BBB Says Don’t Be Fooled By These RV Scams
The RV industry has seen huge spikes in sales this summer with families trying to find some semblance of vacation time in a safe, secluded manner.
“Due to the pandemic, a lot more people are buying RVs this year,” Said Jonathan Cook, owner of an RV repair company in Fresno, California. “It gives people a way to travel and spend time with their families while they have time off.”
However, with social distancing measures in place, many people have forgone the conventional method of taking a trip down to the local dealer to walk through different models. Instead, they are scouring the internet, looking for good deals on brands they trust. But as potential buyers are busy trying to find a bargain, online scammers are busy baiting their next victim.
What do online RV scams look like?
With the upswing in RV sales, the Better Business Bureau has seen an increase in online RV scams, and they are warning shoppers to be wary before making any purchase.
“We came across quite a few complaints within the BBB system about people that purchased campers or RVs online, and then they never got what they paid for,” said Oana Schneider with the Tri-State Better Business Bureau. Many never even received their RV and lost thousands of dollars.
BBB warns that RV scams are commonly posted on websites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and OfferUp. If the shopper clicks on one of these personal sale ads, he/she will be redirected to an insecure site to make the purchase.
Cook added that many of these RV scams list luxury RVs at incredibly low prices, another tactic to lure the unsuspecting customer. Typically these fake ads will request a partial or full payment with a promise to ship the unit as soon as possible.
How to avoid falling for one of these RV scams
“Scammers know that you are afraid, they know exactly what you may be looking into like an RV for example or buying a new car because you may think this is the right time with prices being down and everything. Everything that goes through your mind, probably a scammer out there has probably already figured out,”Said Schneider.
Experts with the BBB explain that you can be one step ahead of online scammers by taking these proactive steps:
- Research the seller. Use a website tracker to learn about when their website was created along with contact information to help you determine the seller’s authenticity and security.
- Pay using a traceable method, like using a credit card. You can dispute the payment later if the sale is fraudulent. Avoid wire transfers.
- Cross-check information on the seller’s website, including contact information and location. Give the company a quick call to make sure it is their actual number and look up the address using Google Maps.
- If you are dealing with a transporter or broker, make sure they include their Motor Carrier (MC) Docket Number on their website. This can be verified with the Department of Transportation’s SAFER website.
- Photos of an RV can be deceiving. Usually, an ad with one photo is a red flag. Instead of viewing photos, request Facetime interviews or live walk-through videos. During those interviews, ask lots of questions about the unit and its history, including the manufacturer’s VIN.
- Cross-check the RV’s value. When a deal looks like it’s too good to be true, it usually isn’t the real deal.
Stay up-to-date on the news
These RV scams are happening all across the country. News stations are reporting many stories about how online scams are costing people hundreds and thousands of dollars.
We can learn from the mistakes of these unsuspecting victims by learning about their particular cases and taking action to avoid being the next one. K-SAT Channel 12 News in San Antonio mentions a very unique case and also offers some words of wisdom by a BBB representative.
Be safe out there and protect yourself from these RV scams. If you’re in the market for an RV, you’ll want to know How To Determine The Right Price For A Used RV.