Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Never buy a car from a private party who is actually a salesman at a dealership

Last week I finally tracked down the low-mileage Toyota Avalon XLS I’d been looking for. After many e-mails back and forth with the Alex, the owner, I arranged to rent a car from Enterprise yesterday morning, drive to Portland, buy the Avalon for cash, turn the rental car in at a nearby Enterprise office, and drive the Avalon back home today.

The night before I was to leave, I googled Alex’s phone number. Oh-oh—it was for a car dealership! I e-mailed him saying I did not buy from dealers but he insisted that although he did work at that dealership, he was selling the Avalon for a friend. “It will be a private sale.” I then agreed to meet with him after all.

However, I woke up at 4:00 a.m. yesterday with an uneasy feeling. In the Craigslist ad, and in earlier e-mails, Alex had represented himself as the owner, which was untrue. I thought about “unfaithful in little, unfaithful in much.” What else might he be hiding?

I sent him an email saying I had decided to postpone the trip. I also mentioned in passing that for any later purchase, I would be buying in the name of a New Mexico LLC, and I would of course not show any ID since it would be a private sale and I don’t pay with a check, I pay in cash. When Alex eventually read the e-mail, he went ballistic, telling me that any private seller with “half a brain” would demand to copy the buyer’s driver’s license.

“I wouldn’t even let you test drive my car without getting a copy of your ID and proof of insurance. Anyone who doesn’t ask for that is a fool and you are only taking advantage of their ignorance to protect only yourself. People need to watch out for people like you!”

Just imagine if I hadn’t googled his phone number! I’ve have rented a car, made the long drive to Portland, and because of this nut’s attitude the entire trip would have been in vain. Lessons I pass on to you readers:

1. If possible, get the seller’s phone number at work and google it. 

 2. If there is anything he’s been hiding, watch out! 

3. If he works for a dealer, run for cover! Salesmen like Alex are so oriented in demanding ID and then running the name through a government database, that it carries over into private sales. 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing that experience. It is also good that you shared his response, so people can see how nuts like "Alex" will try to turn their bad behavior into an accusation against your character. And it works on so many people.

    Congrats, also, on your wise choice of a Toyota. They, and Hondas, are the only quality vehicles sold in the U.S. They always go a minimum of 300,000 miles without any major repairs or rebuilds (except air conditioners).

  2. www.carfax.com seems to be useful when buying a used car. They say: Get instant vehicle history reports on used cars for sale and avoid costly hidden problems. Don't get stuck with a lemon!

  3. Frenchy's Auto/Babcock Auto sucksOctober 3, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Seeing as how most used car dealers are CROOKS and liars, he's one to talk about others!

  4. Your story reminded me of mine. I went for a cheap oil change at my local Walmart. I went in to give my keys and fill out the paper work.

    I gave him my name, Google voice mail number, Visa number, and signed it.

    I handed the paperwork back to him and he tossed the clip board down and ask me for my mailing address. I told him I was not necessary.

    He said if I do not give him my mailing address, he was not going to service my car. I told him that I was not interested in junk mail, and that I was protecting my privacy. He was having non of it.

    I told him to call his Super, and I would discuss it with him. And to my surprise, I was getting the same grief from him.

    I spent over 20 mins arguing with these meat-heads, and people were lining up behind me waiting for me to finish up.

    I grabbed the paperwork and scribbled "GENERAL DELIVERY" City of XXXXXX.

    He looked it over, and then said to me, was that so hard?

    I was dumbfounded!


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