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      10-14-2020, 12:25 AM   #1
Petlizard
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Private car sales/buying etiquette

Iím new to the private car sale/buying scene so this question may come off as naÔve to those who are experienced in these but I figured I should post to anyway.
Iíve found a used car that Iím looking to purchase through a car forum, and contacted the seller last Wednesday. The seller is about 4 hrs. drive from me and has the title in hand. We corresponded via texts and phone calls throughout Wednesday and Thursday and heíd provide lots of details on the vehicle. I made an official offer on the car Fridayís night and he agreed to it (text). He mentioned that heíll need to take the car in sometime this week to get the front tires replaced before selling. I asked if heíd be willing to get a PPI if I pay for it. He said yes, and texted me on Monday that the PPI is scheduled for Wednesday this week. Heíd also let me know that heíd taken the wheels off the car and dropped them off at the tire shop to get the new tires installed. Iíd let him know that I have the fund in hand and ready to drive up and see him whenever heís ready to go.

He texted me today stating that the wheels may not come back in time for the PPI on Wednesday, and asked if I still want/need the PPI to go forward with the deal. He also stated that, someone else had contacted him about the car he would be showing the car to this person on Wednesday. I was taken back a bit since I thought we had deal and I was just waiting for the PPI. I responded back and let him know that I wonít mind if he put on the spare/winter wheels to go get the PPI while the main wheels are not back yet, but I would need the PPI to go forward the deal. Am I expecting too much that a seller would hold off showing a car if a deal is being worked on? Or is it fair game to show the car since money has been exchanged? The car is an exotic and itís out of warranty so I feel that PPI is necessary.
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      10-14-2020, 12:47 AM   #2
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My advice.
You as the buyer need to proceed in a manner that suites your expectations and satisfies your concerns.
As the buyer you have more to lose.
If you have the slightest concerns about the seller that is significant.

The wheels and no inspection, the other potential buyer. Is that a tactic or the truth ? There is no way for you to know.

PPI is so important. A report that you can read and a phone# to make contact with the inspecting tech.

Of course he can show the car to others.

If you start to sense things are changing or your expectations aren't met then end it.
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      10-14-2020, 01:28 AM   #3
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The first rule is... there are no rules (unless you have a purchase agreement signed) - just protect yourself as a buyer. The seller can do whatever he wants given you have nothing in writing, which seems to be the #1 justification I've seen sellers use to pull moves that could be considered "rude" or "shady". Even then, having writing/contracts isn't the end all be all.

Super cliche but don't be afraid to walk away from a deal if you don't like who/what you're dealing with
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      10-14-2020, 02:14 AM   #4
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Agreed with others. Your semblance of seller/buyer respect or etiquette is sadly not shared by most. Given most sellers want the most for their item and the quickest/least hassle route, gives the buyer no leg to stand on unless a deposit and or signed contract has taken place.

I would voice your displeasure and see if a signed intent contract and refundable deposit via PayPal or credit card can be placed (basically something that allows your money to be returned in the event the seller is a douche).

Worse case you walk away and go on the hunt again.
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      10-14-2020, 02:56 AM   #5
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another thing to remember, is that if the seller is taking it in for a PPI, then the seller is the shop's customer, not you, and the the PPI will likely not be as thorough as if you were the shop's customer.
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      10-14-2020, 02:57 AM   #6
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Like others have said, if you want the seller to hold the car, you need to put down a deposit with a written agreement on how long he will hold it for you, amount of deposit, and if it's refundable.
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      10-14-2020, 04:14 AM   #7
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Always organise your own PPI and have the seller drop the car off, certainly not foolproof, but likely to be a bit more trustworthy than the seller organising it with a "friendly" workshop.

The shadey attempt to get you to buy without the PPI makes me think something's off. Add to that a mysterious new buyer that might buy it if you don't commit RIGHT NOW furthers the suspicion that the car isn't quite as rosey as it's been described to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petlizard View Post
Am I expecting too much that a seller would hold off showing a car if a deal is being worked on?
If you've organised a PPI and agreed on a price assuming the PPI comes back matching the claims, then he's wasting everyone's time still showing it to others.
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      10-14-2020, 08:00 AM   #8
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Cash talks and everything else walks.

The first person who hands the seller a stack of Benjamins gets the car.

If it were me I would agree on an as-is price with no PPI, no new tires, etc etc. These things slow down the transaction.

A PPI if I were buying it would be done by me, with cash bulging out of my pocket at the sellerís location. After my own PPI, the final negotiation is completed based on findings.

Always be prepared to walk away. Always.

You didnít mention how much money is at stake, or what brand of vehicle this is. This matters. The more money at stake means the buyer needs to put more time and effort into the transaction. This could mean multiple trips to see the vehicle and an extended negotiation. Doing all of this due diligence risks losing the vehicle, see the first sentence of this post.
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      10-14-2020, 08:17 AM   #9
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Thank you all for the feed backs. For those who are curious, the asking price for this car was $85k and we agreed to $83k for a rare AMG with clean car fax, but no service records since 2017, as the current owner informed me that he does his own services at home.

I'd also asked about passing safety and emission for his state. He let me know that his state (NJ) requires bringing in your license, insurance, and registration for annual inspections. The registration is renewed by mail, and due to Covid, he hasn't received the registration back yet so the car is not currently passing state inspection/emission or up to date on it.

Last edited by Petlizard; 10-14-2020 at 08:38 AM..
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      10-14-2020, 08:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petlizard View Post
Thank you all for the feed backs. For those who are curious, the asking price for this car was $85k and we agreed to $83k for a rare AMG with clean car fax but no service records since 2017 as the current owner informed my that he does his own services at home.
Does he have receipts for his own maintenance?
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      10-14-2020, 08:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick3753 View Post
Does he have receipts for his own maintenance?
Seller does not have receipts for these.
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      10-14-2020, 08:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petlizard View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick3753 View Post
Does he have receipts for his own maintenance?
Seller does not have receipts for these.
That would make me nervous.
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      10-14-2020, 09:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petlizard View Post
Thank you all for the feed backs. For those who are curious, the asking price for this car was $85k and we agreed to $83k for a rare AMG with clean car fax, but no service records since 2017, as the current owner informed me that he does his own services at home.

I'd also asked about passing safety and emission for his state. He let me know that his state (NJ) requires bringing in your license, insurance, and registration for annual inspections. The registration is renewed by mail, and due to Covid, he hasn't received the registration back yet so the car is not currently passing state inspection/emission or up to date on it.
That is a big sum of money, and I would absolutely not get this car WITHOUT a PPI, so you're right in this case. No service records is not great either (admittedly, I suck at keeping records but do my own work and maintain my cars religiously).

I'd at the very minimum ask what services were done at home, and try to at least gauge if he's knowledgeable.
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      10-14-2020, 09:57 AM   #14
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From the seller's perspective, you have agreed to a price, but that's not a deal unless you put down a deposit.

You asking for a PPI is certainly reasonable and expected but if there's another buyer who isn't needing that, is coming in person, and is potentially willing to purchase he has no obligation to you without you having given him a deposit.

He risks losing an easier sale with another buyer by telling them no.

If you put down a deposit he should absolutely honor that and not show to any further. Until that happens though I don't think he's done anything wrong...provided he's being honest about it and not just trying to get you to buy without a PPI.
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      10-14-2020, 10:15 AM   #15
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For $83k I'd take a day to drive and look at the car, or if you have a friend who knows what to look over when buying a used car take a look if they live within an hour or so. Let them bring a signed intent to buy letter with a deposit from you. From there you can proceed with a PPI done at a place you choose, not the seller.

I've sold and bought cars, used and new, that were far from where I live. Good communication is always the deal maker. Whenever someone has come up with excuses, 100% of the time the deal fell through. This deal is not going to go through IMHO.
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      10-14-2020, 10:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ga9213 View Post
From the seller's perspective, you have agreed to a price, but that's not a deal unless you put down a deposit.

You asking for a PPI is certainly reasonable and expected but if there's another buyer who isn't needing that, is coming in person, and is potentially willing to purchase he has no obligation to you without you having given him a deposit.

He risks losing an easier sale with another buyer by telling them no.

If you put down a deposit he should absolutely honor that and not show to any further. Until that happens though I don't think he's done anything wrong...provided he's being honest about it and not just trying to get you to buy without a PPI.
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      10-14-2020, 11:06 AM   #17
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Dealers/sellers do it all the time
Until there's an exchange of money, everything else is meaningless.
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      10-14-2020, 11:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick3753 View Post
That would make me nervous.
Agree - it's 2020, everything has a receipt. I do all my maintenance, and I have a folder of all part/oil/consumable orders & receipts from vendors.
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      10-14-2020, 11:57 AM   #19
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I'm curious what AMG is rare and sells for $85K~ ?

Also and AMG that has not been to a dealer or specialist for three-years or more has got to have some expensive maintenance in it's near future.

Is this a model with the turbo's up in the V. And can brakes be done on these cars without a computer to hold back the pistons?
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      10-14-2020, 12:03 PM   #20
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I'm kind of surprised he doesn't have receipts. Outside of things like oil, he probably has to order everything online for that vehicle. Which means he has emailed receipts for all of his purchases. He may even buy his oil online too.
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      10-14-2020, 12:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottSinger View Post
And can brakes be done on these cars without a computer to hold back the pistons?
On my prior ML you could engage the brakes through a setting in the car. Wouldnít the AMG behave same?
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      10-14-2020, 12:57 PM   #22
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@petlizard With what frequency will you drive this vehicle? Are you buying it in the hopes of appreciation? Do you DIY your own repairs, or have the budget and relationship with a qualified shop?

@ScottSinger if this is an AMG from the past 7 years or so, the rear electric parking brake can be retracted by the owner without a separate computer system. Itís a series of key presses on the steering wheel. The front pads are completely mechanical and require no electronic interaction.
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