by Russ and Tiña De Maris
How it works: You and the consignment operator agree on a sale price. From there, the dealer keeps anything above your minimum. The dealer may also require a “commission” or percentage fee of your “bottom line price.” You ask $5,000, the dealer keeps a percentage of the $5,000 — above what he sells the rig for. He may also require a “dealer fee” of a set amount.
Here’s how this might work out:
Your asking price: $5,000.00
Dealer sells the RV for: $7,000.00
Dealer commission percentage (10%): $500.00 (based on your asking price).
Dealer Fee: $50.00
Bottom line: Dealer gets $2,550.00; you get $4,450.00
No matter your “asking” price, the dealer will probably tell you it’s too high, that you’ll need to lower it. You can counter by doing your homework before bargaining. Check out Internet prices and NADA guides; walk RV dealer lots for a similar rig and try to establish a fair price. It’s subjective; we all tend to figure our “stuff” is worth more than the next guy’s. And watch out for crooks. “Fly by nights” are known to take RVs on consignment, sell them, take the cash and vanish. Before you consign, check with the Better Business Bureau and your state’s Attorney General for complaints.
Another shady trick: They have a buyer for your rig! But (“sigh”) the customer is offering the exact price that you want to walk away with. However, if you’d be willing to give us X-dollars for our trouble, we’ll waive the commission percentage. No, you won’t get your exact asking price, but hey, you’ve still sold that rig! The trick is, the customer came in with a good offer, above your asking price. The dealer is selling you a fish story to pad his pocket. Either refuse to buy it — don’t budge on your sales price, or tell the dealer you’ll come look at his “customer’s” signed purchase offer. If he refuses to show the order, you know there’s a problem. If it’s legitimate, you’ll need to decide whether the deal is worth it to you.
Whatever you do, always follow these guidelines:
•Make sure the deal is in writing and signed, and that you understand and agree to it.
•Who is responsible for insurance when the rig is on the lot? Your own RV insurance may not cover it.
•Who pays off title liens?
•Will you let the dealer accept a “trade in” as part purchase price? How will it factor into your bottom line?
•Who pays for repairs, detailing, transportation charges, advertising, storage, or other expenses?
•What happens if the dealer doesn’t sell your rig in the time you settle on?
•NEVER leave the title with the dealer until a sale is made and confirmed in writing — and you get a copy.
Some states have specific laws applying to vehicle consignment dealers. Check with the state’s Attorney General’s office.
photo: nateone on flickr.com