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.