We Fail Harder: How NOT to Sell a Car
Some of you that know me personally may know that I’ve been car shopping. I’ve been seeking used (no, I will not use this idiotic “pre-owned” term), simply because let’s face it, I’m about maximizing value, and finding a well-taken care of car that’s a bit older but otherwise immaculate is a VASTLY better value than a new car. I’ve been at it for several weeks, and 90% of the sellers out there FAIL HARD. Here’s what not to do:
- Be unresponsive or slow to communicate. This is by far number one. You’re going to spend thousands of dollars, on what’s likely your biggest purchase apart from buying housing. If you have questions, which you undoubtedly will, and the seller is slow to respond, or doesn’t get back to you at all, it’s completely unreasonable. Are they hiding something? Are they dumb? Who knows. Walk away.
- Not furnish basic information. Stuff like several good pictures, a description of condition, and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should be provided in the listing. If they’re not, they should be provided IMMEDIATELY upon request. Also, if someone is selling a car for several grand, they ought to provide a Carfax report. It’s in their interest and builds confidence. But at the very least, pictures and VIN should be provided so that you can get the Carfax report if it comes down it.
- Provide misinformation. Either out of negligence or deception (lying). If a car has an auto transmission, why is it put down under manual? It means the seller probably just checked the wrong box, but what does that mean for the attention he paid to his car? It may not be a good sign. Furthermore, do your research, because a car may be listed with “premium package,” or some equivalent, but may show no signs of it. If you’re a smart buyer, you’ll know what’s missing the second you see it. While I wouldn’t immediately walk away, it’s grounds for further investigation and negotiation. If you have been lied to, tell the seller to fuck off.
- Deny obvious problems. If you take a car for a test drive and you hear a weird noise, or something doesn’t feel right, the dealer/seller should freely admit to them, and either offer to address the problem or reduce the price. Any “no seriously it’s fine” language is grounds for the middle finger and storming off. If you take the car for inspection, find problems, and present the seller with a list of problems, they should acknowledge them and accept a discount of the amount said problems cost to fix. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.
Of course, should you want to sell your car, just do the opposite and your potential buyers will love you!