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Old 01-14-2013, 01:12 AM   #1
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Newbie advice: key points to spot a scam

Hi there,
i am new to searching for an Airstream and I am located in New Zealand. I hope to use a voluntary Inspector through the community to inspect for me but in the meantime can experienced searchers please provide some obvious things that indicate a scam ad or things to avoid.

Also, many Craigs List listings say 'flagged for removal' or similar is this evidence of a scam removed?

Thanks in advance!!
Sarah
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:14 AM   #2
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Apologies if i have not listed on the correct subject...what can I say , i am a newbie !
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:52 AM   #3
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One thing, if it looks to good to be true, it probably is. Good luck in your search. What are you looking for? Year, style, how long, budget ?
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:49 AM   #4
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A question: Are you a potential scammer looking to fine-tune your act?

I'm not trying to be insulting. It's just that being in New Zealand and therefore needing to work through an agent Stateside is only a minor variation from the typical scam setup, which features an oceanographer at sea, or a roughneck on an offshore oil rig, or a soldier deployed to the Middle East, or someone otherwise isolated so the deal can't be done face-to-face. So, even if you're a legitimate buyer, you'll scare off some potential sellers who think you're a scammer.

One way to avoid being mistaken for a scammer would be for your Stateside agent to be an attorney, licensed to practice in the state where the sale will take place, and to grant him limited power of attorney in writing, thus legally permitting him to act on your behalf for the purpose of the trailer purchase and export only (hence the limited power of attorney). I recommend using an attorney because the seller can verify that an attorney is legitimate simply by checking with his state's Bar Association. That in itself makes him more acceptable than most private parties you could use as an agent. Plus, an attorney under contract to you can legally handle such niceties as setting up a Stateside escrow acocunt to pay for the trailer, and arranging for export.

A word to the wise, there have been scams where a bogus law firm has been named as an agent for a sale, both in cases where it's a seller who's unavailable to do the deal in person, and when it's a buyer who's unavailable to do the deal in person. Always verify a law firm is legitimate through the state's Bar Association before doing business with them!

To avoid a scam where someone is trying to sell you a trailer that doesn't exist, or that is not his to sell, the first thing is to insist on being told a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and a license plate number. With these, the attorney you hire as an agent can check with the state Department of Motor Vehicles and verify: (1) the owner's name and domicile address are correct, and match what you've been told; (2) the license plate actually belongs on the the trailer that has that particular VIN; (3) the title is unencumbered by any liens.

That should be enough to start with. The details of how to hand over the money and take possession of the trailer can be left as an exercise between you and the attorney you hire.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:30 AM   #5
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hi Rumship,
Thanks for your feedback, good advice there. Am looking for a Caravel 17 ' or Globetrotter 19' . am looking for a trailer in fairly good condition particularly on the outside. Inside not so impt. I am buying from NZ so it has to have no nasty surprises. I'm happy to pay a bit more for a quality, good condit trailer.
Thanks again! Sarah
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:35 AM   #6
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Hi Protagonist,
Haha..i guess i could be a good scam story!
Thanks for the advice. i had not thought about checking the VIN number . One shipping company I am dealing with has offered to make paymwnt on my behalf and to visit the seller if near to LA. I am also happy to pay a bit more for a quality, refurbished trailer to avoid hopefully any major surprises once home. I would also hopefully use the forum's Voluntary Inpector service if i get to serious buying stage,
Thanks again! Sarah
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redraspberry View Post
Hi Protagonist,
Haha..i guess i could be a good scam story!
Thanks for the advice. i had not thought about checking the VIN number . One shipping company I am dealing with has offered to make paymwnt on my behalf and to visit the seller if near to LA. I am also happy to pay a bit more for a quality, refurbished trailer to avoid hopefully any major surprises once home. I would also hopefully use the forum's Voluntary Inpector service if i get to serious buying stage,
Thanks again! Sarah
If your Stateside agent is a company listed with the Better Business Bureau, that's about on a par with using an attorney, because it gives the seller an independent way to verify the agent is legit. The agent should still be given written limited power of attorney to act on your behalf, though.

Using the Forums Voluntary Inspector service is also a good move.
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