Avoid RV rental scams: Learn about the 3 most common schemes and how to protect yourself.

By viola wallace | September 24, 2018

Camping is a favourite past time of many Canadians. Many prefer RVs over tents for comfort and convenience. But most of us either can’t afford or are unwilling to go into debt to purchase an RV  or can’t justify the expense to only get out camping a few times a year. Renting is a good way to enjoy camping with an RV without the responsibility of owning one.

Unfortunately some people are taking advantage of the open rental market to defraud others. Whether you’re an owner or a renter it’s important to be informed and aware of potential fraud schemes. Here are a three of the most common RV rental fraud schemes:

1. Failure to Provide a Rental RV

With this scam an RV is listed online and rented out. The renter will request full payment or a deposit however when it comes time for the RV to be dropped off they never show. Often the RV doesn’t even exist.

The best way to avoid this is to rent from a reputable company such as Outdoorsy or agree to exchange payment only when you meet up (or give a deposit amount that you’re okay with losing if it’s a scam).

2. False Damage Claims

An owner may sometimes falsely claim that their RV was damaged while in your possession when in reality the damage was already present or happened after you returned the RV. If there are no records or evidence that this damage existed prior to renting and that the RV was returned in the same condition then you could be obligated to compensate the owner. Avoid such a situation by ensuring that you do a thorough check of the interior and exterior of the RV before you drive away. Document with pictures and ensure that there’s paperwork stating all existing damage and that there was no additional damage to the unit when you return it – and keep a copy for yourself. Any damage you uncover should be documented by both of you. It’s just like renting a car – there’s no reason not to do this when you rent an RV .

3. Non-Payment

As an owner one the biggest risks relates to getting paid. You could fall victim to a bounced  cheque credit card charge back or an e-payment that ostensibly has been deposited into to your account but doesn’t show up. Protect yourself with a standard payment system. Ensure you receive money or have a working credit card on file before you let go of your RV.

The best way to avoid these kinds of issues is to rent through a reputable company or site like Outdoorsy which offers insurance protection for both parties . Remember that your personal RV insurance is void as soon as you rent it out unless you do so through an approved third party service like Outdoorsy .

How to Avoid RV Rental Fraud

If you choose to rent from an individual or operate your rental on your own there are precautions that both parties can take against RV rental fraud.

  • Ask to see the title of the RV to protect yourself from renting a stolen RV.
  • Document the condition of the RV before you rent it out as an owner or renter and document it again when it is returned.
  • Ensure there is a contract outlining existing damage what the RV can be used for where it can go how long the rental period is and other responsibilities of the owner and renter (such as for on-the-road repairs what happens in the event of an accident or damage).
  • Check out the other party before you rent by googling them.

Above all use common sense. If something strikes you as off don’t brush it aside. Our gut instincts are often right!