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Old 01-26-2014, 03:01 PM   #1
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Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

I figure many of you have probably dealt with this. Say you decide to buy a van out of state. You get it checked out by local mechanic, negotiate with seller, have someone look at it, etc. But you don't plan to travel to bring it back, you will have it delivered to you.

What are the best ways to transmit payment? Years ago a friend sent a cashier's check through the mail, it got lost, and he went through many months of hoops to get his $$ back. I suppose you could do a wire transfer, but wouldn't the seller need to agree to give out their bank account? Or are there services set up to deal with this type of transaction? Or does it depend on the states you are in?

I guess there is also the question of the title transfer, etc.

I did this when I bought my Subaru, but it's been a while and I was working with a car dealer so they had it all in place, and the paperwork came with the auto transport guy.

Just curious if there are any suggestions out there. I haven't made any deals yet, but am looking forward.

Best,
Stephanie
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

When I bought a motorcycle a couple years ago, the lawyer I bought it from got his money wired to him. IIRC, I called my bank, verified it was me and the account had the money, then handed the phone to the seller. He gave them his bank info to do a direct wire. We were both satisfied.

I would contact your bank to see if/how they do this beforehand, so you can then know what to do before dealing with the seller.

later,
jan
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:08 PM   #3
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

If you are concerned about it, call the local police station and ask them if you can meet there and do the transfer. That way, you could carry cash and not be too concerned.

Another option would be the local AAA office - they should be able to verify the proper paperwork has been completed.

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Old 01-26-2014, 04:47 PM   #4
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

I'm not suspecting anything afoul with anyone I've talked with about vans, it's just the way my mind works to try and anticipate and be proactive. I should have been more clear - I probably won't travel so I won't be there in person to take possession from a seller.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:27 PM   #5
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

Quote:
Originally Posted by catinmoon
I'm not suspecting anything afoul with anyone I've talked with about vans, it's just the way my mind works to try and anticipate and be proactive. I should have been more clear - I probably won't travel so I won't be there in person to take possession from a seller.
I personally would not do it if I couldn't be there to do the transaction in person. Too many crafty scam artists out there AND how can you really check out the condition of the van? If I were you, and this is just my opinion of course, I would get a cheap flight wherever the van is and travel with a Cashier's check for most of the amount and the last few thousand in cash. That way you can truly access condition and have room to negotiate if needed with the cash you brought. Then, you can hop on a plane home with a title/bill of sale and ship it home at your convenience. To me, there is no alternative for being present to see the van and meeting the seller in person. The few hundred you spend in airfare and time may just save you many thousands in headaches later. What if you get a van delivered that smells like puke or an ashtray? It's a vehicle you will spend a lot of time in.

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Old 01-26-2014, 07:24 PM   #6
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

The seller could talk to his bank and open a new savings account (usually only takes $50). He could then give you the bank routing number and account number, and you could go to your bank and make the wire transfer. Once he verifies the funds were wired he could send the title via certified mail and deliver the van to the transport company.

-Bryce
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:29 PM   #7
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

Every time you write a check you are showing ABA (Routing Number) and the Acct. Number - so what?

It is like pixelateiing the license plate in your online photos - thousands of people see them every day as you drive and park in public.

Do a "Buy it Now" on ebay and get their protection.
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:22 AM   #8
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

If you trust the deal just overnight FedEx a cashiers check. If you don't trust them you better get there in person.

IMHO
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:40 AM   #9
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

The safest way is to go there, not an option of course, but the second safest way then is to send somebody. If a plane ticket or travel time is still not in the realm of possibility, I'd contact some local auto broker and ask for them to do the exchange. In theory it should be tons less work than their usual commission, where they have to search out, have inspected, detail the vehicle, register paper plates etc. Be clear that all you want is a 3rd party and ask how much that would run you, and ask several to get a ballpark. Not that I've ever done this, I go out in person and still feel like I could be being ripped off until they hand me the title.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:45 AM   #10
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Re: Safest way to pay for a van from out of area

Are you buying a $40,000 SMB or a $5,000 cargo van? You may want to consider taking 86Scotty's advice and buy a round trip plane ticket to the location. If you're worried about the seller selling the van from under you, offer a deposit to hold the van until you can get there. If you're buying a $5,000 cargo van, it may not make sense, but if you're spending a good chunk of change, it may be worth it to see everything and make the transaction in person.

If flying overthere is not an option, wiring money isnt an issue. As BajaSportsMobile mentioned, the routing number and account number isn't exactly as private as one might think. But you'll need a bit more info before you can send a wire (recipient's address, phone number, bank address, etc.).
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