Cranky Ape Auction For RVs: Is It Worth It?

Auctioning And Buying At Cranky Ape (CrankyApe RV)

This is my review of Cranky Ape that encompasses my own experience as a customer and the comments from our readers in the social networks and in the comments forum.


At the end of the article below, I briefly list the Cranky Ape pros and cons in a few bullet points for your consideration. It is a platform for buying and selling recreational vehicles that have encrypted security with many website visits what allows you to have many potential candidates to purchase your vehicle. Likewise, you have a huge selection of RVs to buy in different conditions.

The cons that I saw, is that it is not clear how protection against shill bidding is provided to the customers in these auctions and that RVs as sold “as is” what obliges the customer to visit the facilities of Cranky Ape to inspect the target recreational vehicle, thereby losing many of the advantages of online auctioning.

So, let´s go into the description of the activities since the initial registration that you can do in Cranky Ape and how you can take a lot of advantage if you are a private person, or you are a dealer with an organization behind you. Cranky Ape (this is the internet moniker, so will also find CrankyApe or Cranky Ape) offers a platform for buying and selling vehicles, be it ATVs, cars, motorcycles, trailers, RVs, or vans. There are a few things that you may need to know before getting started with CrankyApe that you have to be careful with.

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Registration In Cranky Ape: Actually It Is Not Completely Free

To start auctioning on any online platform registration is the first step and Cranky Ape is no exception. You can start with a free trial for thirty days and see if you find it suitable.

Therefore, you start by providing Cranky Ape your username and generating a password as per the terms and conditions of the website. You can register either as an individual, as I did or as an organization or dealer. However, unlike some other platforms, Cranky Ape is not entirely free, as we said, despite the initial free trial.

To start participating in the auctions you need to pay a nominal annual fee of fifty dollars for the first time, and then forty-five dollars for each following year. They do not automatically deduct the yearly fee from your card so you would need to do that manually each year. It happened however that I will receive an email a month before the due date, as a reminder. One more thing to understand before registering with Cranky Ape is that it would be better to provide them with your real name and address, as they will use this information for billing purposes, namely, to create a bill of sale.

Inevitably everything starts with registration on the platform. After registration in Cranky Ape, you choose the product and read the details. However, you must understand that there are no guarantees that the product would be exactly the same as mentioned on the platform, though Cranky Ape, that claims to try its best to ensure that. It means that all items are sold “AS IS.”


Issues With E-mails After Registration in CrankyApe

I was not receiving the emails from Cranky Ape in my inbox, so I went to the spam folder and there they were. That is a common issue in the beginning, as many email providers filter emails based on the message content, subject, and so on. Emails regarding sales, various offers, are more likely to be filtered and sent to the spam folder.

Therefore, if you feel that you are not receiving emails, then it would be better to check the spam filter and include Cranky Ape in the safe sender’s list. A way for including CrankyApe in safe senders list would differ a bit for each provider so you would need to check with your own provider how to include a mail address in the safe addresses roster.

Are There Additional Requirements For Dealers To Register With Cranky Ape?

Nothing specific, but the dealer would need to provide a copy of the dealer’s license.

Reservation Of The Item

Every item has a so-called “reserve price” at Cranky Ape. You can interpret reserve price as the minimum price asked by the seller. When you make a bid on a product, the website will show one of the messages “Reserve met OR Reserve not met.”

If the reserve is met, the highest bidder gets the right to buy a product. However, if the reserve is not met, then the seller can decide to reduce the reserve price or give a reserve waiver and sell the product. If the reserve is not met, it is entirely up to the seller whether to sell the product at lower than the minimum asked price or not.

Payment in Cranky Ape After Winning The Bid

After winning the bid in Cranky Ape, in an auction of English auction-style, you will retrieve information for further actions if the reserve (minimum price asked by the seller) has been met. This information may be filtered by your email provider, so it is good advice to check your spam folder.

Once you have won the bid, you must not refuse payment otherwise you have to pay the default fee. Therefore, be completely serious before making any bid on the platform.

There are several methods of making the payment. However, Cranky Ape’s preferred method of receiving the payment is through “Wire transfer.”  Detailed wire instructions will be sent by email, and a person would have to make payment within three business days, else pay a late fee of five percent per day.

Cranky Ape would confirm the payment receipt within 24-48 hours, as it is the time taken by banks to process the payment. In the cases of the comments of the users on our Facebook page, it took two working days after the wire transfer was released. Cranky Ape also has the option of cash payment at its Minnesota location. Another way is to pay via credit card with an additional processing fee of three percent Similarly, Cranky Ape would charge $25 extra for processing the payments made from outside the United States.

Cranky Ape does not accept any checks from individual persons and only checks from legal entities, such as corporations when they are supported by a bank guarantee.

Pick Up Information

Cranky Ape does not provide delivery by default, as most of the items sold are bulky and then there are certain legal obligations to be fulfilled before the delivery of the product to the client can take place.

It means that the client would have to arrange pick-up within fourteen days of winning the bid or otherwise pay $25 for each day of delay after the fourteenth.

Nevertheless, the buyer can also negotiate temporary storage of items before the aforementioned due date of fourteen days. Cranky Ape can release the article to an authorized third party on written information by the buyer. I have not used this feature.

This seems useful when you want to authorize a logistics company, like a 3PL, to retrieve the RV or spare parts purchased in Cranky Ape and be delivered in your location afterward.

Cranky Ape warns that they would not assist the customer while picking up the unit, so the customer must come fully prepared for it. For example, shipping may require straps, or drain units of fuels and so on.

What Are The Defaulting Penalties in Cranky Ape?

Once you have won the bid and informed about it, there is no way that you can refuse to buy that item or make a payment.

This is because your offer of a contract in the bid was accepted and the relation is legally binding for the participants in the contract. If you do so, you will have to pay defaulting penalties. The defaulting penalty is either equal to the cost of the unit or $1500 whichever is less. Paying the default penalty does not mean that you can get the item, as it is not buying.

So as an example, if you refuse to purchase an item that costs $500, then your defaulting penalty is $500, but if you refuse to buy an item that costs $20000, your defaulting penalty would be $1500. However, things do not end with paying the penalty. Defaulters are banned from carrying out any further activities on the platform.

What Should International Buyers Know When Using Crankyape?

Several years ago, since 2017, we started to note complaints about Cranky Ape on our Facebook page from overseas buyers in the European Union, who are about ten percent of our readers in RV Favorites.

For an international buyer, there are some extra steps involved, depending on the location of the buyer. Therefore, the buyer needs to inquire about all the requirements for importing the item into the country. Generally, it would require more documents, and there would be customs and other duties on the articles.

There is a problem, unrelated to Cranky Ape, because of the ban on products that have asbestos. Asbestos is found in vehicles and some RVs in particular. Therefore, for some products, the European Union requires certificates that the product is free from asbestos in order to allow the import. The United States has not banned asbestos, so it is still present in many products.

Original Paperwork Of Items Bought At CrankyApe

All original paperwork is with Cranky Ape, at their head office in Minnesota. Crankyape would send these papers, in my case via UPS within 3-5 business days of receiving the payment at no extra cost to the buyer. No issues here. You can put these papers in a folder and keep them at home.

Few Additional Services in Cranky Ape

This service fee will depend on the cost of the item and the type of item. It may be as less as 3.5% or as high as 10% (fifteen percent for miscellaneous items), additionally, the seller may pay a small fee for handling documentation.

To accurately calculate the transaction costs one must visit their website for the specific category of product, and carefully read the terms and conditions. These conditions may vary for each different category. Cranky Ape does not help with loading or any logistics activities.

However, at some facilities, Crankyape may provide some limited assistance. Therefore, it is recommended that the buyer should come prepared accordingly. Nonetheless, buyers may inquire about support, what of course will come at a cost.

Inspecting An RV Before Bidding

Of course, you can go and inspect the RV before bidding. In fact, bidders, actually prospective buyers, are encouraged to go and inspect the items before bidding at the location mentioned on the website, since Crankyape sells the items on “AS IS” condition.

It does not mean that Cranky Ape has some evil intentions, anyway. However, there is no way for it to scrutinize so many items on sale. Sometimes equipment may not work as intended for reasons like battery discharge and so on and there are many situations to monitor and inspect, as we indicate in this step by step checklist.

No warranties in Cranky Ape, items are sold “AS IS.” In some cases, the seller may sell the recreational vehicle within the warranty period, however, in most cases, such warranties cannot be transferred to the second owner of the unit.

Our readers from the European Union complained that the goods were auctioned AS-IS, considering that Crankyape is a paid platform that charges for their intermediation services. They mentioned in the comment section, that at least Cranky Ape should be offering protection in cases of fraud. Cranky Ape does not offer repair services at its location. Likewise, Cranky Ape does not provide any RV winterizing service.

Winterizing merely means preparing the units for low winter temperatures. It is not necessary for all RVs unless you will utilize it in extremely low temperatures, and there yes, you may need RV winterization. It merely means draining the water, drying, flushing some parts with anti-freeze and so on. It is a process that is carried out by professionals to protect the unit from damage due to extremely low winter temperatures.

What is Absent Bidding? Is It Allowed In Cranky Ape?

Your first bid in an actual auction will always be performed manually by you in Cranky Ape, you must manually bid on the platform. If you flag the “Absent Bidding” checkbox, then you need to fill the maximum amount you are willing to pay for that item. Absent bidding is an automatic way of bidding, so that system automatically increases your bid in Cranky Ape if someone outbids you.

Absent bidding is just the preset of a maximum amount you are willing to pay for any item. Absent bidding will only occur if you opt for it if someone outbids you, and the bidding amount does not exceed the maximum limit set by you. Buyer or other bidders would not see your absent bidding (maximum amount willing to pay) amount, it is confidential.

What is Title Year vs. Year Established By The RV Manufacturer?

Quite often buyers may get confused by the two different years mentioned for the RV. The reason for that is simple. The maker of RVs, the RV manufacturer does not produce chassis. Instead, they buy it from other manufacturers (like Ford, Chevy, etc.).

After purchasing the chassis, they create a coach, like Forest River and others are doing. It means that year of manufacture of chassis may be 2017, while the RV coach was made in the year 2018. Often chassis is a bit older than the coach itself, depending on the manufacturing planning horizon of the RV manufacturer, and that explains why there are two different years mentioned for the RV.

What Does The Title “Brands,” Tell Us in Cranky Ape?

It is one of the crucial indicators of the condition of the vehicle. It gives information (estimate) about the number of previous repairs done on the unit. “No title brand” means zero to 30% repairs. “Insurance claim paid brand” means repairs estimated between 30-70%, “Salvage Brand” was 70-100% repaired earlier. Further, there are “Prior salvage brand” and “Junk brand” titles.

Sales Tax And Transfer Fees

All units located at Indiana location are also subject to 7% sales tax, but RVs and cargo trailers are an exception. However, nine states (Arizona, Hawaii, Mississippi, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, South Carolina) and Mexico do not provide such an exception.

Shill Bidding Protection At Cranky Ape

Shill bidding is a practice when someone helps the seller in increasing the bid price through artificial bidding, for example, a brother or friend of the seller may engage in bidding to raise its price in agreement with the seller.

Such practices are not allowed on Cranky Ape. However, it is not clear for me how can Cranky Ape avoid shill bidding in auctions so I cannot trust their auction system as it is not explained in my opinion how can we participate in auctions without becoming victims of this. My fear is that shill bidders can use VPNs. For using a VPN, the MAC address cannot be seen, but for some VPN ranges, the IP range is already detected or even blacklisted. Therefore, we may have protection if the shill bidders use a VPN.

Also, how to avoid shill bidding in Cranky Ape, the shill bidder creates separate user accounts on a computer for each Cranky Ape account. They run a scheduled CCleaner run or they run Ccleaner manually. At the same time, they use a VPS service for Microsoft Windows that allows remote desktop logins with, of course, a unique IP for each remote desktop and of course, for each Cranky Ape account.

Is there any other way to negotiate price apart from bidding in Cranky Ape (Crankyape)?

Yes, there is. Sometimes reserve/asking price/minimum price may be too high for an item in Cranky Ape, and thus it may not sell. However, in such cases bidder may make a so-called “Best offer” and Crankyape would then negotiate with the buyer on the behalf of bidder/buyer.

Although the seller is not obliged to agree to the best offer if the seller agrees then the bidder is bound to buy that product.

Pros And Cons: Why Should I Buy or Sell At Cranky Ape?

Cranky Ape Pros:

Large platform reach: The most significant benefit of using Cranky Ape is that it is visited by a large number of people each day. It means that as a seller you would save on advertising; you would be able to sell faster. Cranky Ape aggressively advertises its platform. Thus, any item you sell would be better seen on the net. All this means not only a reasonable price but quick sales too.

Ability to negotiate the price with an easy to use platform: With Cranky Ape, it is easier to negotiate the right price. As a maximum number of people are bidding for the item on sale. Buyers trust Crankyape as it is a neutral party. Moreover, buyers are always encouraged to visit the facilities of Cranky Ape for inspection.

No paperwork to handle: Furthermore, selling with Cranky Ape is safe and hassle-free. It means that the buyer would not come to your house or offer cash at your place, which may pose specific risks. Cranky Ape will handle all the paperwork too.

Cons of Cranky Ape:

Items sold “as is”. No warranty is offered on the operation by Cranky Ape. With a dealer or a private seller, it is possible at least to negotiate the warranty and obtain protection for defects that remain occult and undetected despite a reasonable inspection.

Difficult to use for foreign buyers: Extra fees for foreign buyers are more than 25 dollars. No help is offered for exports to the European Union. Europe has a customer base of millions of potential users and without any auction platform for RVs there available.

Unclear protection against shill bidding: It is not clear how can protection against shill bidding can be achieved, as Cranky Ape just states that shill bidding is prohibited.

Data protection: As with other websites in our country, the mails and the information database can be negotiated with other parties and you have to consent this before registration.  Servers are in the United States so there is no GDPR compliance. If there is a data breach, you have to be notified within thirty days, whereas in the European Union is only 72 hours.

Anthony Foxx

I am Tony, an RV designer and RV developer. I create bill of materials for RV manufacturers for travel trailers and fifth wheels. I worked as a freelance transportation consultant for Lyft. As an RV development consultant, I create customization trees for RV manufacturers who want to offer a solution to prospective customers to design their custom RV with variant configuration. Apart from this, I sell in Indiana trailer hitches, hitch balls, goosenecks and weight distribution systems where I provide advice to customers who want to know which is their towing capacity, which hitch ball should they utilize and how to deploy a weight distribution system. I do my best to explain all these processes and their installation, here in RV Favorites.