An RV Buying SCAM - A Warning for Motorhome Owners who want to sell

Updated on March 20, 2016
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and he shares his knowledge of motorhomes and other RVs.

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".

Monaco Camelot
Monaco Camelot | Source

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.

Rate my Hub for Me!

4.3 out of 5 stars from 15 ratings of RV Buying Scam

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.

Oh Well!

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!

How to Inspect your RV for Water Damage

Keeping Bugs out of your Camper

How to Winterize your Camper

© 2011 Don Bobbitt


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    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Anna - For safety's sake, I would recommend that you check in your area for a reputable RV Dealer who will sell your RV on consignment. They will put your RV on their lot and try to sell it for you within the price limits you both agree to. And if they sell it, they will handle the sale paperwork, and take 10% off of the top.

      But the good thing about them is that your RV is getting seen by potential customers and is being stored for you.

      Good Luck,


    • profile image

      Anna 5 months ago

      Can you give me some suggestions? I am a single woman trying to sell my roadtrek now on rvtrader for 6 months dropped price several times and ever single lead is bogus. I lost my 17 year old child and we used it to go on trips. How can I find a legitimate buyer without all the bs. the last one was gonna fly in from Canada not happened and another lowballed me 8 grand thanks

    • profile image

      J Owens 7 months ago

      Don, the time you took to air this issue is appreciated! I also have run into this situation and have taken it to near completion before opening my eyes. Sometimes the desire to sell our rig outweighs our good judgement.

    • profile image

      tammy hughes 9 months ago

      They did it to me on a tiny home I wanted to purchase

    • profile image

      tammy hughes 9 months ago

      I've had this done to me from iPads purses and everything else even a Rolex. I figured them out though they are so stupid they use the same name each time

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 12 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ray G - Start with RV Trader and RVT. They are my favorite two. Another one is RV Search, and there are some others but they handle less volumes.


    • profile image

      Ray G 12 months ago

      Ok you kept talking about 3 sites you use to sell your RV. I have a 2017 35 ft travel trailer . Would you be able to tell me those sites ?

    • profile image

      DesertRyder 2 years ago

      Lol... I guess I'm the perfect victim. I must look like the perfect victim; scammers gravitate to me. Last year I got scammed by a building contractor who was a FRIEND OF my late son!!! Yesterday I sold our 1999 minni winni to a guy named "Terry" who kept coming around, for years it seems, and asking if we wanted to sell it. I initially said "No" we might use it for a trip this fall. We last used it in Sept 2014 for a trip to TN & OH (from SoCal). He said he had the "money in his pocket." Actually, he left twice to "get money" and was gone a long time both times.

      Terry gave me a sob story about how his home was repo'ed and he and his wife and kid were going to "live in it" until they can get back on their feet. It's only a 22 footer, perfect for two, but not as a permanent home. Well, we decided to sell it and agreed on $4,000. After removing all of our stuff from the rig, during my final walk through I found that someone had stuffed our portable DVD player into a nook where that someone didn't think I would find it. They weren't in the rig when I found it and I simply tucked it away inside my house and didn't say anything. Imagine their surprise when they find it "missing." Maybe the kid did it. After discussing all the problems with the rig (again it needs batteries, roof resealing, probably new engine belts, chassis AC repairs, coach air conditioner repairs, smog & registration, etc.) we agreed on $4,000. As he was counting out the money he stopped at $3.500 and mumbled something about $161 for registration, $200 for a battery, $50 for smog, and all the other "stuff," and no money for food, I simply said "$4,000 is what we agree is." He paid cash with new $100 bills, so unless they are fake, I'm safe there. I did see "Ben" through the hidden part of the bill, but I'll take them to the credit union this PM. However, he gave me a fake name and address for the DMV part. When I questioned it he said that's because she has the insurance. So, that throws the "sob story" out the window (he actually shed a tear or two when he was telling the story). I wonder, am I going to be liable if he is in an accident, or the rig is used to smuggle illegals? Probably... He initially left me a card with his name and phone number on it, but it disappeared from the dining room table after we signed the paperwork. In retrospect, I think Terry is working for a small-time 'em cheap and resells them for a nice little profit. He claimed to not know much about motorhomes, never even drove one, but things he said and did proved otherwise. And Terry isn't the only one with a kid in tow, asking if the motorhome is for sale. It's funny how an eight or nine-year-old can be trained to say the right thing at the right time. The kid said "Is this going to be our home?" and dad responded "We weren't supposed to talk about that." Yeah, right. Although we got the money we wanted, the idea that someone would tell such outrageous lies to "get the deal" is just ridiculous.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 2 years ago from USA

      Are you kidding? Geesh...sometimes I just hate this world we live in! BTW, if they don't respond to a DMCA, contact Google. They have the authority to cut their adsense funding if you can prove you wrote the article first! Good luck!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 2 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Timetraveler2- Good points. We are a trusting generation, it seems, and this is what get so many of us in trouble when we are trying to sell or buy something.

      It just seems that there are a number of "specialist" crooks who prey on our world of RVers.

      BTW! You will love this. This very hub has been "stolen" by two different people, and even with a warning, I can't get them to retract their copies. LOL!

      Have a great day,


    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 2 years ago from USA

      There's more, unfortunately. Even if the buyer is "legit", if you do not turn in the proper paperwork to the DMV and the buyer does not register the coach in his name and has an accident...guess who is liable!! If you read my post on selling your RV, you can learn more, but the bottom line is that you have to cover all of the bases BEFORE you let a buyer drive away in your unit. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Leslie 3 years ago

      I guess you should never accept to meet at the bank on Saturdays, in the afternoons etc because there would be no way to verify the check at those times. It should be before noon during the week.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ann Beadel- It sounds like these scammers are becoming more and more brazen. It seems that these people can operate with impunity until someone can set a trap for them. And, you have to wonder how many of us, around the US are being duped without there being any kind of system to warn the rest of us as to what to watch out for.

      That is the reason I wrote this article, to get something out there for my fellow RVers.

      Thanks for the comment,


    • profile image

      Ann Beadel 4 years ago

      We are in the midst of dealing with your "buyer", or at least, his twin brother. One tidbit of information: he sent us a check marked "certified", drawn on some bank in Fredricksburg, Tx. (He purported to be a car dealer in Kansas, by the way.) We deposited the check two days ago, and this morning our bank called and said it was bogus. And btw, our bank said that banks had ceased issuing "certified" checks some ten years ago! He, too, wanted us to wire the inspector's fee via Western Union (another red flag---that can't be traced). Stay tuned for the next exciting episode...

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Thanks for the comment, Ray. And, I am sorry that you were duped by one of these crooks in the past.

      Good luck to you and Yours.


    • profile image

      Ray 4 years ago

      It's the too good to be true syndrome. I have a potential "BUYER" working me exactly the way you described. The only way I would take his money would be CASH and I would take him to my bank and make sure that it wasn't counterfeit. We've been there with our business years ago--the COD Cashier's Check route--lost $20K. Lesson learned. Good Post!!!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 6 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Good to hear from you Resspenser. You are right, about how the world of selling has changed. One thing that I did not know, that I got from my banker was the new (relatively?) status of Cashiers checks. 1- Stop payments cannot be made on a Cashiers check. If you get one issued, it cannot be canceled for 90-days. 2- You should always take your Cashier check to your bank, with the buyer, and have your bank check it for validity; a-it is a real bank serial number b-the funds the bank has on record are the same as what are on the check in front of you, I got these little facts from BOA. Thanks again, for the nice comment..

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 6 years ago from South Carolina

      I bought a bike from a banker in Ky via ebay several years ago. He told me to bring cash as even he couldn't tell if a cashiers check was funny. I have bought and sold several vehicles on ebay or craigslist. Cash is the way to go.

      Good informative hub that may well save someone a heartache or two!