Bait and switch? Insurance scam? (long-winded)


I read a classified advertisment in the paper on Friday, and buried in there was a mention of "molding planes". Cool. I call the number and set up an appointment for Saturday morning. She's a SLOL (sweet little old lady), and leads me to a selection of rather neglected antique wooden planes. "Beautiful" I murmer, and start thinking about how I can resurrect them. Some are checked and warped , and a couple are missing their irons and wedges, so those might be a bit cheaper. Then she lead me back to the garage, and shows me a Powrkraft 10 inch RAS. "I can't figure out how to get the carriage to move", she says, so I show her the levers, clamps and indexing bosses' functions. "My roof's leaking", so I take a look at her roof, and conclude that she needs a tear off. "There's some furniture that needs work", so I'm checking out an antique table base, chair leg, and some trim on a rosewood veneered bureau. I'm such a sucker for a SLOL. Getting back to the planes, the SLOL sez, "$125.00 for the lot", and I'm agreeable, but I'm also short of cash. I plunk down $40.00, and tell her I'll be right back with the remainder. 20 minutes later, I'm there, but she's had "time to do the math", and up went the price to $200.00. Hmmmm. Her being a SLOL and all, I say nothing, then I remember the furniture repairs she needs, and offer to perform the repairs in trade for the planes. The items she needs repairing were damaged by some vagrant who squatted at her place while she was out of town, so the insurance company will take care of the bill. She just needs a reciept for the repairs (which I could pad, she says!). Well, I don't know what to charge for these repairs, so I suggest that she get an estimate from a local restorer, and I'll beat the estimate by a decent margin. Fine, she says, and writes me a reciept for the 40 bucks deposit. Needless to say, I didn't get to jump that day. (Told you this was long, but it was MUCH longer for me!) What do y'all think of this situation? Update to follow. Tom
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Idunno, I have found that people either do the math or not (I am the type of person who does the math involentarily).
Going back on the deal is pretty bogus, and the insurance thing simply confirms that you can't rely on her doing "the right thing".
Entering into am agreement to trade services for planes seems like providing her with the with more opportunity tweek the definition of a deal.
I would insist on some planes up front, your $40 in hand or both. At this point I would advise you to extract something more than a handshake from this deal.
It just doesn't smell right.
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When she went up on the price, the best thing to do was just back out of the deal all together. She probably would have seen the lost sale and then started counter bidding at least. When she brought up the insurance scam it just doubly proved that she was lacking in the scruples department. First she renegged on the agreed upon price. Then she tried to involve you in an insurance fraud. (A felony in most states).
My advice is to not get involved with these types. Doesn't it make you wonder if the planes and tools were stolen? Sure would be a bummer to have to police show up at your house in a few weeks to recover those stolen tools. You will be out your $200.00, your planes, and you may get charged with possession of stolen property.
My two cents.
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I'm reminded of the old saying, "if you loan a man $20 and never see him again, it was probably worth it." Adjusting for inflation, walking away from the whole thing right now might be the best $40 you ever spent.
OTOH, it's a little tempting to stay in, just to see how the plot plays out. This has all the elements of a good story so far: character development, dramatic tension, foreshadowing. Anyone else have a feeling that we haven't heard the last of that leaking roof, and that vagrant is going to come back into the picture at some point (pssst... HE'S IN THE ATTIC).
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Sounds good to me - since you're apparently 'in', I'm curious to see what happens. I would have backed out as soon as she raised the price. If 20 minutes of "time to do the math" was BAD for you in the first deal, think about how much time she'll have to do math before you're done with furniture repairs, etc. If you stay in, write up and have her sign lots more receipts, contracts, etc so at least you'll have something to show in small claims court the next time she does math. Andy
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tom wrote:

I would've asked for a refund of my $40.. I agree with the other posters that trading a service to this lady is asking for trouble.
I fully expect her to say your repairs are not satisfactory or for her to pull some other kind of scam. Don't be surprised to see yourself fixing her roof and a multitude of other chores while she dangles those planes in front of you.
In fact, I'd go back today and look at the planes again. Tell her you've reconsidered (mention you've "done the math" LOL) and want your money back.
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tom wrote:

Screw this old bitty. Why do you even have to ask?
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Larry Bud wrote:

Because while it may be that simple to YOU, it's not that simple to HIM. I would tend to agree with HIM. Sure, there are the makings for a messy situation... but that could be said about nearly ANY transaction between two people. In the end it's an old story... each party trying to get as much as they possible can out of the deal. Needless to say, shields up and proceed with caution... and that goes for ANY transaction.
Joe Barta
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Larry Bud wrote: Screw this old bitty. Why do you even have to ask?
Because I value your opinion. And, I've got a soft spot for my elders. Maybe too soft. Tom
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tom wrote:

I have to agree with everyone else: from over here it looks like a scary proposition. But it would probably take me a couple months to come to that on my own.
er
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Enoch Root wrote:

A follow-up as promised: As of today, March 2nd, she's not gotten the furniture repair estimates, and wishes me to "just pay the remainder of the agreed upon price for the planes". These planes would be a labor of love to restore, themselves. Told her "Let's just negate the deal, as you don't seem to understand what a deal it would be for you to have these repairs done in exchange for the planes". After a little circumlocution, she sez she'll get that estimate, and hangs up the phone. More to follow! Tom
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