This comment was left on our Daily Tips Newsletter by Brian Burry. Here’s Brian’s story:
Before my wife would consider us purchasing an RV, she demanded I rent one (we rented a 31-foot Class C years ago) so I did. I went online and found an RV Share and rented a 40-foot Class A DP for 4 days at a cost of $800 with a $500 deposit up-front. The photos were beautiful and the owner owned three more brand-new RVs. This was his little business. “Great!”
He said he would deliver to my house in central California so I could drive my wife to Pismo Beach, where I rented us a nice RV park space. Then the RV owner asked if I could go ahead and pay him the $800 ahead of time, as his wife needed a minor surgery. “Sure,” I said. He responded, “Can we be PayPal Friends and Relatives so that I don’t lose so much money in fees on the Business payment account?” Again, I said sure.
Then a couple of weeks later the RV owner asked me, “Since we have a business relationship, could you loan me between $500 and $1000?” I replied, “We do not have such a relationship. Since you own three Class A RVs I will do a Title Loan where the money is likened against the RV.” It was crickets after that. I heard nothing from him.
It got worse when I checked on the business address he used on the contract. It turned out to be a pizza parlor in Northern California who had never heard of this rascal. When I asked him about it, he said, “I used that because it was the actual location where I wrote up the contract.” He then explained that he won’t use his personal address because of a Home Invasion Robbery where he was beaten up. His phone turned out to be a text-only cell phone and I lost all communications with him.
Whew, thank goodness I used my Wells Fargo credit card to pay the crook who took my $1,300! The bank said yes, you are protected from fraud, opened a case, and within a few weeks gave my account the $1,300 back.
Just seven days prior to my RV trip to celebrate our 44th Anniversary, I had to find a real RV to rent! I found another site, called the owner, researched his address and sure enough even saw the RV he owned parked in his driveway on online maps photo. I went to his home, he was only about 17 miles from Pismo, and I took possession of the RV for our trip!
I was told by RV rental companies in the Pismo area that I was the 4th or 5th victim of such a scam. I was so upset with myself that I was not able to determine it was a scam until too late.
I want to tell everyone considering renting online to be careful. I found there was no record of the suspect’s phony name and could not find him ANYWHERE.
Happily, I purchased a used Class A Newmar Ventana of our own last August, and will never have to rent another RV again! I love it and can’t wait for this darn coronavirus to get behind us to go enjoy it more!
In response to Brian’s comment, reader TravelingMan wrote: “‘Trust but Verify.’ EVERYONE is guilty until proven innocent these days. If you hire a contractor for ANYTHING, NO PAY until the job is completed to YOUR satisfaction. If you don’t pay for what was specifically contracted for, they have a right to place a lien on your property. That is their protection. WAY TOO MANY SCAMMERS THESE DAYS! If they need half up front, they don’t know how to run their business! Clue one!”