By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Word of caution on consignment sales

Salem attorney Young Walgenkim is an expert on fraudulent vehicle sales; his firm of Hanson & Walgenkim actually has a company companion website with the address, “”


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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In 2021, Walgenkim told us that Mac RV owner Ruben Bernt was selling RVs on consignment and failing to pay the vehicle owners. He said Oregon laws were inadequate for consumer protection — something he learned in 2016 while representing victims of Salem consignment company Northwest R.V. Sales.

We knew, at the time: RV consignment fraud can spiral into complex legal entanglements involving sellers, buyers, insurance companies and others; expensive civil lawsuits can get erased by a bankruptcy; criminal prosecution has been a difficult path for law enforcement; and claims of fraud against Mac RV were filed with McMinnville Police Department.

We waited, knowing that MPD was investigating. The story broke this week after a Yamhill County grand jury charged Bernt with 30 counts of aggravated theft in the first degree. The indictment cited fraudulent sales in excess of $850,000, protected by just $50,000 in bonded insurance. Bernt was lodged in the county jail on $1 million bail, and police are asking the public for information about more victims.

If Walgenkim had his way, a “Sellers Beware” sign would be posted on consignment vehicle sales lots.

The Salem RV dealer, wrote Walgenkim in an article for the Oregon State Bar, “sold over $500,000 worth of RVs, took the money and disappeared, leaving a mess for the buyers and the sellers. The sellers were never paid for the vehicles and so refused to relinquish the title to the buyers. The buyers, meanwhile, paid money for their vehicles, so they demanded their titles from the sellers.”

Oregon law favors the buyer, he wrote. Both seller and buyer may be victims, dumped into an expensive legal morass, but the buyer attains rights to title upon paying the seller’s agent.

The best thing a purchasing consumer can do to prevent being defrauded,” wrote Walgenkim, “is to never purchase a vehicle of any kind on consignment … Likewise, for the seller, never sell your vehicle on consignment.” If you do buy on consignment, he warned, “demand the physical title be signed and given over before paying the dealer.” Otherwise, just walk away.

All of this, of course, unfairly maligns the great many honest consignment dealers who provide valuable services in commerce involving vehicles, art, furniture and more. Clearly, however, it pays to know who you are dealing with.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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