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Used Car Nightmare Buying Story

Dennis Buys and Sells Classic Cars

Every Car Saleman's Worse Nightmare

I had a super clean 2006 Toyota Solara with 100K mileage listed on www.dennisbuyscars.com for $7995. This price is anywhere from 2-5K under the market primarily because of the mileage which was high only because of the long, daily freeway commute of the previous owner. Also, I like to have a very competitively priced car from time to time to attract attention. When I bought the car it had a scuffed front bumper and a scratch on a fender so I had those two areas painted professionally but other than that it is basically perfectly good, well running car.

I received two calls for the car in the morning, they had a few cursory questions and said they would be in later. Customer #1 showed up with his daughter for whom he was car shopping. He was wearing sandals with white socks so I was immediately on my guard. He first asked me if it had both original keys with remotes and are the batteries fresh in them. I told him yes, the car comes with them, they both work and that is sometimes unusual for a pre-owned car. He wanted to know about the CARFAX and I told him it was a two owner car and that it has not been in an accident. He complained about the mileage which he clearly knew about before he got here because it is listed in the ad. He wanted to know if I had service records, I told him no but for these Toyotas there is very little service to do even with this mileage except for fluid changes. I was at the rear of the car talking to his daughter when I heard some loud scraping or scrunching noises. I looked front bumper. "What happened here?" he asked. I told him that was very common because sometimes people hit curbs and the shrouding under the bumpers come loose and that this was a very minor problem and I could fix it for him easily. "What about the gold overspray on the bottom of the radiator?" I told him that the front bumper had been scuffed and that it had been repainted. Then a long disussion ensued concerning whether or not that could be considered an accident, whether or not I had misrepresented the car and perhaps that was the reason the car's price was "too good to be true" as he put it, he would need to see the title, verify my dealer's license and bond.

At this point I was ready to give him my annual "Sir, I only sell cars to a dick on special occasions and today is not one of them" speech when he asked if he could take it on a test drive. I said OK.

After getting a copy of Mr. Sandals and Socks' drivers license, when I came out of my ofice to move the car out of it's spot for the test drive there was a delightful Mexican husband and wife inside the Toyota who were also looking for a car for their daughter who was with them. "We drove all the way from Bakersfield to buy this car," she smilingly announced and while doing so she opened her purse showing me $10,000 in cash. I explained politely to her that these people had gotten there before her and that if they didn't want it she could have it. She was very understanding and said no problem.

The test drive took a torturous 20 minutes and my little family was getting antsy. Finally when I couldn't delay them any longer with whatever story I found appropriate, she gave me her cell phone # and asked me to call her if the car was available and started walking to their car. Of course at that precise moment the test drive came back, I had to act fast and asked them if they wanted it. He started to complain about about one of the tires and said no.

I literally ran onto Venice Blvd. to catch my little family and the purse loaded with cash. I motioned for them to come back and that the car was available. She came into my office and said, "You know, my daughter decided that the car was too big for her and she just doesn't want it."

She spun on her heels and in a flash, she and her purse were gone.




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