Man, this RV has to be a scam

Post #2 in a Series of Posts on my Travels and Life, more information here: Writing a Short book on my Two Years with RV

November – December 2010
Newark, Delaware

My post-graduate plan was simple. Generate passive income websites over a year with a focus in search engine optimization (SEO). Once, I had a stable source of side income then I could quit my job, buy my RV, and go off adventuring in the world. Instead, I ended up buying the RV first.

It was the perfect RV. A 1996 Winnebago Rialta with under 100,000 miles. The extra seats had been removed making room for a possible desk. The hideous carpet had been replaced with hardwood floors. I had been tracking Ebay for months and had expected to pay at least $15,000 for such a RV, and this price was far below. But, I still didn’t have any passive income. Even worse, it was nearly winter.

However, I thought why not place a bid? No one had yet hit the reserve price. So, even if I was the highest bidder as long as I didn’t hit the reserve then I wouldn’t be obligated to buy the RV.

A few days later, the auction ended. It was a Friday night. I had been frantically clicking refresh as the auction ended while sitting at Central Perk Cafe with two of my friends.

I was the highest bidder without passing the reserve. My bid? $14,000. Immediately, I called the owner, Jessica, to see if she would accept my $14k offer. She was receptive but needed to talk to her bank to see if they would accept my offer. I nervously waited over the weekend.

On a side note, I was surprised to hear she was also a Tynan reader. I actually found some of her RV question posts on the forums. Small world.

By Monday, I heard back that my offer was approved. But, I became paranoid that I was getting scammed. Her bank wanted me to pay first to a payment collection agency with a different name than the bank. And I would only get the title afterwards. Not to mention the fact, I still hadn’t actually seen the RV beyond photos. In addition, it turned out that Jessica had moved to Hawaii, and the RV was sitting in a lot in Myrtle Beach. At this point, I didn’t even know if a RV really exists.

A month passes as I tried to figure out what to do. In the meantime, I was collecting signed letters from all parties involved. I also hired a national car inspection agency to do a report on the RV which comes back positive. On the plus side, I negotiated with her bank to lower the buying price to $11,000. I might of been able to get away with even less, but I didn’t want to lose the RV either.

The stress and uncertainty of parting with money that took me years to save for a used motorhome I’ve never seen was killing me. More than once, I talked to my housemate, Andrew about it. Each time, like everyone else, he pushed me to continue with the sale. Everyone’s vicariously living through me, sharing the thrill of my dangers and adventures without any of the actual risk. But, those talks were necessary emotional outlets to get pass my fears and anxieties.

In the end, I gave them my credit card information and part with my life savings on faith that there would be a working, good quality RV waiting for me in South Carolina. A week before Christmas, I flew down to Myrtle Beach to pickup my RV having never even seen any RVs in real life. But, as I learned over the next few years, faith is a necessity in the thrilling, difficult, and painful process of growth.

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