Originally Posted by RADINFLATROC
I am currently trying to sort thru a potential purchase of a "sight unseen" trailer that the seller, who claims to be out of the country, will sell through Amazon Payment.
So many flags here that tell me "scam."
1 - He's out of the country. Stories differ, but they're all
scams. He's working an offshore oil rig, or on a ship laying fiber-optic cable across the Pacific, or aboard a nuclear submarine uner the polar ice cap, or whatever. It is possible for a person who's overseas to grant power of attorney to someone Stateside to sell a trailer, but in that case, the owner's agent should be able to produce a notarized copy of the written power of attorney. That also means you should be able to verify through the appropriate State that the notary actually is
a notary, and then contact him to verify that he did indeed witness the power of attorney. Do not proceed with the transaction until you see
the power of attorney letter.
Someone who is overseas, not
working through an agent with power of attorney, will not
be able to produce a bill of sale or a title; who takes their trailer title with them when they travel overseas? Without a properly executed bill of sale and title, how would you
register it, even if the sale was otherwise legitimate? Dealing with even a legitimate overseas seller is more headache than it's worth.
2 - you can't inspect until after payment has been made. Any legitimate
trailer seller will allow inspection before any
money changes hands. Citing the "five-days to inspect" rule is designed to lull you into falsely believing you can get the money back when you find out too late that it's a scam.
2 - Payment through Amazon Payment. Or Paypal. Amazon Payments themselves have posted alerts about fictitious websites pretending to be Amazon Payment, that are actually phishing sites designed to steal your identity and
your money. If you were to agree to the purchase, the fictitious seller would provide you with a link that you'd have to click to send the money, that would take you directly to a look-alike site that would then have your credit card and/or bank routing info for them to plunder.
You can protect yourself against scammers.
Always insist on inspecting the trailer before
you make up your mind. If not you in person, then someone of your
choice who can give you a full report on its condition.
Always get the license plate number and the VINó or if it's too old to have a VIN, then at least the Airstream ID number. With the Airstream ID, you can verify that it's a real trailer by checking with Jackson Center, who has records of every trailer they've ever built. With the license plate number, you can get the name and domicile address of the owner through that state's DMV (though it takes some effort, especially if the registration is expired), to verify that the owner and the seller are the same person.
insist on working through a reputable and verifiable wire transfer service if there is a legitimate reason why you can't pay cash face-to-face. Western Union is still
the best. You can walk into a Western Union office to make the transfer in person, so that you know
that the money is being sent by them, and not by some mysterious and anonymous online service hidden in the vast wilderness of cyberspace. When you send payment via Western Union, WU gets your account info, but the seller does not, so you're protected.