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Subject:  Re: Question about buying a used car Date:  7/25/2014  12:48 AM
Author:  jeffbrig Number:  11689 of 11896

They won't let you inspect - run - run for your life.

Absolutely not an unreasonable request with the only shred of possibility being you're looking at $1000 hoopties.

I don't see much difference between a $1000 beater and a $3500 minivan. While I don't automatically assume the seller is up to no good, he at least doesn't want to deal with the hassle. Allow me to play devil's advocate for a minute.

Say I put my old minivan up for sale. Yeah, it's older, in fair/ok shape, it's got some miles, but I'm only looking to get a few thousand for it. Some random guy shows up and wants to take it to his mechanic. Now, I don't want to hand over the keys for a few hours, hoping this unknown person is honest and not just a car thief or somebody looking for a joyride. Because I know if I let him take the car, it's still my ass if he gets in an accident.

So the potential buyer offers to let me take the car to his mechanic instead. How generous of him. Great, now I can waste a few hours of my day driving across town, and hanging out while the car gets inspected. No thanks. I know full well it's an older car. The mechanic will comb over the car and provide the buyer extra ammunition which he'll only use to beat me up and try to whittle down my price. I think I've got a fair asking price, so I don't want to waste any time and potential aggravation going down that road.

Maybe I've got 3 other people coming to see the car this weekend. There's a ton of minivans for sale, and a ton of buyers looking for one that has some life left in it. It shouldn't be too hard to move. So I'll take a pass on this potential buyer, with the hopes that I can find a less demanding buyer to deal with.

/devil's advocate

Now, don't get me wrong, I'd probably hit the road too if the seller declined an inspection. But I can understand why he might do so.

I also think there's a HUGE difference between asking for an inspection on a 10 year old Caravan or Odyssey vs. a 10 year old Porsche. I doubt the average buyer of a $3-4k car is going to pay for an inspection - potentially on multiple cars - until he finds one he's happy with. A used 911 buyer, on the other hand, would be stupid to plunk down that kind of money without requiring an inspection first. At some level, I think sellers understand that. If I'm selling a beater, I don't want to go through the hassle. If I'm selling a $50k sports car, it's pretty much expected.
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