Even RVers have been scammed while buying campers online.
So should you shop for an RV online? Or should you only shop at dealerships and visit local private sellers?
Is RV Trader safe? And, really, how does it work?
Let’s dive in and take a look at this popular marketplace!
What Is RV Trader?
RV Trader is an online marketplace where buyers can find RVs.
Dealers can post their new and used inventory. Private sellers can also post their RVs for sale.
Millions of visitors use RV Trader each month to view more than 200,000 different RVs.
RV Trader provides easy access to different brands, models, floorplans, and types of RVs all over the country.
If you’re looking for a Forest River travel trailer, you can find many options. If you’re looking for a Newmar motorhome, they’ve got that too.
No matter if your budget is $10,000, $100,000, or $1 million, you’ll find what you’re looking for from the comfort of your home.
Is RV Trader Safe to Shop On?
Private sellers or dealers must pay a fee to post on RV Trader.
This single fact makes RV Trader less susceptible to scams than other online marketplaces because most scammers won’t pay the fee.
In our opinion, by far, RV Trader is a safer option than Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. In fact, we think it’s the safest place to search for RVs online.
Even though the marketplace is online, most sellers are reputable dealers with physical business locations.
RV Trader’s Inventory
As mentioned above, RV Trader has a huge amount of inventory. If you’re shopping for an RV, this may be the place to start to get an idea of what your budget will get you.
You can see which types of RVs are available in your area. Lots of RV dealers will post their inventory on RV Trader, too, so this decreases the amount of time you have to spend driving from one dealer to another.
The most popular class of RV is the travel trailer, with more than 100,000 postings on RV Trader. Fifth wheels come in second with more than 31,000 units, followed by Class As and Class Cs. You’ll find more than 13,000 toy haulers and more than 8,000 Class Bs. The rest of the inventory includes pop-up campers, truck campers, park models, and fish houses.
You can also compare pricing from state to state.
If you’re willing to travel, you might find the same make and model out of state for $5,000 less than in your home state. Having a nationwide inventory that includes RVs for any budget is definitely an advantage of RV Trader that you won’t find anywhere else.
Pro Tip: Here are the pros & cons of all RV types.
How Are RVs Priced on RV Trader?
Sellers aren’t going to be jacking up their prices to cover the $54.95 monthly fee. But RV Trader is a site where individuals can sell their RVs for whatever price they want.
You’ll find good deals and not-so-good deals, just like anywhere else you shop.
Dealers will have RVs priced according to MSRP. Some dealers mark their inventory down a certain percentage or offer other incentives like special financing or warranties.
You can find a $2,000 2001 Coleman Mesa pop-up camper or an $875,000 2022 Class C Renegade Ikon. You can find a $247,000 2021 DRV Luxury Suites FullHouse toy hauler or an $8,900 1994 Skyline Weekender truck camper.
So you’ll find models for every budget and every class of RV.
Pro Tip: Ready to buy an RV, but don’t know how much to expect to pay? This is How Much Is Your RV Monthly Payment? We’ve Got Answers.
What to Know Before You Buy an RV on RV Trader
It’s always a good idea to avoid buying at first sight. You might make an impulse buy that isn’t suitable for your camping needs, or you might pay more than you should.
These four suggestions will help guide you during the buying process, so you end up with the best RV at the best price.
Do Your Research
As with any large purchase, you want to do your homework. Whether you’re buying a house, car, or RV, you need to know what you’re getting. Compare prices and features. Know what you must have and what you can live without. Know what GVWR and CCC mean.
What’s the difference between a gas engine and a diesel engine, and what’s the cost and maintenance of each? Can you actually get a toy hauler for less than $30,000, or are you wasting your time looking for that type of RV on the budget you have?
Doing some research at the beginning may take a while, but it’ll save you time when you start searching for units. It may also save you money.
Talk to the Seller
RV Trader allows potential buyers to contact the seller.
If it’s a dealer, often you can text or chat immediately or go to the dealer’s website. If it’s a private seller, you can send an email. Sometimes buyers don’t want to deal with private sellers because they fear scams. You can filter your search to only see inventory posted by dealers.
But again, because of the monthly fee to post an ad, it’s generally safer to buy from private sellers on RV Trader than anywhere else.
Once you contact the seller, you can ask for additional photos or get answers to your questions. This is where doing your research beforehand is important. Has there ever been any water damage? Has the RV been involved in an accident? Will they give you the VIN so you can check for insurance claims and such?
Sometimes sellers are willing to give you their phone number so you can have a conversation. Others are willing to do a walk-around video if they live in another state. Talking to the seller is another way to continue researching before making your final purchase decision.
Get Pictures (and Videos) of Everything
If the seller doesn’t respond to your emails, you need to move on to another unit. It’s very important to get pictures and videos of the entire rig.
If a seller doesn’t provide that information, they’re probably hiding something, or it could be a scam.
Thoroughly look over the interior and exterior. If the unit is close by, it’s worth driving to see it in person. If it’s halfway across the country, it might not be feasible to see it in person before agreeing to purchase it.
Get pictures of the inside of the cabinets, the inside of every storage bay, the underbelly, the roof, the inside of the air conditioning units, etc. If the seller will do a video call so you can ask questions as they walk around, that’s even better. Don’t be afraid to ask to see more.
And if you’re still leary, hire an RV inspector to go check it out for you. This is money well spent to have peace of mind.
Keep an Eye Out for Scams
Scams are always possible. It’s just the nature of the internet.
Again, we have more confidence in RV Trader than any other online marketplace. But, you can never be too safe.
This is why pictures, videos, and phone calls are so important. You want to make sure this private seller really has this RV.
You should never send money or give personal information until you see the RV. If you can’t pick it up and the private seller is delivering it, you probably want to consider hiring an RV inspector. Another option is asking a friend or relative who might live nearby to see it.
If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If anything seems fishy, it probably is. But doing your research, talking to the seller, and getting additional photos and videos make falling victim to a scam much less likely.
Does RV Trader Offer Buyer Protection?
RV Trader doesn’t offer buyer protection. The site doesn’t even offer refunds to sellers for their $54.95 fee.
But they do have a fraud department and provide links to federal sites to report fraud if you believe you’ve been a victim of a scam.
This isn’t unusual as most other online marketplaces don’t offer buyer protection either. It would be quite difficult to monitor 200,000 listings that constantly change. This is why it’s up to you to do your research.
Pro Tip: Before you buy, make sure you’re paying a fair price. We uncovered Does an RV Blue Book Even Exist?
Should You Shop for RVs on RV Trader?
RV Trader is a good place to start your search. If you’re leery of buying online without seeing the unit in person, you can still use RV Trader to see what’s available in your area and compare prices across the country. The site can also save you time by eliminating the need to drive around to several dealerships in your area.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, then you can start driving around to see rigs in person. However, you should feel confident in shopping for an RV on RV Trader. It’s as safe as it gets when buying online in the 21st century.
Always Play It Safe
When shopping for a new or used RV, it’s critical to do your research, talk to the seller, and get as many pictures and videos as possible. You don’t want to throw away $50,000 or $100,000 (or more), whether it’s an online purchase or an in-person purchase.
Shopping on RV Trader is a safe and convenient way to find your next RV. As long as you keep your guard up and don’t jump into a sale immediately, you can find the best model for your camping needs.
With such a large inventory across all types of RVs, RV Trader will likely have several options that fit your budget and needs. Have you started doing your research?
Is RV Trader one of the places you’ll be searching for your next RV?
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