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Thread: First time importing, who to trust ?

  1. #1

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    Default First time importing, who to trust ?

    Hi guys. I'm in the UK and have been looking for several months now at importing a RF series Stepwagon with the intention of conversion into a cheap(ish !) camper van.
    Stepwagons do turn up for sale in the UK but they aren't don't usually tick all the boxes (colour, trim, seating combo etc), They also tend to be pretty expensive and combined with the rest of the cost of the conversion usually aren't in my meager budget !
    There seem to be a lot of nice dealer cars available in Japan and the few sites I've seen with the total cost calculated are quite tempting. I do however realize that the sites that list all the dealer vehicles aren't probably the best or safest way to obtain such a vehicle as they don't own any stock and the condition of the vehicles is likely to be difficult to ascertain. That leaves the auctions and the various companies that offer to bid, inspect and ship your chosen vehicle for a fee but who to trust ? I understand that this is probably the most asked and argued question on this site and I have read through most of the recommendations (and warnings) that people have posted over the years but I'm still pretty confused ! Obviously my purchase is going to be a fairly small one price wise but I still need to choose carefully. I'm considering Japan Car Direct, Auction House Japan and very nearly purchased from AutoRec (who were actually very helpful and seemed quite genuine !). Any views on any of these companies and anybody recommend alternatives ?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    Hey nobananas welcome again and you are absolutely right in your approach and thinking. The problem with a lot of dealer stock is that is often the highest source of complaint I see on the forums (eg. Tradecarview or Goo-net seller outright scammed them on condition or sent a different vehicle).

    I haven't searched for your model specifically but know sometimes for some vehicles you can actually find vehicles at auction that have been converted into campers already.

    The auctions are tempting because you have some reasonable assurance on the mileage, condition, model etc... And then you are again correct who to trust? Virtually all agents Exporters/Importers have access to the same cars but like I told a friend recently why is it that cars purchased through Exporter ABC vs XYZ often look more clean or seem to have less problems?

    I've had very few problems overall with the majority of my purchases but even I have ran into the issue of an exporter not shipping my car (I had to literally contact every agency in Japan to put pressure on them) and another Exporter sent me a bad vehicle/damaged it in servicing and defrauded me on the purchase price (negotiated sale which the buyer can never be sure of the true selling price-never go through negotiation is my advice there is no upside to doing this).

    I know very little about Autorec but believe I have seen some cars from them years ago at my local port here in New Westminser, Canada but don't know anything further. Japan Car Direct has been a very long-time member on our forums and a recent Sponsor (I have never heard any bad feedback about them).

    Auction House Japan I have been in touch with I don't trust them because I never trust those companies with 24/7 outsourced agents and staff they are more likely to scam you and there is no way to get help or escalate to anyone in Japan (usually because management doesn't care either since Japan has a very strict and competent management structure I am saying this is by design and not by oversight or accident). It is a dead giveaway by the style of their English that they are in the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and they often trick you by masking their number as being from Japan when you dial in or they call out to you (some are at least honest to admit they are not in Japan).

    Hope the above helps!

  3. #3

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    Sorry for the bump again but I just came across this one review thread which I believe is most likely fake or posted by their outsourced staff:

    https://forums.jdmvip.com/threads/77...with-your-team!

  4. #4

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    "Sorry for the bump again but I just came across this one review thread which I believe is most likely fake or posted by their outsourced staff:"

    That was my thought too, I did a bit of searching and found a few reviews for Auction House Japan but they were all posted by the same name at different dates.
    Thanks for your response, very informative. Have heard good things about Brave, are they still trading as there website seems very quiet, I registered but couldn't find anywhere to login afterwards.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobananas View Post
    "Sorry for the bump again but I just came across this one review thread which I believe is most likely fake or posted by their outsourced staff:"

    That was my thought too, I did a bit of searching and found a few reviews for Auction House Japan but they were all posted by the same name at different dates.
    Thanks for your response, very informative. Have heard good things about Brave, are they still trading as there website seems very quiet, I registered but couldn't find anywhere to login afterwards.
    Very interesting that the reviews are being spread alone. That is a fairly spammy low-tech way but there are also some reviews which are "semi-real" where they will use a picture of a car they didn't buy and the most sophisticated is where they really did buy the car but post what I call a "semi-fake review" where they don't mention things like "I had big problems but my Exporter paid me $X so I didn't mention the car came with a bad diff or rod knock".

    Mark from Brave Auto has been a long-time member but I haven't heard from in awhile. I've bought cars from him and never had any issues and he has helped me once in the past getting a car shipped. I do think he's still trading and have no reason to worry in that sense. But from what I gather from his most recent postings and my last e-mails to him is that he is extremely busy and has to filter e-mails to be more efficient.

  6. #6

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    Hello! Has anyone used car exporters: SBT Japan? Any reviews? Are they reputable company?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by reno2018 View Post
    Hello! Has anyone used car exporters: SBT Japan? Any reviews? Are they reputable company?
    They are the unnamed company (now named by you ) from this post: https://forums.jdmvip.com/threads/84...6361#post96361

    The problem with companies like SBT Japan is that you will never talk to anyone in Japan. I would advise you to stay far away from any company in Japan using outsourced agents. I found that they were rude and dishonest right off the bat (look at how hard it is to find their prices for buying at auction try asking and you may get different prices each time). They use 100% outsourced agents and even trying to escalate still gets you to the Philippines or Pakistan. Companies that operate this way in Japan do it deliberately so their Japan staff never have to get their hands dirty. Japanese companies are managed extremely well, they know what is going on and you'll never have recourse if they decide to scam you as others have complained about.

    I found a few complaints (there are more than this too):

    http://www.supplierblacklist.com/2015/02/11/sbt-japan/
    https://www.consumercomplaints.in/sb...hicle-c1655907

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