Beware, these listings are probably fraudulent. The foreign seller, identifying himself as "balenanida" / "Czech Sportsplanes factory", is not associated with Zenith Aircraft Company, and the seller is obviously not familiar with FAA rules and doesn't appear to know the airplane well (the photo of the Zodiac is not of the XL model). Even if the advertised aircraft do exist and can be delivered to you, there is no guarantee of the quality of the materials and assemblies, and importing an airplane into the US can be very complex and costly (and would probably not qualify for FAA registration), and service and spare parts may not be available to you. Please do not bid: By bidding on such items you encourage fraudulent sellers, and may expose yourself to identity theft, spam, and fraud.
The growing demand for Zenith Aircraft kits and completed airplanes, combined with the popularity of online auctions (such as eBay) and web-based classified ads (such as BarnStormers) have made it a breeding ground for online scams. Be very careful when buying from online auctions or classified ads. Over the years, a number of scam kit aircraft projects and blueprint photocopies have come up for auction or sale online. Some scammers are educated and will appear to be legitimate sellers. Beware - don't bid or send money unless you know you're dealing with a legitimate seller.
Hints: Before buying or bidding, obtain the sellers contact information and call them. Get the seller's full name, address and phone number, and request the aircraft serial number: Every Zenith kit and/or plans has a unique serial number issued by Zenith Aircraft Co. If the seller does not know the serial number, do not proceed. If the buyer is located outside of your country, be aware that importing an aircraft or kit can be very complex and very expensive.
If the place the seller wants you to send payment to is different than the place the auction or ad says is their location, proceed very carefully. If they request a Western Union wire transfer there is a very high chance that the deal is fraudulent - do not proceed. Money transfer services such as Western Union are not designed to be a payment vehicle when doing business with a stranger. Be cautious if a seller tells you that he will only accept money transfer as a payment method. Most legitimate sellers will accept more than one form of payment. Be suspicious if a seller tells you how to "safeguard" your purchase by putting a money transfer transaction in the name of a friend or loved one, or how to establish a "test question."
Buying Used Plans and/or Kits:
Before buying or bidding, request the serial number which is located on the first page of the drawings (blueprints) from the seller: Every Zenith kit and/or plans has a unique serial number issued by Zenith Aircraft Co. Once you have this information you can contact Zenith Aircraft Co. to obtain information about the customer's project.
In addition to exercising "buyer beware" common sense, look out for the following:
- Age of the drawings/kit: If you buy an older set of drawings or kit, be aware that it will not include newer features that may have been introduced since the original purchase date, and that the parts and plans are not new.
- On occasion, duplicate copies of the same serial number have been sold numerous times to unsuspecting buyers. Zenith Aircraft Co. will only support and recognize one unique serial number.
- Sometimes the age of a project is misrepresented or overlooked: For example, realize that a kit that was registered in 2007 may in fact have been purchased (and manufactured) many years earlier.
- Kit vs. Scratch-Built: Sometimes plans-built parts may be sold by an individual as original factory-made parts when in fact they are hand-made by a hobbyist.
- Completeness/Condition of Kit: Used kits may be incomplete or damaged.
- Assembled and Flying Projects: Exercise "buyer beware" common sense. Realize that the aircraft is Experimental and that it may have been built incorrectly, and that it may have been modified, and/or may not conform to aviation standards.