Some Days Are Diamonds, Some Days Are Stones, was made popular by John Denver in 1981.
Yesterday’s post focused on one incredible “diamond day” for an Arkansas couple.
The RVing lifestyle is like no other but occasionally a stone or two is thrown into the mix. By taking certain precautions and safety checks on travel days, we’re likely to experience mostly “diamond days,” but that’s the topic of another post.
The RV Industry, unfortunately, is not immune from scam artists.
The following stories have recently been in the News for All the Wrong Reasons—the first three relate to consignment sales of recreational vehicles.
Complaints Filed Against Defunct Dealership
A dozen customers of Top-O-Hill RV Service Center in Aurora, south of Portland, have filed formal complaints with the Oregon Department of Justice over consignment contracts, according to local television station KGW News.
The complaints range from Top-O-Hill selling their RV but not paying them any money for the sale to a camper trailer disappearing without the owner notified where it is or if it has been sold.
Some customers who bought RVs from Workman said they found out they could not get a title for their purchase, even though they had paid the agreed amount.
The owner, Bill Workman, died at a local hospital February 2nd due to an illness.
RV rental business owner faces 97 charges
The Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC) has charged Arnold Donszelmann of Leisure RV Rentals Ltd. in Millet, Alberta, with 97 charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, The Edmonton Journal reported. Donszelmann is charged with 49 counts of fraud over $5,000 and 48 counts of theft over $5,000.
The charges resulted from a three-year investigation by the AMVIC, said Bob Hamilton, AMVIC’s executive director. Hamilton said the investigation was sparked by numerous customer complaints against the business.
After selling someone an RV, Donszelmann allegedly asked customers to lease the vehicle back to him for use in his rental business, promising them annual revenue and free storage in exchange. Donszelmann allegedly then sold these RVs to new owners.
Hamilton said 28 people had been defrauded out of $3 million by the business.
Leisure RV’s business license was revoked in 2007 by AMVIC, and the regulatory body released a statement in 2008 warning consumers that the business was continuing to operate without a license.
Donszelmann was fined $6,000 in September, 2006, after pleading guilty to a charge of selling vehicles without a consignment license as required under Alberta’s Fair Trading Act.
Former RV Dealer Sentenced in Fraud Case
A Lake Wales, Florida, man was sentenced to a year in prison for stealing more than $78,000 by selling customers’ campers and recreational vehicles on consignment and keeping the money, The Ledger recently reported.
Senobio “Sonny” Rodriguez, 65, pleaded guilty to scheme to defraud as part of a plea deal.
Circuit Judge Karla F. Wright also ordered that Rodriguez pay $78,900 in restitution and serve 20 years of probation.
Rodriguez’s requested that his incarceration be delayed for 10 days so he could undergo some testing recommended by his doctor. Prosecutors objected, saying Rodriguez had plenty of time to take care of such matters prior to accepting the plea deal. The judge denied Rodriguez’s request.
Rodriguez worked as the general manager of Lake Wales RV Consignment Center on U.S. 27, and was arrested in October 2009, according to an arrest report.
He began taking in RVs and campers in 2007 on consignment and selling them, but once the items sold, Rodriguez wouldn’t pay the original owners. The investigation revealed six victims, in Lakeland, Bonifay, Zephyrhills, Sebring, and Lake Wales, the report states.
Detectives also discovered Rodriguez gambled a large amount of money at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. He lost $434,934 from 2005 through 2008, and his total bets during that time was more than $4.4 million, the report states.
To be continued tomorrow…
Bottom line, anytime you hand over anything to someone else to sell, you’re at risk at losing it all.
— Ed Teachout, KGW Consumer Reporter