How to Find Renovated RVs for Sale That Aren’t Scams

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A used motorhome RV set against a dark cloudy sky with a scam alert sign.

With the RV market booming, many hopeful new RVers are seeking renovated RVs for sale. Buying a renovated RV can be riskier than sending a large sum of cash to a foreign prince who emailed asking for your assistance. There are legitimate renovated RVs for sale out there, and today we’ll help you avoid a scam. Let’s get to it!

Beware of RV Sale Scams: They’re Everywhere

You may jump on popular selling websites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist and see the perfect price on a perfectly renovated RV. Don’t let your excitement get the best of you; there are scams everywhere. Some scammers may not even have an RV to sell but will make a fake posting.

There are also scammers who have an actual RV for sale, but they may be hiding a few things. You never want to buy an RV that’s not as described; always have a good understanding of what you’re getting into. 

It may be worth having a third party inspect the rig to avoid spending a premium price on a less than stellar RV. If the seller or dealer doesn’t like the idea of an inspection, it’s a major scam red flag.

How to Find Renovated RVs for Sale That Aren’t Scams

It can be tricky to spot scams online, but it helps if you search on certain websites. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist can be notorious for scam listings, but that doesn’t mean every listing is a scam. And there are many other highly reputable resources. 

For example, the RV Inspiration Marketplace is a great place to shop. Their listings are constantly changing, but they often have everything from travel trailers and fifth wheels to both class A and C RVs for sale. If you’re looking to sell your RV, this is also a great place to list your RV.

Another popular option that many RVers look to is RV Trader. This is a trustworthy site as listings aren’t free and often require the seller to pay for them. It helps eliminate potential bogus listings, and you can search for RVs for sale in your area or for a specific model of RV anywhere in the country.

These are both great resources that post renovated RVs for sale. You can shop on these sites and have confidence that you’re not getting sucked into a scam. You should still use common sense and make sure you use our tips for spotting an RV sale scam.

A man looks happy buying a renovated rv.

How to Spot an RV Sale Scam

There are a handful of things you can do to spot an RV sale scam. Let’s see what we can do to help protect you from being a victim!

The Price Is Way Too Low

It could be a scam if you see an RV with an incredibly low price, especially in the current market. A quality RV right now will have no trouble selling at a premium price in the current market. Scammers want you to feel like you’re getting a sweet deal and for you to act fast before someone else does.

Acting fast on a price that’s way too low might seem to make financial sense, but it’s more likely the opposite. Don’t let yourself fall for this scam by acting quickly. Take your time through the process to avoid making a poor financial decision.

There’s a Sob Story 

Scammers also like to play on your emotions. Providing a sob story about why they’re trying to sell the RV is another major red flag for a scam. A scammer wants to get you emotionally involved in the sale. An experienced scammer knows that if they can get your emotions going, you’re more likely to make a decision that you wouldn’t otherwise make when thinking rationally.

We’re not saying everyone with a sob story is a scammer, but we think it should be enough to raise a few concerns. When someone provides many unnecessary details about a situation or circumstance, it’s generally a sign they’re hiding or covering up something. Proceed with caution if your dreamy renovated RV for sale comes with a sob story.

They Want to Ship the RV to You “Risk-Free”

There’s a scam growing in popularity where the scammers tell you they want to be generous and let you test out the RV before committing. They’ll offer to send the RV to you and give you a certain number of days to try it out before deciding, but they’ll ask you to cover the shipping fees. Don’t fall for it; it’s most definitely a scam.

The scammer will likely take your money and the delivery information. However, you won’t see the RV. By the time you realize what’s happened, the scammer will be long gone with your money.

If a scammer goes this route and you ask to see the RV, they’ll likely have another story or reason why they can’t show you. They’ll say the RV is sitting in storage or offer another excuse for why they cannot access it currently.

There’s Only One or Two Pictures

If you’ve ever bought any products from Facebook Marketplace or other popular sale sites, it’s almost always expected to have multiple pictures of an item. If a seller can only produce one or two RV pictures, it should activate your scam radar.

Don’t trust anyone with only one or two pictures of an RV they’re selling. There should be a generous number of pictures so you can see the RV’s exterior and interior. Any seller being stingy with their images is either trying to scam you or not serious about selling.

The inside of an RV that looks clean and in good shape.

They Ask for Money to “Hold” It

Anyone seeking a private sale on an RV that’s requesting money in advance to “hold” an RV for you is likely looking to rip you off. If the seller has issues with you not being willing to provide a payment to “hold” the RV, they’re likely up to no good. 

If you’re going through an authorized dealership, it’s appropriate to put down money on an RV in advance to reserve it for you. However, this is not common practice in private sales, and you should walk away quickly from any private sale that requires money to hold it.

How to Avoid RV Sale Scams

Knowing the signs is one of the best things you can do to avoid RV scams, but that’s not all. Let’s look at a few things you can do to help avoid scams while looking for renovated RVs for sale. Let’s get started!

Trust Your Gut

Our intuition is often more potent than we give it credit. If you get a weird vibe from the seller or the situation, listen to it. There are many times where your intuition can save you from making a massive mistake. Don’t ignore your gut when making a significant financial decision like buying an RV, especially a used one. 

If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Is

When we’re desperate, we often forget the simple truth that if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Don’t fall for a scam because you can’t pass up on a good deal.

Scammers will often make a deal too good to be true in hopes that you’ll jump at the opportunity. You’ll do whatever it takes to avoid someone else jumping on the offer first, which is a recipe for making a bad financial decision and getting ripped off.

Never Send Money Without Seeing an RV

You should never send money without seeing an RV. If a seller is serious about selling, they won’t require a deposit or any form of payment to hold it.

Sending money before you see the RV is an excellent way never to see that money again. The worst-case scenario in this situation is that there is no RV and that the scammer stops communicating with you once they receive the money. We can’t caution you enough to never send money for a rig you haven’t seen.

Use Common Sense and Street Smarts 

Scammers continually change their tactics to rip people off. Listing renovated RVs for sale is a popular tactic now, but who knows what it will be in a year or two. However, if you follow our tips and trust your instincts, you can make the best financial decision when it comes to purchasing your next renovated RV. 

Have you ever encountered an RV scam or something like it?

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