Monday, December 15, 2008

Buying the Baby Bus -- An Epic Tale Part 3 and 4

And now back to Dave the Amazing WonderDad, as he spins an entrancing yarn about the purchase of our largest vehicle to date. Today, money matters and the SCAM!

Dave and Elizabeth rock out at the baby shower!

Step 3: The line of credit

Always listen to your father. That is what my father told me and that is what I’m going to tell my daughter. And my father told me to get a line of credit. He swears by them and the interest is tax deductible. What could be wrong with that?

We have some equity in our house so I didn’t think it would a problem. So armed with the feeling that we had good credit (no for us) we called up the bank lending line.

“You’re looking good,” said the voice on the other line, “No need to include your wife’s income on the application.”

“We’re in, baby” I said with a wink and a knowing grin when I hung up. “The guy was talking football and San Diego. We’re pals.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Sanger,” said the next guy I talked to. Was this dude the first guys boss? I wasn’t quite sure, and may never know. “It looks pretty good but we will need your wife’s income too. We will need to start a whole new application.”

Grrrr. That first guy wasn’t my pal after all.

So we did the application over.

“You’re looking good,” said the woman’s voice on the other end. What was her relation to the first to men I spoke to. Who knows?!? Such is modern banking.

“Yessss,” I said.

“You have been approved” said the next voice, male or female, I wasn’t sure.

The old man was right again.

Now we had a source of money that would allow us to purchase the vehicle we wanted from any source. Dealer or private seller and we wouldn’t have to worry about financing. This was very important because we had picked out our dream vehicle…

Step 4: What could possibly go wrong?

Those were the words we actually said. Or should I say I said. From researching the internet for used class B motor homes built on Dodge Sprinter bodies I found the holy grail -- a 2006 Pleasure Way Plateau with all the trimmings. I’m talking rear view camera, people! Cherry wood interior for the Mrs. Did I mention only 22,000 miles? And here’s the kicker: This ride was $12,000 less and 2 years newer than the vehicles we had seen in Texas. Sure it was in Vegas but that wasn’t going to be a problem.

The seller had emailed me back with the promise that I would love this vehicle.
All I had to do was transfer the money to an Ebay escrow account and the seller would ship the van down at his expense. I would then have 5 days to decide whether I wanted to keep the vehicle and if I didn’t want it he would ship it back! What could possibly go wrong?

Sure the guy kept saying he was selling it for charity (we figured the guy need a tax dodge or something), and his name was Jhon (not John), and he never seemed to answer my questions. This was too good to be true.

As fate would have it I was going to be in Las Vegas in a couple weeks! I happily emailed him and proposed that we meet in Vegas, I could give the van a look-over and save him the shipping in case it was no good. Not only this, I’d be armed with a line of credit that would allow me to buy this baby outright.

“You will be very pleased with this vehicle,” he replied. “If you would like to start this transaction please give me your shipping information and I will tell you how to transfer the money.”

“But I would like to see the vehicle,” I replied. “Can I meet you on the 1st?”

“If you wish to start this transaction I will reserve the boat for you.”

Excuse me?!?! The boat?!??!

It was about this time that Elizabeth emailed me with details of an internet scam that sounded very much like this. Scammed like a couple of rubes. How embarrassing.

Now about this time the phone rings. It’s the bank on the line.

“We’re sorry Mr. Sanger. We cannot give you a line of credit.”


“Yes you have been approved but there is a law in Texas that doesn’t allow someone who has already borrowed on their home to do it again. You can refinance but you cannot have a line of credit.”

So let’s recap: We went from having the perfect vehicle and having the financing for it to not having any vehicle and having no financing at all, all in the space of a few short hours. What could go wrong indeed.

Elizabeth’s two cents: Sometime the universe figures it out for you. I’m pretty certain that if the bank had handed us the money right away, hassle free, we would have sent it directly to Jhon. We would have sent it to Jhon to purchase a vehicle that only ever existed as an internet scam dream. Thank you universe!

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