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Old 06-29-2004, 05:38 PM   #1
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Has anyone purchase an airstream on Ebay?

I was wondering if anyone here has purchased an airstream on Ebay without physically inspecting it??? Is this a crazy thing to do?

I like Ebay and have had very good experiences -- but I also have strict guidelines I have set for myself in my buying and selling. One of those guidelines limits the purchase amount. I think $200 is the max I have spent and was a little nervous doing that.

I am concerned about buying something that large that I haven't seen. Of course I could see it and miss a big problem. But I would find other things fairly easily I would think?


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Old 06-29-2004, 05:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by kayelm
I was wondering if anyone here has purchased an airstream on Ebay without physically inspecting it??? Is this a crazy thing to do?

I like Ebay and have had very good experiences -- but I also have strict guidelines I have set for myself in my buying and selling. One of those guidelines limits the purchase amount. I think $200 is the max I have spent and was a little nervous doing that.

I am concerned about buying something that large that I haven't seen. Of course I could see it and miss a big problem. But I would find other things fairly easily I would think?


Kaye, welcome to the forums! Now, about Ebay: I have been on Ebay as long as there has been an Ebay, and have learned a couple of things. The first is, decide how much you are willing to bid for something, and bid that amount.
The second thing I learned (the hard way) is to assume that whatever you are bidding on is in half as good shape as indicated in the description, and will cost twice as much as the seller says to repair, and bid accordingly. I am sure I have l missed some bargains, but I have only been burned once, and not for a large amount.
As far as inspecting a trailer before purchase, bear in mind some of these things are half a continent away, and examining them all would be impossible. There is a thread here titled "So you want to buy a trailer that is three states away?". a search of the forum threads will find this. There are volunteer Airstream inspectors all over the country that are happy to go check over your prospective purchase for you, and send you photos, usually for just the cost of fuel and film. They can tell you if an Airstream is As Described, a little worse than stated, or a complete P.O.S.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 06-29-2004, 05:56 PM   #3
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I purchased a 1988 Excella 25' TT without seeing it. The seller sent plenty of pictures and I was fairly impressed with what I saw. I did expect there would be things wrong with it and there was.
The A/C was giving problems and the hot water heater needed a new circuit board.
Main reason I purchased sight unseen was it was the model I wanted with the configuration I wanted.
altogather I have put about $1,500 dollars into it.
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Old 06-29-2004, 06:52 PM   #4
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Purchased Airstream on Ebay

Last year as a newbie I purchased my first Airstream, a 1984 31' Excella, on Ebay sight unseen.....sort of.

Before bidding I read every thing I could on the forums here about Airstreams while I was searching for the mid bath configuration I wanted. I must thank all those forum contributers for what I learned before my purchase.

I COMMUNICATED with the seller a lot and got many photos before hand. Then I followed up with a thousand questions by telephone. I also learned the history of ownership--the first owner had 5 Airstreams in his lifetime and was the first of two owners (now i am the third.)

Then I won the bidding at $9,300 which was below the maximum I had set for myself. Yes, a big price but for an Airstream in excellent condition for its age with the length and configuration I wanted. (Even Andy at Inland RV had to admit it was in good shape needing only new axles for a long trip to Mexico.)

After sending my deposit to the Ebay seller I went to inspect the Airstream with the cashiers check for the balance in my hand two weeks later. There was no way I was going to let go of that check if the Airstream did not measure up to what was represented in our discussions. It was better than I expected and I was soon driving it from Kansas City, MO. to Santa Barbara, CA., more than 3 states away..... I am a happy Ebay buyer over this purchase.

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Old 06-29-2004, 07:11 PM   #5
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Purchase of Airstream on Ebay

We bought our Airstream on Ebay and although it needed the couches reupholstered and new carpet, everything electrical and all of the plumbing was in good shape. The dometic keeps everything very cold and works on both propane and electric. The hot water heater has been super. I think we were just lucky and thankfully the trailer was only fifty miles away.
We have had it for two years and the A/C is the best.

The previous owner was a real nice guy and very honest. We might do it again, but next time we probably would look at it first. Might not have this kind of luck the second time.

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Old 06-29-2004, 07:16 PM   #6
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Well said, Mark. I did the same earlier this year - bought a 71 Safari on Ebay from a guy in Wisconsin (2400 miles away). I used "Buy it Now" because I don't like to wait. Picked it up a week later. He had a lot of pictures and I asked him some questions about smoking/pets/floor rot and his reply was "no" to all of the above. I could also tell from pics that it wasn't abandoned in a field somewhere.

In fact it turned out to be pretty much as described - a little better in some ways, a little worse in others. Mostly better, and totally original, which is a treat. As Mark mentioned, I wouldn't have had any qualms about walking away if it turned out to be misrepresented, but it wasn't. Overall I am very pleased and the trailer has already brought me, and friends and family, lots of fun.
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kayelm
I was wondering if anyone here has purchased an airstream on Ebay without physically inspecting it??? Is this a crazy thing to do?
I bought my 2002 Bambi on eBay w/o physically inspecting it. It is not a crazy thing to do if you take adequate precautions which have already been mentioned in this thread (i.e., communication, photos, etc.). I also used an escrow company to manage the money and conditions so if the Airstream wasn't as represented by the buyer, the bank wouldn't release the money to the seller.

The Airstream was better than represented and the seller ended up throwing in hundreds of dollars of extras when I went to pick it up (i.e., 2 hitches, torsion bars, sway bar, chairs, hoses, extra electrical, etc.). In hindsight, if I ever do it again I would utilize one of the volunteer "inspectors." But, at the time I purchased my Airstream, I didn't now about this forum or the "inspectors."
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Old 06-30-2004, 05:24 AM   #8
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Bought mine sight unseen. Man did I get burned! Seller downright lied, also did not divulge major flaws. Paid $3200. sunk in another $2800. Never again. The upside however is that I got exactly what features I wanted: Center bath and Vista views all around. Real rare.
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Old 06-30-2004, 09:11 AM   #9
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I have done many, many Ebay transactions buying and selling. I bought all kinds of things, even an acoustic 12 string guitar which was quite a leap of faith for a pro guitarist.
Too many things can be wrong with it..much like an Airstream or many other for sale items.
I suggest looking hard at the feedback on the seller, emailing and calling prior to bidding to be sure...and asking for as much documentation, photos and repair orders if available to be faxed to you.
I bought mine off an internet ad, and did just that. The papers and photos told a lot, and the phone call cinched the deal.
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:56 AM   #10
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Wow. Thanks for all of the responses. One of my main concerns is getting one with a solid floor. After reading on the fourms, I know I am not up to a floor replacement.

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Old 06-30-2004, 11:56 AM   #11
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I bought my rig site unsee via ebay and would not do it again. The seller lied about the unit and i had to send all money up front before picking it up. I put the same amount of money into unit as I paid for it. It is in good shape now though and I like it. If I had it to do over again, I would see it in person before buying.

Good luck to you.
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Old 06-30-2004, 12:05 PM   #12
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did not buy my motorhome from eBay...but did buy it sight unseen from a dealer based on internet pics and emails. Mine turned out better than expected but waiting for the delivery was nerve racking!
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Old 07-17-2004, 05:38 AM   #13
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I've bought one thru EBay and another one thru the RV Trader - both several states away. The one on EBay was from a seller that had a list of feedbacks that showed he had sold several trailers and all the buyers seemed happy.

On the RV Trader one, I asked the seller to go thru the trailer with her camcorder and film every square inch of the trailer. I ended up with a 20 minute video that showed me more detail than any set of still photos.

Both times I felt I got exactly what I was promised.
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Old 07-20-2004, 04:43 PM   #14
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I have looked for about a year and a half on ebay and every other site that I could find that offered airstreams for sale. One time I was contacted by someone that hacked into ebay and got my loosing bid and offered me an invalid second chance offer. Thank god that I was savy enough to realize that when it is too good to be true it probally is. However, I just purchased my first carefully researched airstream and yes it turned out to be on ebay and it wasn't three states away! My best advise is be armed with knowledge ask lots of questions see additional pictures know value and set a final bid price and walk away and check when the bidding is done. I think I got a great deal and feel so happy to now own my very own vintage airstream that so far only needs some cosmetic work on an original trailer. My only problem is I think I bit off a bit more than I could chew as far as my vechicle and towing it but we are within specs and it towed home 300 miles without issues.
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Old 07-20-2004, 05:19 PM   #15
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I do a number of transactions on ebay. I pride myself on the limited positive feedback, as I only deal with Airstreams and Argosys. On the one hand, while the items that garner the most cash and interest on ebay are those that areo quite rare, or quite "ready to go", there appears to be an inflated value to airstreams. Put anything short of "ready to go" and you will get very few inquiries. The advantage of getting something on ebay however, is that you are protected to some extent to the 'contract' that ebay applies to all transactions. Furthermore, there are items that come up on ebay, that you may have been looking for for years. Case and point, I am still looking for a Divco milk truck. There is currently one on ebay, but it is overpriced. Nevertherless, this may sound strange, but having dealt with lots of people whether it'd be in purchasing or selling, I will die knowing that the vast majority of people are good, honest folks. This is prevalent in higher percentages than we are led to believe. Specially in rural parts of the country. This is only my opinion, I hope not to insult anyone out there.
Additionally, the people that are bombarded with inquiries early on, may become inflated with thougths of cash, and soon they raise their price.
My pennies on this matter.
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Old 07-24-2004, 12:23 PM   #16
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Well, I am high bidder on an Airstream on ebay. It is older (1955) and longer (26') than I was looking for originally. By tonight I may be an Airstream owner. I am alternating between excitement and worrying that I made a big mistake . Nine Hours and 47 minutes.
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Old 07-24-2004, 02:52 PM   #17
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Interesting Tire Carrier on that one kayelm.

Don't bid anymore on it until the last minutes of the Auction. Your just driving the price up.
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Old 08-22-2004, 10:58 PM   #18
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Hmmmmmm. I now own two Airstreams, both first disvcovered on eBay. My first purchase was from photos and seller description for a 1962 Flying Cloud. I paid $3500.00 for it and my father-in-law picked it up since I was traveling. My first quick inspection revealed a fair amoutn of work. Once work started I began to realize how damaged the trailer was. It was home to rats for the previous decade and they destroyed everything. I could not salvage much and even removed the bathroom and turned it into a sleeping area. Lessons learned: View it in person first, truist nobody! Don't buy an Airstream that someone lived in full time for an extended period. My Flying Cloud has been reborn however is a campground tent in that it does not have a bathroom and requires electricity (110 only) and water hookup (no holding tanks or water storage) These shortcomings aren't too bad but our desire for more had me looking for something else, something more complete.

Scannign eBay a few weeks ago I found a 1962 Overlander for Sale locally. I drove the few miles to the lot and looked it over. It is a diamond in the rough however my Flying CLoud experience has taught me much! I bought it as a sideline deal without bidding (the dealer reserved this as an option and I hate bidding!) We were both happy and I took my new Airstream home... Lesson Learned: Don't pay too much for a project trailer, and the look before buying closed the deal.
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Old 08-23-2004, 08:08 AM   #19
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Ebay misc. advice

I too have been on ebay since it's inception. When I first started, you could peruse every category, every item in about 5 minutes. I would routinely search for "guitar" and get no hits. Now you get about 35,000.

My biggest advice is never - never bid on an item until there is less than 1 minute remaining and then bid your maximum amount. I see people who will bid $100, get out bid, then bid $125..then get outbid..etc. This is invitation to seller shill bidding where they create a fake account and run up the bid. Your other advantage of only bidding at the last minute is that others who don't bid their maximum amount until they get outbid, will be left in the dust because they don't have time to get their next bid in..the auction's over.

If at anytime you get outbid, then get contacted by the seller with a story about the winning bidder backing out or something like that and offering you a chance to them to ebay. They are most likely up to no-good. Someone mentioned that they thought someone "hacked into ebay" to offer a bogus second chance to buy..I doubt anyone hacked into ebay..what was most likely happening is that you caught a shill-bidder in the act.

Now, on buying large items (cars, MH's, TT's) - be aware that many-many of these items end up selling "off ebay". I've spent some time watching cars and trailers for awhile, I notice a very large number of these type items, where potential buyers usually come and inspect the item before bidding, the auctions seem to end early.

I can speak from experience - because that's how I bought my AS TT. I'm not real proud of it but the seller told me his reserve - which I insisted on. I didn't want to drive the 200+ miles to go look at a TT if the reserve was ridiculous. So when he told me the reserve, I stuck that much cash in my pocket and..well to make a long story short, I drove it home that night and the auction ended early, the first full day of the auction. This is why ebay has hiked the fees for reserve-auctions. Previously, when reserve auction was practically free, people used ebay for advertising by putting a high reserve on the item, then skating on the final-value charges.

Someone else in this thread who got burned mentioned that the seller insisted on having all money in hand before he picked up the item - this should have been a dead-ringer giveaway that this was a bad deal waiting to happen. I always send a lot of emails with questions and such to sellers...not just to get more info but to see how the sellers react to questions. Poor responses(or no responses) to questions will usually be a tip that this seller is not a responsible individual.

Me personally - I'd have a hard time buying a TT sight unseen unless it was a fixer-upper. Maybe if I had a good idea of who the seller was I'd make a leap of faith, especially if the price was right. I've had my TT for just a few weeks now and made one short trip. Of course we found a few things wrong but nothing that I wouldn't consider a day-in-the-life of a TT owner. I doubt that the seller misrepresented anything.

Anyway...that's my long-winded ebay speech..hope the advice can help y'all down the line whether it's buying an AS TT or anything else.

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Old 08-25-2004, 02:03 PM   #20
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1979 Safari on eBay

I bought a 1979 Safari on eBay and it turned out better than I'd hoped. I think it is a matter of the honesty of both individuals, just like all transactions. But with eBay you don't know who is on the other side of the transaction. After winning the bid, it turned out that I bought it from the Airstream dealer in Los Banos, Ca. They were great. As luck would have it they were having a RV show at the Pleasanton, Ca. Fairgrounds, near my house. They had a truck coming this way to pick up their show trailer so they delivered my eBay purchase free. They described the trailer accurately so their were no suprises. It is a restroal project but I'm having a great time.

I wouldn't recommend buying an expensive item on eBay without inspecting it. I could have easily gotten burned, but I didn't. Just lucky I guess.
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