Buying a car on Ebay, BaT or Craigslist

Started by MiniDave, August 21, 2020, 08:08:21 AM

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MiniDave

We have threads on cars for sale, how about one on the process of buying a car - especially if it's a long distance purchase?

I'm sure we all have horror stories of deals that didn't work out exactly as hoped...

The only car I've bought sight unseen was Buzz - and I actually flew to Baltimore and did drive it and look it over. I'm afraid the idea of the car clouded my judgement and I bought it in spite of the issues I saw - the paint was not well done - the car was a number of different colors once I got it home and really looked it over, the engine ran like shit (although most of that was a poorly adjusted carb as it turned out) and needed an overhaul - even tho it was advertised as having had one 5K before. Still, I bought it and drove it home - a really good way to get to know your purchase by the way - drive it 1100 miles back home with no tools or support along the way!

Actually I did have some support, I knew a few people along the route that I could reach out to for help if needed...but I made it in one long two day run.

I'm looking at a vehicle in Tucson right now - so my plan is to send my son and his buddy down from Phoenix to look at it and drive it, but what would you do if you don't have a someone to be your eyes on a long distance purchase?

Bruce imported a truck from Japan, and Dan is in the process of importing a car from Brazil, what did you guys do to vet your purchase before buying? What would your recourse be if it wasn't what you hoped/expected when it gets here?

Lets have a discussion about trials and tribulations of buying a car from out of town.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

gr8kornholio

Quote from: MiniDave on August 21, 2020, 08:08:21 AM
I'm afraid the idea of the car clouded my judgement and I bought it in spite of the issues I saw

Second this.  And add to the fact that you took the time to travel and get the money together.  O well it's a blast to drive and when Dan is done with it it'll be gorgeous too.
I am the GR8KORNHOLIO! Are you threatening me?

Saussie Aussie 1965 Australian MK1 Mini.
"Beavis" - 07 MY/MY MCS, B/MY Konig Daylites, JCW sideskirts, TSW springs, TSW lower rear control arms -- Exploring the country with new friends since 11/09.

Willie_B

I bought my mini through Bill Cox/Montecarlominis. Sight unseen from New Zealand. I figured I was only paying $1500 for the car and $2000 to ship it to Savannah that I would not have that much into it. The pickup was also thru Bill. It was a UK vehicle. It was not is the shape I was lead to think. Had fun driving it for a while and sold it to Dan.

94touring

I've bought a number of cars sight unseen.  Too many to count actually.  I get as many pictures as possible and roll the dice.  Sometimes I know they're a mess when I buy them.  I can only think of twice when I got semi hosed, my 1st truck which was a standard UK bodge job that looked pretty for about 6 months.  Though that got me into autobody.  And this clubman wagon which I flew to look at and still bought it, so that's my own fault. 

BruceK

#4
I've bought 4 vehicles sight unseen from far, far way.  Oh, and one complete Mini drivetrain, too.  It's part leap of faith, part do all the homework you can, and part trust in your fellow man.  Not always in equal proportions.   

Back in the 90s, I bought a complete Mini engine/gearbox from the UK and had it shipped over.  Actually used a Visa card.   And a couple of years later I purchased a complete Mini from England, also with a Visa card.  In both cases I got what I paid for, and was not ripped off.  I guess I thought I could fight with the credit card company if there was fraud.

In early 2000s I bought a BMW motorcycle off of eBay.  I was looking at it and the bids were very low, so I put a low bid as a lark, but I didn't really expect to win.  I was totally surprised to find out I had won it.  The bike turned out okay, but all I had to go on was the Seller's positive eBay rating. If it hadn't worked out all I could have done was fight with eBay.

For my current Mini, I trusted a garage in the UK to source the car and build it to my wishes.  Even though I am not really a Facebook user, I checked out their FB page going back several years and found lots interaction with happy customers, so that gave me some level of reassurance seeing the business was 'out there' and seemed to be well respected. I made lots of phone calls with the garage owner and discussed things each step of the way. Never got anything buy positive feelings when doing that - he seemed like a decent guy.  I also used my credit card on this purchase so that added an extra but thin level of assurance. 

For my Toyota from Japan, I used a website that consolidates a huge inventory of cars available and offered a well-polished procedure for buying the car remotely. (probably similar to what Dan did in buying his VW from Brazil).  There were testimonials from satisfied customers from all over the world, and their inventory was constantly changing.  To me, that helped show they were in the business of selling cars, and not just creating a pretty website.  Also, in Japan there is often a benefit of using the car's auction sheet evaluations which are done by an independent 3rd party on the selling condition of the vehicle - so I had those and about 50 photos to look at over and over again.    But once I decided to move forward I did take a huge leap of faith wiring the money for purchase/shipping to Japan.   The teller at my bank helping me with the wire transfer asked me a lot of questions thinking I might be falling for a scam.  But it worked out great. I got updates from the selling company every step of the way (car is at port, paperwork is being filed, ship's name is xxxx, car is on board, delivery date is xx/xx/xxxx, etc.).  All communications were in English and the flow of things was made very clear.   They shipped paperwork to me DHL and I could always check status on things on their website.  In the end, they fairly represented the car and made buying it relatively easy for someone halfway around the world.  I would consider doing business with them again.

So I would say that if you are buying from a business rather than an individual you might have a little more confidence in the transaction being 'real'. Each situation is going to require different due diligence until you develop a high enough level of comfort in your purchase.  Of course the more you can do to assure yourself of the quality of both the person/entity selling, as well as of the vehicle you are considering, the less potential headache.   That's the tricky part, isn't it?

1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

MiniDave

Part of what drives this discussion is watching guys buying cars on BaT, sometimes in spite of being warned off the car or having issues clearly pointed out....
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

BruceK

There are those who think they know best even when knowledgeable others - or common sense - tell them otherwise.

Isn't that what keeps politics running?    :D
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

MiniDave

#7
Certainly seems to be a hallmark of the current administration.....

Science! Huh!

Good god ya'll

What is it good for?

Absolutely nuttin.

Say it again....

Back on topic.....like Dan I've managed to make a couple of not so good car decisions, even not sight unseen. A long time ago I bought a pick up truck, test drove it and told the guy I'd be back the next day with the money. Came back the next day with the cash, paid him and drove away..... made the first corner and my wife pulled up next to me and said "did you see that" as the huge clouds of blue smoke came billowing out of the back of the truck. We turned around and drove right back but the guy wouldn't give me my money back, said I bought it as is.

I sold it a year later and got my money back,, and I didn't tell the new owner about the smoke either.....it only did it occasionally. Never did figure out how or why it did that.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

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