Originally Posted by SteveSueMac
First -I can't imagine someone buying any $30K purchase sight unseen unless they're in the 1% Bernie has made famous. So think about that...maybe 1% of the population can afford to drop $30K without knowing what they're getting. So what are the odds you're dealing with that person? Just 1%!
Actually I have purchased two trailers sight unseen and I am not in the 1% you refer to.
I simple live in an area where few of the trailer make/type I wished to purchase come up for sale that are within a 2-3 day drive. I know plenty of other folks who have done the same. Its usually a higher risk to such a buyer than it is to the seller. I know more than one buyer that has been burned badly in such a deal - usually in regards to the condition of the trailer. In one case the seller got the deposit but then sold the trailer to someone else.
Legitimate out of town &/or country buyers should and do tend to ask lots of questions and ask for lots of additional photos prior to making making an offer. Funny enough I have found some sellers will not send additional info or answer the questions via email first. Legitimate purchasers will also want to speak directly to the seller over the phone before making an offer in an attempt to get a feel for whether or not the seller is trust worthy
But I have had sellers refuse to even provide their phone info when they hear I do not live in the USA. Will only talk to you if you come to see the trailer in person. Sorry but I am not going to spend 4-5 days driving time to look at a trailer if I am not convinced its the right trailer. :roll eyes:
The concerns over scammers by some sellers can be just a bit over the top. For example there was a trailer for sale that I was VERY interested in - right model, year etc. been waiting for several months for one to come on the market. Seller had posted very few photos and what they wad posted where poor. I asked via email (after failing to be able to get through to them on phone number provided) if they could provide a clearer photo of the outside of the trailer showing the transportation compliance sticker (needed to export the trailer to Canada). Response was No. I had to come see the trailer and talk directly to them before they would send it and it was irrelevant if it had the sticker or not. It was a harmless question to ask & questionable as to why they would not give an answer if their concern was in fact scammers. The tone of their response left me feeling that they did not sound like someone I would want to deal with & wonder what other info they may be reluctant to be forthcoming on, so I did not bother to try calling them again. Funny enough I noticed that trailer sat on the market for a few weeks longer. There is a very good chance the seller could have sold that trailer a lot faster had they been a bit less paranoid and more open in answering the original simple question asked.
The odds are also high that a legitimate sight unseen purchaser will also want to talk with the shop that has been servicing the trailer &/or send a third party ahead to take a look at the trailer for them. Again I have had sellers refuse to provide such info or allow a 3rd party to look at the trailer unless I was present at the same time.
For the most part I have found that most sellers will be pretty open with their communications & willing to work with you, once you explain to them you are outside the US, a legitimate buyer & not out to scam anyone and are asking the questions to protect yourself as well.
Yes its high risk to be a sight unseen purchaser. But there are a number of other steps a legitiamate purchaser can and will mostly likely take to make sure the seller is legitimate. Such as having your bank contact their bank to confirm that they are indeed a customer with the same address etc that they have given you the purchaser & they did not just open the account yesterday. Online directories are also a good way to confirm the party lives where they say they do. Using Google Earth you can also take a look at where they live and if the trailer is kept outside at their home the odds are high the trailer will be visible.
If I do make an offer on a sight unseen trailer I do offer to send the seller at least 50% of the offer price via a direct bank wire transfer (which is much safer for both the seller and buyer) and will deal with only major international banks & it only takes a day for the sellers bank to confirm its a good clean transfer. At least that is the case when dealing with National banks and transfers between Canada and the USA. Personally would not deal with a seller using a one off local bank. Using a national bank for a direct wire transfer provides the purchaser with legitimate documentation as to the payment giving to the seller that in least in part gives them with some documentation of the transaction & some legal recourse should the seller not in fact have the trailer when you get there.
I do pick the trailer up personally & as fastest I can drive to the location of the trailer before handing over the balance owing to make sure it is as the seller described.
I do know a party who did purchase their A/S off of EBay (best offer posting) without any kind of communications prior with the seller and they did use the EBay payment system - in that case though the trailer was being sold by a well known seller of used A/S who know enough about legitimate out of the country buyers to include LOTS of info & photos of the trailer including the various stickers on the trailer that are needed to export/import it. Lots of trailers change hands through EBay.
I do agree a seller should run fast from anyone who asks few questions about the trailer prior to making an offer &/or only offers to pay via Paypal or Ebay &/or is having someone other than themselves pick up the trailer without the purchaser having seen it themselves &/or does not make direct voice contact with the seller.
BUT I would not assume that all who make an offer on a trailer sight unseen are scammers &/or in the 1% group you refer to - anymore than I assume that all sellers are scammers in regards to the condition of their trailers!