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Anyone bought a car off e-bay?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by dumpty, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    My car failed its MOT and I think it is best to scrap it than patch it up for a possible pass.

    So I need another quickly. There is a nice looking car on e-bay but too far to visit so I would be buying blind, apart from the hopeful honesty of the seller.

    I am still tempted to bid and see what happens but what say ye?
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Just find a car locally.
    TCSC47 and Laphroig like this.
  3. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Makes sense but there really is not much locally - and is more I need this done quickly. Even visiting cars locally can be a waste of time and energy.
  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Not done it... and not a risk I'd like to take.
    border_walker, catmother and Laphroig like this.
  5. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I wouldn't buy a toaster off ebay
    border_walker, Laphroig and dumpty like this.
  6. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    I would be very wary of buying such an expensive item from Ebay - although, in fairness, they always take the buyer's side so....
    Caveat Emptor springs to mind.
    FrankWolley likes this.
  7. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    I've bought cars off ebay but generally only ones that are close enough to visit and view. It's very tempting to get caught up in the auction and end up paying over the odds. Set yourself a limit before you start bidding and wait until the last half hour before you start bidding.

    I've yet to meet anyone who ever gets buying a car perfectly right. There's always pitfalls.

    Saying that, I broke my own rules when I bought a car from Lincolnshire via ebay and just threw the money at the seller, by crediting his bank account with the cash and adding some extra so he could tax it for twelve months and not six as he had planned to do.

    All without seeing the car in the flesh and then travelling a round-trip of a hundred and forty miles to pick it up. Turned out it was alright and £2,500 got me a car that lasted for five years.

    The downside was that it was a category D rebuild so it would have been difficult to re-sell. It didn't matter really because I put it through a hedge on black ice and wrote it off for the second time. The insurance company paid me £600 and for the hawthorn whips for the farmer.

    The present car I bought for £6,000 from a budget of £8,000. I save a quarter of the money and have a full service, possibly new battery, brake pads, tyres etc and the 'serpentine' belt that drives the auxiliaries replaced.

    I bought that thirty-two months ago and have just spent £4,000 on it having major work done and service and MOT. It's been in two garages for a total of thirty-five days with the free loan of a van. The garages fit my car around their other work so I get a reduction. £4,000 is a lot but I've had major work done on the engine and loads of parts replaced on the 'airmatic' self-levelling suspension. I claim 80% against tax anyway. It's a genuine business expense.

    Just check out it's not a category D write off that has been legally rebuilt.

    My cars are Mercedes so you can imagine a cat D rebuild isn't such a bad deal. The car I bought was 're-shelled': everything stripped out, the shell thrown away and a new or second-hand shell acquired and then put everything on and in it. Plus a respray. Not bad for £2,500.
    dumpty likes this.
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    No! Don't do it. You know nothing about it or whether it even exists. How will you get it? Will the seller meet you somewhere, which is how stolen cars are often sold, or when the alleged private seller is actually a dealer? How will you check anything about it? And why would you? Buy locally from a seller you can check out.

    We saw our old car on eBay 18 months after we sold it. It had an unmendable fault, the sort that could be covered up for a few miles' driving with a bit of jiggery pokery, and which wasn't mentioned in the listing. Just don't!
    border_walker, dumpty and Laphroig like this.
  9. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    What are you after car-wise?

    Saloon, hatchback, estate? 1.5 litre, 3 litre? What I'd do is sort out your budget, put a quarter to one side and then wait till near the end of the auction and bid. You're better starting with a make and model in mind and an idea of how old is reasonable. Then think about what the insurance and tax would be. It might be dearer than your last car.

    If you liked your last car, get another one the same.
    dumpty likes this.
  10. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Thanks all - appreciated.

    I have only had gas guzzlers to be honest but was thinking of getting the exact opposite this time - a little Toyota Aygo or such.

    My present car is 260 quid tax so getting one that has a 20 quid tax bill and does 60 mpg is something I want to try.

    And yes, don't drive as much as I used to but need a car for work and shopping.
  11. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    I bought one on ebay. I didn't pay until I went to the house and drove it. Much the same as buying from auto trader. Had it been no good I would have walked.
  12. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Just a note for everyone in case you did not know - you can now check out the MOT history of cars online. Just enter the plate and it is free:


    Using this does indeed tend to show about 80% of the cars being sold privately on e-bay received serious advisories last MOT.

    Some even prove clocking (or to be fair, human error) as they have things like 2016: 90,000 miles 2017: 55, 000
  13. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Yes, according to e-bay this is the rule.

    You go with the cash but then have every right to drive the car and look it over BUT should only back out if the seller deliberately made a false claim. (No rust....then you notice the sills are holed and corroded....)
  14. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    No, but I sold one on Craigslist.

    I was actually selling a dining room table and he ended up making me an offer for my car as well as taking the dining room table.
    dumpty likes this.
  15. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    A great little car, @dumpty - we hired one on holiday in Mykonos and it tackled the hills with ease (mind you, it was an automatic!) Four doors and even the basic model was well equipped (it had a good size screen to show the reverse parking camera.) We had it for three days and only needed to pay 5 Euros for the petrol we used.The only slight downside was it had a very small boot. if I wasn't so in love with my Fiesta I would consider getting one! Good luck with whatever you decide.
    dumpty likes this.
  16. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    We sold one on ebay a while ago when we replaced both of ours. Had a couple of long distance "buyers", they were a pain in the bum, difficult to fit in a visit, expected us to fit in around them, wanted to make an offer when it was on an auction format, they wanted favours that nearby people didn't. Ended up selling it to someone in the next town who just beat someone in the next village to it.

    Not saying that you'll be like this dumpty, but it highlights the impracticality of buying a car at a distance in this way.
    dumpty likes this.
  17. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Your best bet is to visit a church on Sunday and when you see a little old lady get into an Aygo, engage her in conversation about how dangerous the roads are these days, what with all those maniacs in SUVs blocking her vision at roundabouts and tailgating her.

    It won't be long before she admits how frightened she gets among them in her little car. Ask her how frequently she drives, then when she tells you she only uses the car to get to church, it ought to be easy enough to convince her it would be far cheaper and safer if she went by taxi.

    Tell her if she thinks about taking your advice, and decides to sell her car, not to get ripped off by a dodgy car dealer like Arthur Daley, wearing his Nigel Farage coat, but to give you a call instead and you'll take the car off her hands for what spivs like that sell it for.

    That way you get a genuine low milage car, only ever driven to church by a little old lady. Talk to her about your views on Brexit and the chances are she'll insist on letting you have for what she'd get for it from that nice Mr Farage.

    Sorry, I meant Athur Daley.
    dumpty likes this.
  18. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Autotrader and look at the reviews for the seller. If "trade" you may wonder why photos of car are obviously taken on someone's drive. Pay by credit card if possible, many "dealers" don't take credit cards so you have no comeback (they say it costs them to use, but tough, I want the protection). Don't buy a Peugeot. Never trust "doctor owner", "lady owner" (why should either look after a car better? Doctors are in a hurry, women know nothing about cars on the whole, my ex bugg*rs clutches in 10K miles!) or "good condition" without the service history. If it has a cambelt, when was it changed, ask for the proof. If they say it has just been serviced check the oil, it should be golden brown. Check the tyres. Look at the coolant.
  19. Spiritwalkerness

    Spiritwalkerness Star commenter

    Over the past 15 yeas, I've bought my last three cars from Ebay but they were all from dealers. Each one has been brilliant but I was paying £1000's not £100's and they were all one price ones, not really best bids. What I've found is you can get a better spec car for less. But one did involve a long train journey to go and collect.

    My last purchase though,now I think about it, wasn't a dealer but a local owner, we made him a fair offer and he accepted. Admittedly, it did conk out in the middle of nowhere but it was the alternator and timing belt and he certainly wouldn't have known it was about to conk out, as it would have done so 48 hours after purchase not 8 weeks.

    If your looking to buy at knock down prices, you may as well go to the auctions as they are even better prices than Ebay.
  20. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Several guidelines:
    1. Never buy without test drive and without really detailed examination of the car
    2. Remember you need to be insured for the test drive, and your own policy may not cover you - some do, some don't. The vendor's policy almost certainly won't. Check and sort it out: short-term policies are very cheap.
    3. Beware of the "private seller" who is actually a dealer. See the car at the address on the V5 log book, not anywhere else. Someone selling for their aunt/grandfather.whoever is probably not doing so.
    4. A service history is very important but they can be faked.
    5. Remember you have next to no legal protection of buying privately.
    6. If buying from a dealer, you do have protection, but will have to return the car to the dealer if there are problems. That means that buying from a distant dealer is a big risk.
    7. Remember that the V5 isn't proof of ownership; an HPI check is a useful but not infallible safeguard. You really need to see the invoce for when the car last changed hands.
    8. Purchased warranties are often close to valueless
    9. If you buy, you must tax and insure the car before you set off for home. Remember cars are no longer sold with x months' tax: on change of keeper, the tax is removed and the remainder refunded to the vendor,
    10. Ask questions. Has it been crashed and repaired? Is it a repaired write-off? cam belt? etc etc and write down what the vendor says.

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