To say the internet is a massive place is definitely an understatement. Because of this, it’s easy for anyone to try and trick someone into thinking they’re offering a good deal when they’re really not. This is especially true when it comes to buying and shopping for good, dependable RVs and dealers online. And we know that a lot of RVers’ first stop when searching for a new one is their favorite dealer’s website. Being aware of fraud is the first step in not being taken advantage of. Most sellers and dealers are not out to scam anyone, but it always helps to be aware of fraud red flags. Below are a few tips on how to avoid scams from other websites that claim untrue or outrageous statements.
- First things first: If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re shopping for an RV, chances are you know estimates on how much each make or model may cost. Go with your gut feeling. So when you see a model on sale for tens of thousands more or less than what it should be going for, your instinct is probably correct. Move on to the next dealer.
- Do not wire any amount of money to a dealer or private seller. Even if you are a private dealer yourself. Technology makes it so easy for scammers to get your bank info. They will request you to wire money because they don’t need an ID to get the funds, they can receive it anywhere in the world and it’s incredibly fast. If this is unavoidable, just verify the services you’re using are legit.
- Never make a purchase solely based on photos from the dealer’s website or a classified site. Though the photos are what may have sold you on the RV, it’s still a really good idea to see the RV or motorhome in person before purchasing it. Just because the dealer or seller has posted photos doesn’t necessarily mean the RV actually exists. They could have easily gotten photos from another website. Photos also don’t show you everything you’ll see in person. The RV may have a massive scratch or dent on the exterior that’s hard to miss, but if all their photos are clear of that mark, to the viewer, it doesn’t exist.
- Learn about the RV’s history. Think about the research you do before buying a car. You attain its VIN number, get a maintenance history on it, you know its market value and you may even have a complete inspection done before you make a decision. The exact same should go for purchasing an RV.
- Verify the dealer or seller’s legitimacy. Do some research on the seller or dealer to ensure they are real. You can always call and speak with them beforehand, as well. It’s always a good idea to meet them in person before you make any decisions. This should raise a red flag if they refuse to meet or speak with you instead of emailing.
- If you’re buying from a private seller, do so in public. You never know someone’s intentions, so it’s always a good idea to meet and conduct business in a public place. The seller shouldn’t have issues with this and will probably happily comply if you ask to meet in public.
- Requesting personal information. NEVER give anyone any information that will lead them to you. Requests for bank info, credit score or any financial or personal information too early in the game should be a red flag for you. Avoid working with this seller or dealer if they ask for any of this information.
- Always ask for a detailed receipt. Any legit dealer or seller should give you this without you having to ask. Be sure the receipt states whether it is under warranty or if you’re buying it as is. Attaining all of the hard copies of records, receipts, etc that you can may come in handy one day should you decide to sell your RV. You should also be sure to ask for the title to the RV and any sort of previous history.
We also understand that there are several gray areas when it comes to buying anything online. So just use your best judgement. If something seems strange or off, move on to another seller. You’ll find the right RV for you.
As always, come back every day to the RVUSA blog for the RV Find of the Week on Monday, Travel Destination Tuesday, Featured RV Dealer on Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and RV Tips and Tricks on Friday. Leave us a message below if you have any thoughts, memories or comments. We’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to receive our daily blog posts directly in your inbox, click here to join our free email list.