Pat won an auction for an RV on eBay last week. He bid a little over $15,000 for a vehicle that was listed for sale by the RV company for $29,999 on other sites. Pat was worried that Nelson’s RV might try to find a loophole to cancel the auction since he’d scored such a great deal, so he immediately sent his required $250 deposit to them and asked for someone at Nelson’s RV to contact him. Eventually, after some run around, he got the following email—with one of the ballsiest excuses we’ve ever seen.
We are devastated with our discovery this morning of a swarm of Africanized killer bees in the 2007 Sandpiper 325RG 5th wheel that you have a deposit on. We have used multiple poisons in an attempt eradicate them. We have vacuumed up the bees that covered the floors, cabinets, and furniture. We tried to clean the traces of honey on the countertops and cabinet tops as completely as possible. This is one of the terrible acts of Mother Nature we have in Arizona. As best we can determine, the bees entered from the door that had been left opened yesterday morning. The interior of this trailer does have a strong chemical odor from the poison and is TOXIC. Our insurance regulations prohibit us from selling this 5th wheel at this time.
Due to these circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to proceed with the sale of this 2007 Sandpiper 325RG 5th wheel. This vehicle is unsafe for occupancy or use. We are therefore refunding your deposit at this time. We have attached several photos. Watch EBay for other close-outs we will be posting soon.
Pat examined the photos, but they are very small (we’re posting them exactly as he sent them to us) so it’s kind of hard to tell if they’ve been manipulated.
The two cans of “TOXIC” chemicals pictured in the second picture are indoor household foggers manufactured by Hot Shot and Ortho. Both were designed to be used, and are safe, for indoor use.
Within a few minutes of receiving the e-mail, I received another from PayPal indicating that my deposit had been refunded by Nelson RV.
My attorney advised me that he felt all the elements were in place for a contract and that even if their story were true, it should be my decision as to whether I wanted to accept the trailer in that condition. If a product that has been offered for sale does not turn out to be as advertised, then the buyer can decide to not go through with the sale. He told me that if I wanted it, I should send them an E-mail explaining my position and see how they respond.
So Pat resubmitted his $250 deposit and sent Nelson RV the following email:
After discussions with my attorney today and reviewing material safety data sheets of both the Ortho and Hot Shot brand indoor foggers that you used, I have decided that I will still take the 5th wheel. Thank you for disclosing the unfortunate event.
I would like to send a local representative to your dealership to inspect the unit as my agent. I would also like to resubmit the necessary deposit as required in our contract.
Please call me to arrange a time for closing as I intend on traveling to Arizona to pick up the Sandpiper within the next week.
This seemed to push Nelson RV to the breaking point, because they dropped the killer bees story and have turned to a new tactic, saying Pat was mistaken and never bought a trailer from them, and in fact there is no trailer anymore, so quit bothering them.
I received a call from Jim Nelson. Jim said that he understood that I “think” I have bought a trailer from Nelson RV and that it was just EBay and Bee’s nonsense that I was talking to James Nelson about.[Editor: What?] But that he had the owner there, Angelita Nelson, and that he was going to put her on the phone.
Angelita got on the phone and said “You did not buy a trailer from us and to quit calling and e-mailing us.” I Responded that the trailer was offered to the highest bidder in an auction, and that I was the highest bidder. Therefore I believe we have a contract for the sale. Angelina replied forcefully, “There is no contract! And we don’t even have the trailer anymore.” I responded by saying, that is not what the e-mails I have from you say, and I hope you still have the trailer because we have a deal. She then said in a very angry tone, “We do not have a deal! And we will not allow you to swindle us out of $15,000.” At which point the phone went dead.
Pat sent one more email to the Nelsons—Jim, James, and Angelina—in which he tried to educate them on how eBay works, and urged them to seek legal counsel so that they’d understand their obligation to fulfill the contract. As of Thursday July 24th, they haven’t responded and Pat hasn’t received a refund on his second deposit.
The Nelsons have indicated to him that someone will get back to him today, July 25th. Unless, of course, Africanized killer bees infest their computer and render it unusable. Once killer honey gets all up in your motherboard, you can forget about it.