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Monday, October 26, 2009

Consignment Dissatisfaction

I have purchased a used consignment motorhome. Do dealerships that do this type of sales business have a responsibility to safety check the vehicles before selling the units? In my case the salesman had noticed the brakes where not to his liking, so I was told that they had the unit sent to a shop to be serviced. I was told that the brake calipers were froze and that the shop repaired them. Upon picking up the motorhome I had the oil system, transmission, cooling, and brake system serviced. Visual inspection of areas such as the cooling system showed it had been doctored to appear to look in good shape. Inspection of the engine included a compression test, which showed that the engine would need extensive work. At the present time the motorhome is again in the shop having the motor replaced. Since I have purchased this RV, it has been in the shop more than on the road. My understanding is that dealers selling a vehicle have them inspected before selling them. My dealer claims work was preformed. If so I feel that problems should have been found, fixed or at least reported to us buyers. I am kicking myself in the butt for this purchase, due to hindsight and not listening to the warning bells that went off before purchasing this vehicle. I realize there is probably very little I can do except continue to pour money into this rig to make it road worthy and livable.
R.D., (Salinas, CA)

R.D., so sorry to hear about the problems surrounding your motorhome purchase. Buying used can be a tricky acquisition. My first question would be; how reputable is the selling dealer? Reputable dealers will always inspect used RVs and list the problems. There is a greater risk when buying a consignment coach. Typically the dealer will not put any money into the unit before a sale citing the fact that this is the responsibility of the selling party. A responsible dealer, selling consignment units, will still PDI (Pre Delivery Inspect) the coach, make a list of the discrepancies and estimate repair costs to the seller. The seller can make the decision not to fix anything (typically) since he's trying to get out from underneath the rig for some reason. However, honest business practices dictate the dealer should still make the repair list available to the buyer and that then becomes a negotiating tool between buyer and seller. The dealer would still make money on the repairs.

Now if the coach was listed "As is" then the buyer assumes all the responsibility and all bets are off. In those cases the buyer would be wise to have an independent professional come in and PDI the rig, make the discrepancy list and approach the seller. The buyer alone would pay for this service (about four to five labor hours typically), but it could be considered cheap insurance. Was there any warranty offered by the dealer or did he state "As is?" From a liability standpoint, many dealers will fix the safety related items; brakes, LP leaks, etc., and than bill the seller for those costs. If the selling dealer is not willing to work with you on making the coach useable, perhaps a consultation with an attorney is in order. You may or may not have a legitimate course of action, but it would take an attorney to sort through all the applicable laws in your state to find out for sure. I wish you luck!


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