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A harsh reminder that the seller is never your friend



Image credits: Porsche

I haven’t bought many cars in my life – only one to be exact – but I just managed to buy a second one, and it was fine until things went the exact opposite direction. My experience here is a lesson to simply not trust anyone when you buy a car from a private owner. Some sellers can and will burn you if they get the chance. It doesn’t matter how nice or friendly they are – the seller is 100% not your friend, and I get a little burned thinking that might be.

The car in question is 2001 Porsche Boxster WILL relatively rare color. It ran just over 50,000 miles on the clock, in top form and ticked every box I was looking for. Months of crawling every website you can think of led me to start researching this particular site Boxer S.

I called the owner, had a long discussion to find out everything there was to know about the car. Transparency, frankness and friendliness would be the three terms I used to describe him after talking on the phone for more than half an hour. He’s a Porsche man, throughout and very proud of his other cars. To my relief, the long phone call with him returned no red flags or reasons not to buy the car. The only problem in this immediate situation is distance. The seller lives in suburban Los Angeles, and I live in Michigan.

I’m the type of person who wants to check, drive and test the car myself, but in this case, I suppose an even better solution. A friend of mine – I still owe him cake and beer for the favor – who knew the first generation Boxster in and out (and lived near the seller) well enough to go check it out / test drive it for me . His feedback is positive; I called the seller up and told him I would take it.

In this phone call I said that I would pay the full asking price and deposit any funds needed for him to bring it to market while I arranged the shipment. He agreed, glad I was paying full price and told me he would bring it to market and wouldn’t give it to anyone if I deposited $1,000. I sent him the deposit right after we ended the call, then opened up some celebratory beers. Cheering! It’s mine!

All of this will come crashing down on Saturday. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, I called various shipping companies to get quotes, eventually meeting a covered container solution that would cost me $2,277 to get from LA to Michigan . In addition, I arrange full payment with the seller, agreeing a bank transfer will be made when the delivery person picks up the car. He provided odometer readings and told me he was preparing a bill of sale.

However, there is a difficulty. The seller informed me at the weekend that he was leaving town for a week, starting Monday. He asked if we could delay the shipper until he came back. He offers the possibility to let his significant other handle the transaction while he is away, but prefers being there to see off the car and take care of all the paperwork, documents, accessories, keys and everything else means going with the car, really going with the car. Since the seller is a great guy to work with so far (we are both enthusiasts and pretty close to each other), I agreed to the delay and arranged for a shipper to come to his house one day. days after his flight returned.

Mass mistake. After agreeing to this, I sent him a screenshot of the delivery confirmation, giving him the date, time range that truck will arrive and all pertinent details from the shipping company. Great, I thought to myself. This is a done deal. With everything in place, it’s just a game in wait.

About four days passed and neither of us contacted each other. The next message I received from the seller was the following text:

“Dear, Zac. I’m sorry to report but return your deposit to Boxster. A close friend of mine knew I was selling it and he wanted it and was willing to pay the most. I realize this can be frustrating for you but make sure I give you your money back.”

WHAT!? After everything we’ve been through, this seemingly standing individual just sold me the car while on a business trip halfway around the world. Not only that, he did so right before the delivery man (whom I paid $2,277) to pick up the car, leaving me with only a day and some change to call them and ask for my money back. I. Needless to say, I was angry. I immediately tried to call him to salvage a deal. No answer. I hit him with text, but still nothing. Finally, a day later, he texted me to say that his friend had agreed to pay a price “much higher” than his asking price. I tried calling and texting him, but to this day I’m still haunted.

On the bright side, the shipping company returned all of my money without charging their late cancellation fees, and the seller in fact returned my deposit as soon as he said he would return it.

I don’t want to get into a bidding war with his friend, but it still breaks my heart to know that even if I agree to pay his asking price in full (a fair and certain price). for both sides), that’s still not good enough. There’s no way he’d get a few thousand more than I was due, maybe a payment or two on a brand new Porsche he also had on the driveway. Really? It’s worth it? Plus, can anyone believe this man’s sheer audacity to make the deal after everything I’ve arranged with him and spent money on? I already have a bank account and his routing number, home address, am in the process of arranging a transfer with the bank… the list goes on. Meanwhile, I still get burned at the last possible second.

The big takeaway here is that no matter how friendly the seller may seem, they are absolutely not your friend. Instead of trying to make his life easier by waiting for him to return from a business trip, I should send a delivery man to his house as soon as I put the deposit on the car. Yes, that would be inconvenient, but he wouldn’t have time to convey anything else either. A seller in this situation might even use my guaranteed offer as bait to get more money from someone else.

Was he a scum for what happened? You guys let me know in the comments section.

Some of this is on me, and that’s the part that gives me the most headaches. I know better, and I know my advice to someone in a similar situation is to get that car on a truck. now. Buy and sell a car (or any big dollar transaction like a house etc) is pure business and if you approach it any other way you can learn it the hard way.

That’s where the story ends. Never try to be friends with the person with whom you are buying a car. And if you happen to be selling a Boxster S 986 with a manual transmission in a unique colorway, keep an eye on me. I unfortunately went back to the market.

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