorite three sites for sale.
And, I have learned yet another way to take advantage of my fellow man and drive him to trust no one but himself.
I guess I will keep my Motorhome stored for longer periods of time, and when I viist relatives and friends, I can pull up in style in my Big Rig,that I don't need!
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Questions & Answers
Hi Don, thank you for your very insightful article! More than ever, we need to be well-informed of the financial entrapments out there. I am also a senior with an RV travel trailer for sale. It is currently listed on C.L., but the only responses received have been fraudulent text messages. Would you please share the names of the "two more reputable listing sites" which you mentioned under the paragraph entitled "My Selling Strategy"? Thank you so much, Miss D of Tennessee :)
I have used RVTRADER several times and RVUSA once. Each site get a lot of exposure with potential buyers and is professional looking. That's about all you can ask of the web sites; it's still up to you to drive the sale with your pictures, description of your Rv, and sales acumen when someone calls you.
Have a nice day.
© 2011 Don Bobbitt