Caveat Emptor!


The buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made. 

Please excuse the rant but I just got off the phone with a "noteworthy" Bonanza brokerage company about an aircraft I was interested in for a client of mine and I thought the experience was worth sharing with any potential aircraft buyer. 

This particular company has a Bonanza for sale that on the surface just looks a bit overpriced so one would think that if you bought the airplane at 30% off of ask, it would be a fair transaction. The truth of the matter is that the aircraft's cam and lifters had some "spalding, but three lifters have been replaced with used serviceable replacements." Spalding? Really? Hmmm... What about the camshaft? Certainly if the lifters showed evidence of spalling (correct terminology) there must have been some pitting and/or corrosion on the cam? "Yeah but it was very minor and really not a problem."

The last time I bought a Bonanza for a client that had minor corrosion on the cam lobes and lifters, I negotiated $45K off the agreed price because it was a matter of time before the engine would start making metal. That "matter of time" turned out to be exactly 42 hours but it was not an issue financially. I had planned for the engine replacement in my negotiations with the seller and my client knew what to expect. I don't know if the broker of this particular airplane just didn't know that such a condition would probably lead to a rapid decline in the condition of the aircraft engine but he should have given the number of Bonanzas and Barons his firm sells every year and the length of time he's been at this game.

For all the BeechTalkers out there that may be considering the purchase of your first airplane... listen up. The aircraft brokerage business is an unregulated enterprise... and its like the Wild West in my opinion. There are solid and honest people out there selling airplanes but in my experience, they are the exception and not the rule. The fiduciary relationship in any brokerage agreement lies between the broker and the seller, not the buyer. He or she is the innocent bystander in these transactions and sometimes ends up as collateral damage.

Never ever EVER make the assumption that the person representing the airplane to you is your consultant, that they will advise you prudently, that they will help educate you, that they are an expert and know what they are talking about (no matter how long they've been in business), that they are knowledgeable about the market for the particular airplane you are seeking to purchase or that they are going to be forthright and share information with you openly and honestly. 

The Latin term "caveat emptor" refers to the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made. Never has this been more true than when it comes to buying an airplane. If you're a new aircraft buyer or lacking on your technical knowledge of airplanes, consider hiring a knowledgeable and independent agent to represent you. They will save you thousands of dollars and hours of frustration, advise you carefully, and help you make sound decisions. A good buyer's agent will mitigate the risks involved in your airplane purchase and help ensure an enjoyable and quality purchase experience.

There.... I feel better! Thanks for allowing me to vent and keep the blue side up.