Selling a used car, how do I avoid scams?



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Easy, they arrest the drug dealer and start questioning him and want to know where all his money is and where he got the expensive car from. Since they want the money rather than a vehicle under a forfeiture, it's not beyond my belief that if the sale took place 3 days earlier and the dealer hadn't sent in the title yet that they would drag the car back to you and tell you that it's your car and since the money was criminal you owe it back. And if the vehicle has a few smashed windows when they busted the guy, tough. I know it sounds farfetched but some of the abuses that took place under the forfeture law in Oregon were unbelievable, you would think they were talking about Russia. One guy, for example, some old farmer who didn't trust banks, had $80,000 in cash under his mattress, the cops busted in one day on a tip from a neighbor, searched his house, found zero drugs or drug paraphnelia, found the money, claimed it under forfeture, and 4 years later the guy was still fighting them with a lawsuit. He has never even been charged with a crime much less convicted. The cops claimed some of the money had drug residue on it. Well it's estimated that every bill in circuilation for any length of time in the United States has drug residue on it. It is stories like that which got the forfeture law thrown out via initative.
When I bought our 95 T&C some years back for close to $6K, I paid the seller in cash. I had gone to the bank on Friday and withdrew it and had it with me. When we agreed on the price he started saying something about going to the bank on Monday and getting a cashiers check, and I pulled out the wad of $100 bills and started counting them out. It was fun watching his expression.
One of these days if I ever win the lottery I'd just love to drop $45K in hundreds on the desk at a car dealership, just to watch them salivate. My father in law who works at a dealership has seen people in that income bracket whip out checkbooks and write personal checks for that amount on the spot. But I don't think it has the same raw in your face effect as that much cash would.
Ted
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

You would think after all this time after the Salem Witch Trials of centuries ago here in 1692, people would give this up. When you look at what happpened way back when, the Massachusetts Bay Colony Corporation seized all the assets of those who confessed to being a witch or found guilty at trial.
They were almost 100% successful except for one man. They literally pressed him to death between stones but his family kept the property because he, Giles Corey, refused to go to trial. And he also refused to confess while tortured to death.
Your comments about seeing the green are quite so. I have been told that showing the cash one can bargain even more. Maybe the fellow was surprised not only about the show of the money but that you did not further dicker about the price since you were saving him some time and trouble. A very low hassle sale for him.
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Yes, Cory was a shrewd man - being 80 he had lived his life and he planned his martyrdom very cleverly. He didn't refuse to go to trial to save his property. He chose not to go to trial because that would automatically force a death by pressing penalty - and there hadn't been a pressing before in the colony. It's a sickening death and one that Cory suspected would revolt the colony members and cause them to think the witchcraft trials had gone too far - which it did. Pressing was a death that was just as bad to watch as it was to suffer. Cory had opposed the witchcraft trials and he arrainged his death as revenge against his accusers, and it worked very well. 3 days after he was pressed there were some more witches hanged, then they all started to get acquitted and those were the last of the witches hung. Cory was the only one pressed for this, by the way.

I've heard that before but I think that is a highly risky strategy. If the person your buying the vehicle from has never sold a car before it might work - but if they are like me and they have sold a few cars it's just going to piss them off because it's such an obvious trick.
I've had people call me on the phone before when I've listed vehicles and before even coming over to see it, start trying to dicker with me over the price. Twice I've had people tell me they would pay cash for it as if that was 'more desirable' I've always told those people that I certainly don't expect to sell a vehicle for anything OTHER than cash!
As a buyer I think the best strategy is to assume the seller is sophisticated and not try to pull dumb tricks. If the seller is an idiot then they will feel as though your a nice guy who is respectful, if the seller is sophisticated they will appreciate not being insulted by dumb tricks.
When I go to look at a used car I call in advance and ask for the VIN then I run it against the free carfax to get the make and model and year. I've had a few people list vehicles 1 year younger than what the actual year is that I've caught - generally I don't even call those people back. If the advertising checks out then I will go to look at it. When I get there I'll spend some time talking to the seller before even looking at the car, to get an idea of how flexible they are going to be.
For example when I was looking for our first van I went to one place and the woman was asking $3K for her van, as soon as I got out of my car I saw the side of her van was all rumpled. She had obviously got t-boned or something. I looked at her and said "well thanks but I won't waste any more of your time" She asked 'aren't you going to look at it' and I told her "your listing it for $3K which is blue book for it, but it's got at least $3K worth of body damage on it, you obviously have young children since I see bikes and toys in the yard so you need a van, if the only thing wrong with this one was cosmetic damage you would still be driving it, but I see a brand new van in your garage. Your a single mother since no husband in his right mind would choose a van for a commuting vehicle when his wife already drives one, so that van in the garage is the replacement for the one out here in the driveway, and your replacing this one because there's more damage than just cosmetic. Your asking a completely rediculous price because you need the money to pay a credit card off that you probably overextended for the new van. I'm not going to have any luck talking you down from $3K to what it's really worth, which is about $300 bucks, because you can't afford to take the $2500 loss" Oh man did she glare! Pretty harsh but she got off cheaply otherwise, I was the one who had to waste 45 minutes of time driving to and from a dry hole. And it may have helped the next buyer.

Oh, I had already got through beating him down and we had agreed on a price by then, and as this was a cherry vehicle and the luxury version of it, he was definitely going to get what we settled on from someone else. Truthfully I could have got the same vehicle, mechanically equivalent, if I had just gone for a 3.3L Caravan extended wheelbase, for probably $1500 to $2000 less. But I was buying this for my wife, and most women put far more stock in fripperies like leather seats and power windows than they do the powertrain. And when your wife has just had a baby and you have hormone city in your house, there's not a lot that can buy you some peace and quiet during that time, you would gladly pay the $1500-$2000 if it would do so (which this did). I think that's why I never heard the "I was in labor for 8 hours with your child" argument from her. ;-)
Actually, I think he was surprised simply because he hadn't sold a vehicle before through private sale. He and his family lived in a very nice house in a upper middle class section of the city and I got to talking with him after we finished up, and he admitted that he had always traded in his vehicles before, but this time around a friend of his had helped him to price it and convinced him to go private sale, he would get more money that way. I told him his friend was absolutely right, and I also warned him that fake cashiers checks are easy to create on a PC, and to never accept anything other than cash.
Ted
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

How come you know so much :) So all these years poor Cory Giles got zero credit for ending the slaughter or killing at the Salem Witch Trial? He did not do it for his family at all? Maybe he had no family so that's how you know? I never read that before. Poor Corey. Why did they pick on him? He had a nice property? At 80, it's unlikely he had the visions and hallucinations. Still he did an awful lot for a community that killed him in a particularly gruesome way. I gather he did not have claustrophobia.
PBS had a quaint show on this. Probably the damp season and the ergot ? fungus on the wheat gave the girls a bit of a hallucinogenic high, like eating too many illegal mushrooms. The thing I loved was that recently they excavated the house of the main preacher killer, and he was an alcoholic with all these forbidden bottles hidden below the house. Just another TV Bible Belt preacher like what's his name but up north.

Good reply, I'll try to remember that. You should compile a list. I never think well on my feet, or for that matter, not so well when sitting down, come to think of it...

That's a lot to work through. After driving 45 minutes I would have been too bummed out to think all that through. You sound like a murder mystery solver putting all the clues together. Not bad. Have you ever thought about social science? We could use someone who can think. Most just talk instead.
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