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Old 07-10-2017, 07:17 PM   #1
jbt
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Flipper "ethics"

<rant on>



I very recently looked at an Airtream to potentially buy. I've done some moderate renovations on a couple of Airstreams so although I'm no expert, I'm certainly a knowledgeable potential buyer. The seller said great but I didn't expect great. I found a rig that would make a good project, basically all there, pretty nice skin, functional. Major floor rot aft, as usual, covered over with pieces of raw plywood screwed over the old rotten plywood. I only checked aft as I knew there would be more and a major subfloor repair plus finish floor would be in order. I could tell there was frame rust, as would be expected, but when I tried to further inspect under the cover plywood, requiring the removal of one screw to gain access to the frame, the seller's wife pitched a fit so I let it go. Windows were Creation and in need of full rebuild (with no parts available). Reported "new" tires were five years old. The A&E awning, again a product with no parts availability, had been ripped off at some point and then reinstalled with large amounts of caulking covering the mounting areas. I'd dealt with this very situation before and the damage to the skin was substantial. Everything, windows, compartment doors, rivet heads, tail lights, smeared with great amounts of silicone caulking. Again, I've dealt with that very situation but it is exceedingly time consuming to remove and properly seal. All door & window gaskets, exterior lights, tail light fixture, pretty much everything needing replacing. At this point you get the picture, an Airstream, good bones, viable but a major project.

I decided to pass for various reasons. At the price, viable, barely. I figured I could put five or six K into it, plus a few hundred, maybe up to a thousand, hours, and make a few thousand. Certainly no way to make a living but I get a vast amount of pleasure working on Airstreams. I work on my other RVs, when I own other RVs, but there just isn't the pleasure in it. I really liked the old couple who owned it and think they were as honest as the day long, but they were aged to the point of barely functioning and unaware of the real condition of their rig. But they were very nice. I knew there was another buyer on the way and told them I was going to pass for now and give the other buyer a shot at it. My primary reason for passing on it was the condition of the Creation Windows and the lack of parts availability for the needed renovations on them. Secondary, but a major consideration, was the huge amounts of silicone caulk on everything exterior. I've removed a lot of silicone caulk from Airstreams but this rig was a sight to behold. So with trepidation I passed. Finding an Airstream project where one can have the joy of renovation and come out in the black is a rarity so I didn't pass lightly.


Ok, here's my dilemma. The next guy bought it. No surprise there. The next day I see it pop up in all the Airstream places at cost plus 65%. Clearly as it was simply overnight before the ads reappeared, there were no repairs made. I have no problem with flippers as it's just Capitalism at work. What I have a problem with is the blatant misrepresentation of the product. The ads paint a rosy picture of a pristine Airstream with no leaks, no soft spots, everything functional, new tires, road ready. I find the whole thing offensive. First are the people who spend time and money traveling based on a misrepresented product (I've put many miles on looking at misrepresented products but I really don't think the misrepresentation was intentional). But the worst is someone, probably, will be suckered into buying what is in effect a disaster to anyone who can't do major renovations themselves (and if they were capable of the repairs needed they wouldn't touch this thing at anywhere near the new price). I can respect sweat equity but I just can't cotton to what I perceive as con artists. I have a hard time just sitting by when I know someone is about to get it really stuck to them.


<rant off>
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:25 PM   #2
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25 Safari?

Hmm, maybe they will lose money?
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:13 PM   #3
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If you were going to buy it and do repairs, and then sell it, doesn't that make you a flipper? It does in my book? I see dozens of ads in the tin can tourist site were people are selling a trailer that they bought and fixed it up. Thst makes them a flipper, even though they wouldn't say they were. Whatever the mkt will bear. Buyer beware!!
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:25 PM   #4
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Flipper &quot;ethics&quot;

Quote:
Originally Posted by avionstream View Post
If you were going to buy it and do repairs, and then sell it, doesn't that make you a flipper? It does in my book? I see dozens of ads in the tin can tourist site were people are selling a trailer that they bought and fixed it up. Thst makes them a flipper, even though they wouldn't say they were. Whatever the mkt will bear. Buyer beware!!


The operative phrase here is "...and do repairs..." which the OP is suggesting were not done in one evening. This isn't "flipping", it's deceptive greed at its worst. There may not be anything illegal about it, but it's certainly morally questionable. And yes - buyer ALWAYS beware.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:28 PM   #5
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Hi

The guy *might* sell it sight unseen simply based on his advertising expertise. If so, who's really at fault? The buyer who won't take the time to even do superficial checks or the guy who puffs up the ad? I'd suggest that there really is no "innocent" in that deal. Once you get to adulthood, you are *supposed* to think for yourself.

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Old 07-10-2017, 09:21 PM   #6
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I get your rant jbt. I'm all about free market. If this flipper is deceitful I do disagree, it's unfortunate, especially when people are driving hundreds of miles. Opinions are one thing ( how a person describes something canactually be their opinion)
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:11 PM   #7
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I'm of the opinion that it's nothing really to do with ethics per se. An educated buyer will almost always prevail over a dubious seller.

Greed, impulse, or lack of product knowledge typically lead to poor purchase decisions.

Caveat Emptor.
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:23 AM   #8
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If you buy a trailer to resell it is flipping regardless of if you fix it up or not.
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avionstream View Post
If you were going to buy it and do repairs, and then sell it, doesn't that make you a flipper? It does in my book? !
Everybody is a flipper when it comes down to it. It's just that most lose money. I think I pretty much said I have no problems with flippers. My issue is ethics and honesty. I buy and sell plenty of stuff and quite often buy from flippers. Someone with connections or being in the right place at the right time, more power to them. And an actual flipper, whose only intent it to buy, repair, improve and sell at a profit, good on him/her. If someone has the skills to do the job and little to no real overhead, they can provide a very cost effective means of making a good product available that otherwise wouldn't be. Buying junk and representing it as a problem free quality product isn't flipping, it's a con artist in action. That I have a problem with.
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:29 AM   #10
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If you buy a trailer in the condition reported by the OP, do nothing to it, advertise it as like new, and sell it at 165% what you paid for it, that's unethically opportunistic. It's not illegal, buyer beware, yes. How the "flipper" sleeps at night is a mystery to me...
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:32 AM   #11
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Jbt you bring up a good point.

But after reading the advertisment they didn't say how long they owned it or that they made any repairs. I believe they implied several systems worked, was that honest.

When we bought our last one it had just been bought by a flipper, salvager, auctioneer, reseller.

I did as much research as I could and found it in several other listings but always represented the same or similar. When questioned the seller was honest and said he just bought it in Texas at an insurance auction, had it transported to Missouri with intention to resell.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:10 PM   #12
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This is a different take on the Airstream scam, instead of trying to trick you into paying for a non-existent Airstream they are trying to trick you into paying for an Airstream that exists, just not an existence as described.
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:14 PM   #13
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Lack of any morals or ethics, I expect many of us are or have been guilty to varying degrees. I'd be 100% open and honest now but recall selling an old TR6 many moons ago that used so much oil, doubt the buyer barely made it home. I never heard a peep though, buyer always beware. I looked at a '76 airstream a month back, it was awful, the seller was a grade A bullshitter , I could tell immediately knowing what I know now. Sad thing is, he sold same day to a total novice buyer that I met there. I gave him the heads up but he probably thought I was trying to scare him off so I could get it.
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