A rare, pristine 2007 Corvette sat at a Gulf Coast car dealership with an eager buyer in another state.
"I owned an '85 corvette in the 1990's, and had to let it go and it broke my heart. And I said one day I'm going to get another one," recalled Dr. Robert Flowers.
This could be a match made in heaven.
But it was a match made online.
And for Doctor Flowers, who decided to buy the Corvette online, his joy at finding the car was tarnished by the process of getting the car delivered from Waveland, Mississippi, to his home in Virginia.
Dr. Flowers shelled out $34,000 for the car in an online transaction and then another $875 dollars to have it brought to him by a company called Wholesale Express Auto Transport. They in turn hired a third party transport company to make the move.
Let's just say it didn't go well.
Flowers says a video was taken at the dealership as the car was loaded on the truck in Waveland.
"When I received a video from the dealer that same day, it shows the car slamming on the ground as the driver of the truck backed it out of the garage to load it onto the trailer," he said.
So it was with a sense of dread that Dr. Flowers greeted the arrival of his car and, armed with his video camera, he inspected his $34,000 internet purchase.
"The front splitter was damaged on the front," he painfully noted. "There's damage all the way across."
Flowers says the estimates he's received on damage and the devaluation of the value of the rare car plus the price of transport has cost him more than $6,000.
Remember, this was a purchase arrangement made on the internet. He's had no luck so far in getting the transport company, Wholesale Express, to pay for it. But the company claims they're working on a resolution.
So, what should you do if you're making a significant internet purchase?
First, ask the seller if they have insurance.
Be sure to document everything.
Send copies of any pictures, video or documents to both the seller and the shipper, and if the company refuses to make you whole, send that info and a complaint to your credit card company.
Use a credit card to make that purchase. If they think their transaction will be canceled, sellers may be more inclined to listen to them when they won't listen to you.
Also consider buying shipping insurance if the item is expensive.
It's a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the company offering the insurance has a good track record.