A Fool and His RV Money
So we’re fiending for that Class C Diesel Sprinter. We’re looking all over for it – RV Trader, dealerships, Craig’s List, Penny Saver, Sears Catalog, and recommendations from family, friends, friends of friends, and Nigerian princes. And then we hit pay dirt: An eBay ad from ykonform1492. He has a 2014 Thor Siesta 24ST, which is (almost) exactly what we want! And he’s offering it for $65,000, which is (almost) exactly what we want to pay! And he only lives 1,000 miles away, which is only 1,000 miles further than we were hoping! We’re in Dallas, Texas, and the seller is in Nowhere, Ohio.
What we are choosing to do is not what we would recommend to anyone. And it is contrary to the strongly-worded advice of family, friends, friends of friends, and Nigerian princes (“dE@r Frend, we see moniTer you’re electronic em@ils, and this deel you make is not wise, Pls tell me your soshil security nUMber and wyre me only 1$ US for bester @dvising”).
Nobody was bidding on our prized RV! So Don-Michael emailed the seller, Mr. Ykonform1492. They spoke on the phone, and Ykon said he bought it from a lifelong friend, who bought it new. Ykon called himself a “dinosaur” and said he’s 70. But he sounded 40. That Sprinter was keeping him vibrant! Don-Michael told him all about our Americana, year-long travel dream for the family, and convinced Ykon to sell for $60,000. Ykon sounded totes legit and like a nice guy. He even said that he has business coming up in Texas in a couple of weeks and would drive it down from Ohio for us! How convenient!
Ykon told us enough to find him online, as the owner of a business in Ohio. We even saw pics of him, and he did look significantly over 40. Don-Michael also looked up the name of the lifelong friend he bought it from, and called that friend to confirm our little RV’s origin story. (Andie did not like this, as it seemed to her that we had become stalker-ish internet weirdos.) That friend raved about Ykon and confirmed the whole tale.
Ykon told us to “handle it through my banker.” (He owns a banker!) We looked up the bank and phone number online, and, if Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Ohio is a pretend bank, they have a very nice pretend website, and a very nice FDIC number. So we called the bank’s main number and were connected to the banker that Ykon owns. That banker raved about what a wonderful man Ykon is, and then acted huffy about having to help us with such a small transaction. We asked how the buyer and seller can act so as to each have a guarantee at the same time. And the bank-slave was all, “You don’t need to worry with Ron.” Thanks.
We are pre-approved at our bank to finance this little Dream Machine, so we called and asked our bank how it would work. They explained that we would sign off on the loan, and they would pay off the lien at Ykon’s bank, and Ykon’s bank would send the title to us. Do you see the problem with this? So we ask our bank, “So… we pay the title… and then we hope he brings it?” And they’re like, “Well, you’ll have the title.” And we’re like, “But… not the RV…” And they go, “Yes, but you’ll have the check for the seller for whatever he gets above the lien amount.” “And what if that is, like, $500? And he doesn’t show up?” “Yeah, that would be bad.” “Yeah.”
So obviously we want to know it’s an RV that actually exists and is in good condition, so we start looking for RV techs to inspect it. They are harder to find in Nowhere, OH than you might think. The RV dealers are like, “We inspect our own RVs. We could sell you one.” One guy did generously offer a referral over to his friend, Timmy. “Timmy has no teeth, but I swear he’s good!” We checked sites for certified RV techs (e.g., https://nrvia.org/locate/), but they were far and few. We found only one that could do it, on one specific date, before he runs off to Washington to live it up for a month. And Ykon texted that he was out on business that day. Coincidence! We didn’t ask why his wife, dog, or 50 employees couldn’t hand a key to the RV tech, but we did tell him the trouble we were having locating an RV tech, and he told us three local RV dealers that could do it, and said he would drive it to any one of them for inspection for us.
We called the first one, and the receptionist was like, “Oh, Ykon! He’s a wonderful man! I don’t think we’ve ever serviced his rig… let me see… no, we haven’t, but he’s just wonderful.” We called the next one, and they told us what an amazing guy he is, too…. but said they don’t inspect others’ RVs. The third one didn’t answer. (When they finally called back a few days later, they’d never heard of Ykon. Weird, right? Everyone knows Ykon!) Ykon is the most famous and beloved businessman in Ohio! In a 50 mile radius, all know and love him.
At this point, we’ve given up on verifying that there is a real Thor Siesta 24ST in Nowhere, OH, and decided on the smart gamble: Ykon is clearly a wonderful guy; everyone agrees. And he says it has no problems, and he’ll service it before bringing it. Problem solved! Everyone who knows Ykon knows you can trust Ykon. Even Ykon knows it. We let him know we’ll go with our trust in him, and he texted back, “All you have in this life is your family and your word.” I hope, in the end, we have our family, our word, and our RV….
Wish us luck!
(P.S. We just found out how much Ykon owes on his RV. We are paying $60,000, and he owes a mere $59,753.20. There’s no way he won’t drive our RV 1,000 miles for his $246.80 check.)