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Old 06-01-2006, 05:17 PM   #1
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Exclamation Beware the offerings of Airstream Re-sellers!!

I want to post this before I cool off and not do it! I am sitting here now, very tired, after a 2-day trip to a florida city that is 500 miles from where I live. This is especially for the "Newbies" who are looking for a used AS and are vulnerable. I have personally driven many miles, 500 miles in example #1 and 1000 miles in example #2, at considerable personal expense, to look at two different AS's in the last two weeks and neither of these long trips have resulted in my buying an AS. I couldn't get "Forum Inspectors" in either case, so I had to go look for myself. BOTH these AS's were advertised right here on the Forum Classifieds by re-sellers! What do I mean by "Re-sellers"? These are people who buy AS's from owners who are not successful selling their AS's for various reasons...sometimes, but not always, because they have some damage on the exteriors from accidents. These re-sellers get these AS's at a low bargain price, do a little painting, a little cleaning and a little this and that to cover up the accident damage and then offer them "for sale" at what seems like a good price! BUYER BEWARE!! Again....BUYER BEWARE!! Some of these people, but not all, are worse than used car salesmen! They deliberately leave out critical information and blantly mis-represent the facts!.....knowingly .....even when asked about specific items! My advice......only look at AS's from real OWNERS who have used them and have owned them for at least 2 years. That's what I plan to do from here on in. Bill

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Old 06-01-2006, 06:13 PM   #2
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Sorry trips didn't work out... I never responded to thread about people being inherently good or bad, but I DO believe in statistics (yes, even Six Sigma... )

Of the 10,000 Members here on the Forum, most are honest, helpful and sincere. But in any population of that size, some bad actors will fall in, mandated by laws of statistics. (Same theory says there have to be a few axe murderers and molestors in any large population..) We can choose to make assumptions and deal as if all were good, or all were bad or most fit into expected category, and be cautious until verified.

While it might be satsifying to "Out" them, it could lead to more problems in a public setting. Keep the faith, and continue trying to find local inspectors as candidates come available, and be prepared to kiss some "Frogs" to find a good one.

John McG

>> And it could have been worse.. It could have been E-Bay fraud, or something even worse.


In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:19 PM   #3
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I Feel Your Pain, but...

I know you feel disgusted and disheartened by your recent experiences. Our first Airstream came from a "reseller." We paid too much, had to undo or redo everything the reseller did to it, and discovered much undisclosed, costly damage.

That being said, we got it all fixed up, restored it to nearly original condition, and had many wonderful adventures before "reselling" it to a nice couple here in town. For $5800 they got an Airstream that I had put about $8500 into.

AS soon as my building is completed, I intend to start an Airstream rescue business buying old Airstreams, making them roadworthy, and finding younger Airstreamers who would like to adapt them and for restoration or renovation. I won't make much money, if any. I'm just pursuing a hobby. According to your criteria, nobody on the forum should by an Airstream from me.

There's another gent here in town. He's 85 years old, and he's not happy if he's not tinkering on an Airstream. He seldom keeps one of his projects for more than a year. By your criteria, nobody on the forum should buy an Airstream from him.

I think you get my point. You've had a couple bad experiences. I've had dozens, but I'm still out there looking.
Ken L
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:19 PM   #4
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That Florida Gang

You were not paying attention when I mentioned the bunch in Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach/ Jupiter (area) and Tampa/Sarasota area. All the same guy...been kicked off Ebay and showed up here. This has to be the bunch you got in with.
I too have made several long trips for the "fun of it."
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:50 PM   #5
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Please remember to use the feedback system in the classifieds section if you have had a noteworthy experience.

While the feedback system is not designed to be a public courtroom it IS intended to reflect ACTUAL experiences with a seller about a specific sale - good or bad. A potential buyer is much more inclined to do business with a seller that has impeccable feedback.
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:52 PM   #6
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One Day....

Sorry for such a bad experience in locating an airstream. I got mine from ebay and will admit to some fears on the drive to get her 700 miles one way. It worked out for me and hopefully you too.
Michael & Tina with Layla and Preston BZ
The family has grown.
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Old 06-01-2006, 07:23 PM   #7
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Tastes like chicken

Somebody said you've got to kiss a lot of frogs.... I use the line often. It still amounts to a less expensive lesson than buying a used AS and then finding out you bought a toad! Each unit you look at opens the door to learning more about what you're looking for.
I bought Airstream One off eBay and would do so again. The seller was very accomodating but had missed a few things. After I had done my due dilligence I was happy to drive home from MD to SC. I'd do a better inspection the next time as a result of the missed items and as a result of all I've learned here since.
Keep looking and learning, try to take in a rally or WBCCI get together. You'll find lots of rigs for sale and even more ideas.
Happy hunting.
But be careful you may find a great rig, then deside the next one you see is better.... then you might have to sell the first one inside the two year window.
Glen Coombe AIR #8416
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Old 06-01-2006, 07:29 PM   #8
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Any Star Trek fans out there? Remember the line "Revenge is dish best served cold?"

This may be a poor idea, but hear me out. The Mods on this forum do an excellent job of "policing" things around here. Would it be possible to report these things to one (or two, or three) of the Mods and have them deal with it in an appropriate way? One disgruntled customer may mean nothing, but a pattern of bad behavior could merit expulsion. Of course, anybody can anonymously create an account here. Once kicked off, they can start all over again, anonymously. But there are ways to track the bad guys, even on the internet.

I do not like dishonesty. This forum is too respectable to allow this kind of trash to go on. It can be handled in a manner that would shield the Forum and the members from liability issues.

Too simplistic? Bad Idea? Something to think about.



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Old 06-01-2006, 07:36 PM   #9
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I've never understood sellers who will lie to you when you directly ask them about condition, they must know you're going to notice it when you get out there! Do they think that after the long trip you'll just give in and buy it after all?

On the other hand I have 'flipped' an AS myself, and I can't blame anyone for doing it if they can. Making a profit is the American way. But they should be honest about the condition of the unit. I sold mine to someone who came a very long ways to pick it up, and I didn't want them to have a single surprise when they got here.

It's always buyer beware out there. Give those who don't play the game fairly some well-deserved feedback in the classifieds, and maybe it will save the next guy a long trip.

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Old 06-01-2006, 07:39 PM   #10
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Jim, if we start policing the classifieds, then I'm afraid eventually people will get a false sense of security that anyone on the classifieds must have passed muster somehow, or that it is our responsibility to ensure that the bad ones are removed. That's not a responsibility I want to take on - I'm just a volunteer here, like the rest of the mods. We can't be held liable that the claims made on the classifieds are true or false in any way. I think that's why it's best if it's buyer beware, and find a local member to do a pre-inspection if possible.

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Old 06-01-2006, 08:01 PM   #11
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Stefrobrts, You kinda wonder about a seller who states, they have had their trailer for several years, but the usefulness of the plumbing is "unknown." How can you use an airstream and not know what works and doesn't.
We bought a 1997 "B" Van from Total Sales Solutions, (aka Kicking Horse Motors-Jackson, Miississippi)(EBAY) before Katrina hit last fall. They advertised, you could run the genset while driving to power the rooftop A/C unit. That statement was a crock!. When we got there with a flatbed, the genset spit oil out of the sparkplug opening,(not working) the grey water tank was dangling from underneath, some of the springs in the couch were broken, all the curtains were rotted, the front seats were all broken down, the thing had a disgusting pong to it. It sure PHOTOGRAPHED well! We hauled it home, they already had our money (electronic transfer),,,,, pulled the carpet, all new upholstery-cushions, window treatments, new genset, tires, belts, hoses, brakes, bearings, fluids, full tuneup, microwave, TV, headliner, wheels. We thought we got a good deal, but ended up spending much more. Oh, I forgot, the service area behind the drivers' rear tire (electric shore plug, cable, dump valves) all missing from a tire blowout (remaining tires were 11 years old) they didn't disclose. It sure photographed well. Next time, we will go and look, even if it is a dry run and we come home empty handed. Driving 500 miles, 1000 miles, 2000 miles would still be cheaper than spending $$$$$$$$ for neglect, accidents, or age related problems. No rig will be close to perfect, except a new one. But then, you have that 2 year warranty and can "carp" to the dealer.
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:03 PM   #12
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I've got some experience in this area that I'll share with you. My perspective may be a little different.

I'm with Steph. I've sold several Airstreams over the years and on a couple of them, folks found stuff I didn't know was wrong. It depended on how long I had it and what I did with it. I wasn't intentionally withholding information or being dishonest about it.

When I bought my current 34' Limited, the former owners were lovely folks, but had a difference of opionion about what constituted 'clean' than I do. It was OK, we bought the trailer anyway, but I wouldn't have called it 'clean'. That doesn't mean they lied to me.

There is inherent risk in buying used. It doesn't make any difference what you buy used, there is risk. If you can buy the item cheaply enough to overcome the potential risk, then it's a good deal. Even if everything is wrong, you can afford to fix it. The more you pay, the less room you have to pay for repairs. It's truly caveat emptor.

In March, I bought a Scamp 19' 5th wheel and Chevy pickup from some wonderful folks in Spokane WA and drove it home without any problems at all. I know some long-distance trips aren't as uneventful. It just goes with the territory. What is "excellent condition" to the seller may be junk to a prospective buyer.

Last summer, I listed a trailer on my eBay account for a co-worker. It was a 1950 canned ham style and the interior was amazing. It had leaked in the past, and it wasn't perfect by any means, but it was one of those old trailers that just cause you to grin when you sit in it. It had the original yellow vinyl seat covers with white trim, diner style. It was just cool, and it was roadworthy. It was a camper, not a frame-off resto or show trailer, but it was in original and excellent condition for a fifty-five year old trailer. There were 30 photos for him to look at, and we'd have been happy to do close-ups of anything he wanted to see. We sent out a couple dozen photos to other potential bidders.

Some guy from the upper left coast sniped it with 20 seconds left at over double the $2500 reserve we set on it. He didn't call, didn't ask questions, and didn't ask for additional photos. He paid the tab, and sent a shipper for it. When he got it, he didn't like it and demanded his money back because it wasn't and "excellent show trailer" and we intentionally lied about its condition, and blah blah blah. The guy has more money than common sense and has retained an attorney and has sued my co-worker and me. So I'm about $1800 into legal bills on a trailer I got nothing out of and in a lawsuit with some dimwit who can't be bothered to look out for his own welfare.

There are definately scamsters out there, but not everyone who sells or "flips" a trailer is out to misrepresent it.

When you go to look at a trailer, and you go a long distance, you have to suspend your belief, keep your standards, and buy the trailer that meets them. If it doesn't meet your standards when you see it, don't buy it. Gets lots of photos from the seller. Ask for specific shots. Ask for close-ups of areas you think may be a problem. Satisfy yourself that a trailer is worth making a long journey for before you set out. If the seller can't or won't provide photos, then don't go unless you're willing to just go to be curious.

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Old 06-01-2006, 08:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
...if we start policing the classifieds, then I'm afraid eventually people will get a false sense of security that anyone on the classifieds must have passed muster somehow, or that it is our responsibility to ensure that the bad ones are removed. That's not a responsibility I want to take on - I'm just a volunteer here, like the rest of the mods. We can't be held liable that the claims made on the classifieds are true or false in any way. I think that's why it's best if it's buyer beware, and find a local member to do a pre-inspection if possible.
I have to agree with Steph. It would be nice if the forum classifieds were safer than places like eBay, but they aren't. In fact, good scam artists will know that people have a false sense of trust and try to take advantage of it. The reality of this situation is that people get hurt far worse when they are not being guarded, and I don't think it is possible for the mods to do anything about it.
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:53 PM   #14
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Roger, Stephanie,

Maybe I need to explain a bit further. I don’t mean to make more work for the Mods, Lord knows you all are overworked and underpaid enough as it is! I mean this sincerely, the Moderators here do a great job keeping this a decent place that provides useful information (and there are fewer and fewer of these on the internet these days). I’ve looked at other Airstream oriented “Forums”. This is the only one I subscribe to. You help to create an atmosphere where people feel welcomed; you do make this a community.

What I’m talking about is curtailing outright deceit. Caveat Emptor always applies. That should always be routine, especially when making a large purchase, many times at great distances. Melody Ranch alluded to the fact that an individual (or group of individuals) were scamming folks in Florida and somehow wound up on our Forum. If this type of individual can be ferreted out, let’s get rid of him. It sounds like Bill’s experience wasn’t much better. I took a few minutes and randomly checked the feedback on about 15 or so sellers of Vintage Trailers in the classifieds. I found only two sellers with any feedback. Not a scientific approach, but I thought I’d at least take a look-see.

We have a “report post” link on all of the posts in each thread. Perhaps something along those lines in the classifieds? Rules could be implemented defining deceit, dishonesty or scams. The last thing y’all have time for is refereeing between two angry people, but scamsters only serve to bring a bad light on the Forum.

Thanks for listening.




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