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Old 06-03-2011, 10:34 PM   #1
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How Best to Pay for a Trailer that is Going to be Delivered?

Hello again. I have another question...

My wife and I are in the process of finding an Airstream. It seems that most of the ones that we like are thousands of miles away.

So, my question is: What is the best way to pay for a trailer if it is going to be shipped across the country?

Thanks,
David
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Old 06-04-2011, 01:43 AM   #2
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OK U ask . DONT. IF you cant reach out and touch it DONT BUY IT and DONT PAY FOR IT.
If you are depending on the owners word and pictures you are indeed in trouble.. We were able to reach out and touch our 1977 Overlander and still we got burned. For the most part I had no idea excatly what to look for,even though I had the kind folks on this forum to kinda guide us.
ITS selling points were NEW fridge,AC ,Tires . It was clean and all that stuff worked. IT was what I couldn't see or did not test that got me.
IT had been frozen and better than half the plumbing had been cut off and kincked over or other wise plugged off in areas that were not readily seen..
SO AGAIN its my suggestion to Make sure you can do the inspection yourself.DON'T TRUST ANYONE'S WORD.
ITS YOUR MONEY DO AS YOU WISH. WORD TO THE WISE SHOULD BE SUFFICENT.
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:50 AM   #3
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what Roger said!!!!
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:21 AM   #4
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I hope you are not talking about buying sight unseen. We all like to think that everyone should be as trustworthy as we believe that we are ourselves, but it seems t'ain't so!

So far, I've never been burned on buying small items over the internet ebay etc., but I don't believe I'd take a chance on anything selling for $100 or more, maybe not even that much. I certainly would never consider for a moment buying anything from someone I didn't know, half way across the country, sight unseen. I suppose I could weather the loss if it turned out badly, but I'd just feel so stupid!

I'd do everything I could by email, phone, pictures etc. to make sure it was worth the trip, then, to try to save time, and hopefully with the help of the owner, I'd work out some shipping plans without commitment, then finally go look at it, and pay only after I know it is worth the $$.

If you have a suitable tow vehicle of course, you could then bring it back yourself depending on condition.

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Old 06-04-2011, 07:49 AM   #5
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Hi there
My pennies worth is same as those above ...
Be particularly careful if you do buy ANYTHING Over the Internet especially when they say that eBay will hold the money in trust until you see it ... There is a very complex professional scam website supporting this claim and the 'seller' will claim it to be independent and having used it many times before ... DON'T ... Just don't.
This is a marvellous country mainly full of extremely genuine people but with a very small few who scam wonderfully well. I have relocated from England and was advised, sadly, that the two main countries abroad to be extremely wary about were Nigeria and the US . Let's be wary and put an end to those people; fraudsters giving the good vast majority of people in this country a bad name, the authorities don't seem to even know how to contain it .... So, be careful out there and good luck .... An Englishman abroad; Rob
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:13 AM   #6
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If you find an RV at a distance that you seriously think you might want, contact an Airstream or other reputable RV dealer and have it professionally inspected (if the seller doesn't want you to have it inspected... RUN!). Only then, if it inspects to your liking, negotiate a price (I am amazed how many people negotiate a price before it's inspected!) and arrange a deposit to hold it with a clause stating that the sale is "subject to your viewing and approving the RV in person within XX hours", then fly out and look at it yourself! I might expect that a small portion of the deposit (maybe up to $500) could be negotiated by the seller as non refundable if the seller has to hold the RV for a week or other reasonable time for you to make travel arrangements.

My spouse, Angela, just finished a trip this week to look at a car (private sale) that involved this exact scenario. She flew 750 km west, looked at the car and found she didn't like the way the engine sounded or the way it performed on a road test so she got her deposit back as agreed to and written in the sale contract and flew home. It cost us a few hundred in airline costs and a $300 non-refundable portion of the deposit. $500 might seem like a waste, but is was cheap compared to getting a lemon of a vehicle and having to put thousands into it unexpectedly, or getting stranded by a breakdown in the middle of nowhere (that's where we live).

We have done this type of transaction 3 different times in the past few years (it's hard to find good used products close to home for us) and this is the first "walk away" we have had. Our Airstream and Bayliner boat each came from an 11 hour drive East, and Angela's current Volvo wagon (it's been a great car) we bought 8 years ago came from the same place she just got back from. Everything else has inspected well and met our expectations, but we ask a lot of questions and do as much homework as we can in advance.

Long-distance buying can be done, but you have to be cautious. If you think there are maybe going to be risks with the seller improperly keeping the deposit - have a lawyer hold the funds in trust as per your sales contract.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:27 AM   #7
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My word is caution also. I personally inspected a trailer that supposedly went though an extensive rehab. Contrary to the person selling the rehab, it was far from the pristine trailer that was described and the buyer was left with many, many issues. As noted you can buy long distance, but you gotta spend the money and time and look at it yourself.

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Old 06-04-2011, 08:44 AM   #8
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If you find one, put down a deposit, fly out, look it over carefully, make sure the seller has the title in hand, and then, only then, IF you like what you see, pay them, collect the title and trailer, do any needed paperwork to ensure it is officially "yours", and either remove the trailer or arrange for it to be removed ASAP. Many towing companies will tow a travel trailer a short distance, say, from the seller's house to a secure storage facility, for a couple hundred dollars. After you get the trailer to storage, you can make arrangements to get it home at your leisure.
DON'T use any wire transfers for the full amount, or anything over a nominal deposit. That is one of the oldest scams out there, to do a wire transfer by Western Union. If the seller says the trailer is stored elsewhere, or it will be delivered to you after payment, run, don't walk, away.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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Long distance...it can be done.

My TV and Boat were both on ebay and didn't sell, after many phone calls and a lot of research and photographs, both purchases turned out excellent, there are honest people out there. In both cases I went with my gut feelings.

If it seems TGTBT, it probably is.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:06 AM   #10
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Buying a distant Airstream

I agree with the caution expressed by the other responders to your posting. I've been looking at used Airstreams for over six months. I have yet to find one, upon personal inspection, in the condition described by the seller and I have yet to buy one. Photographs can be very deceiving. Plus photos don't show the rotting sub floor, the smell of mold in the walls, the botched repair to the holding tank, the rusted leveling jacks, the broken pipes, or the nonworking appliances. When making an on site inspection the trailer needs to be hooked up to water, electricity, and sewer. You need to test every faucet, every holding tank, and every electrical switch and outlet as well as each appliance. Finally, make sure you are there when the vehicle is opened up. I've been on inspections where the owner opened and aired out the vehicle a half an hour before I arrived in order to remove the mold and pet odors. If every window is open when you arrive for inspection, close it up and let it sit for half an hour. Your nose will tell you if there is a problem.

Be very careful with respect to getting a title. First thing I want to know is if the owner has a clear title. It is amazing how many untitled Airstreams are out there. You also need to be careful when there is a note on the vehicle. Giving a cashiers check to the owner and taking possession doesn't mean he or she is going to pay off the note. If the owner can't pay off the note beforehand, in order to provide clear title at the time of receiving payment, I suggest going to the bank with the owner, paying off the note at the bank, getting a notarized bill of sale signed by the bank and the owner, and then having the bank mail the title directly to you if it is in the bank's possession. Once a cashiers check leaves your hands, or a wire transfer leaves your bank account, the money is gone.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:43 AM   #11
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I bought mine 1200 miles (one way) and had it inspected from an AIR forums member. Once he inspected it he called and said it was near perfect (it was) and we set up the transaction through our banks. It worked out very well and I picked it up one month later. The PO sent me the title and I insured her and got temp tags to bring her home. Everything worked great! I trusted the inspector and he really liked the PO and the AS. Maybe I was lucky but I think having an experienced AS owner look it over and working through our banks really helped. Good luck and just cross every T and dot every I.

Look for this right under the Face Book area.

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We have hundreds of members who are willing to inspect a used Airstream if it's located too far away for you to inspect. Please select the State where you need to find a inspector and the type of inspector needed. View their profile to see how far they are willing to drive to inspect an Airstream. If you find one that look like a fit, send them a private message to see if they can help you out.

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Old 06-04-2011, 10:00 AM   #12
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They are right. Be patient. There are plenty of airstreams out there. Spending 400 bucks on a flight and a hundred bucks on s hotel is not a waste of money if you learn the trailer is worth hundreds or thousands less. If you are looking at vintage ones that need repairs or needs a major rebuild--500 bucks is like a trip to the dollar store. All the best. And good luck. You'll find one don't worry about that! Ted
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blmitch5 View Post
I bought mine 1200 miles (one way) and had it inspected from an AIR forums member. Once he inspected it he called and said it was near perfect (it was) and we set up the transaction through our banks. It worked out very well and I picked it up one month later. The PO sent me the title and I insured her and got temp tags to bring her home. Everything worked great! I trusted the inspector and he really liked the PO and the AS. Maybe I was lucky but I think having an experienced AS owner look it over and working through our banks really helped. Good luck and just cross every T and dot every I.
:

I sold my last ("Award") trailer to a gent that I met thru an internet "Award owners" Forum.

He lived in the US, and was well over 1000 miles from our home in Canada

We exchanged numerous emails, I sent photos, and we spoke several times on the phone about the condition of the trailer - I explained all the areas I was aware of that needed attention.

After this he was still virtually sure he wanted the trailer for an agreed price. he offered to send me a deposit until he could come to pay and collect the trailer in a couple of weeks.

It seemed we had already become chums at this point, and he seemed a very straight up guy - which it turned out he certainly was!

I told him there was no need for the deposit and that I would be glad to hold the trailer for the couple of weeks that he wanted. I only asked that he please call me if he changed his mind for any reason.

As it got closer to the date of his visit, he asked about method of payment. I told him that I figured a certified cheque would be fine but Iwould just double check with my bank.

My assumption was that with a certified cheque I would be fully protected. but when I spoke with people at my bank they very strongly counseled me to not go this route. They said that a certified cheques is no guarantee and that they can easily turn out to be fraudulent and that by the time we would learn that a cheque was fake, my trailer would be long gone and I would be out of pocket.

As I recall, the next proposal the buyer and I discussed was to have his bank send the money direct to mine. My bank seemed ok with that, but then it turned out the US bank would not be allowed to this - fear of sending money out of the US to support terrorist groups or some such excuse! I don't know the legalities.

It was getting embarrassing to even discuss this with the potential buyer and at that point, I suggested he simply bring cash, but he was nervous to carry the amount, although it was only about $8.5k!

So then he suggested Traveler's Cheques. Sounded perfectly good to me, but since at this point my bank was involved, I said I'd better confirm with them!

Their answer was ok, but the two of you come to the bank with the travelers cheques in hand before you hand over the trailer and we will verify with American Express that the cheques are valid before you complete the deal.

That's what we finally did and all worked out fine, but what an ordeal!

I guess the bank have dealt with a lot of fraud cases and I suppose I should be thankful for their help in looking after my best interests, but it was a bit embarrassing!

Fortunately the buyer was very understanding - although getting as frustrated as I was! We are still on very good terms!


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Old 06-04-2011, 12:16 PM   #14
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All,
Thank you for the advice. I will take it all to heart, especially the "be patient" part.
Thanks Again,
David
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