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AutoTrader Experiences



  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...when doing a phone 'interview' about used cars, especially beaters, it's important to ask specific questions. Vague questions like 'How's the body?' is going to be answered with an equally vague, it not completely misleading answer. Though I can't exactly call most of my car ownership experiences great, I do usually prepare a list of a few questions for each car (especially those seemingly avoided in the ad like mileage and transmission type) and jot down responses while I'm on the phone. I do think it helps.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,562
    be careful what you ask for... cut&paste following.

    "How To Make The Phone Call

    So you pick up the phone and say this: Hi, my name is X, I’m calling about your ad in the paper. At that point, they’ll either start talking about their Prizm, or they’ll say – and this happens rather often – “Which one?” If they’re also selling a toaster oven, fine. But if they’ve got more than one car for sale, beware. Your job is to figure out if you’re talking with an individual selling their own car, or a dealer selling cars while posing as a private owner. This practice is called “curbstoning” and is often used to unload undesirable cars. I will not deal with someone like that as a matter of principle. Why bother? There are plenty of nice cars out there.
    Next, start asking questions. How long have they had the car? How does it drive? What’s the gas mileage? Get them talking. Ask if the title is in their name. Are they the first owner? Did they have any trouble with it? Has the car been smoked in ($500 hit) or do they have a dog? Dog smell is all but impossible to remove. Where did they go for service? Did they get the recommended service done? And a big one: Has the car ever been in an accident? Has it had any paint work done? A $1000 fender bender with subsequent dent work and repaint will lower the value of a newer car by at least $1k. A $5k accident with frame damage lowers the value of the car by 40% or so, even if it is perfectly restored – this is a fact that few people are aware of. No sense in buying a car that will give you a BIG headache when you try to sell it two years down the road. Even if there were just some scratches, the fact that paint work was done brings up question marks that lower the value of the car. If you ever need any paint work, better keep all the documentation.

    Always ask this question: May I ask how you figured out your asking price? Wish I’d’a thought of this one sooner. This gives me ammunition for later use; every time I ask it I get information that is useful.

    When interviewing people about their cars, use your imagination. If you’re buying an SUV, van, or truck, don’t ask “Has this vehicle been used to tow heavy loads”? Instead, tell them you’re interested in using the vehicle for towing a travel trailer or some such, and ask about their experience. If they get all gushy about how well their F150 pickup dealt with their 4,500 lb. fishing boat every weekend, you can either start saving for a new transmission or go and buy something else."

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,737
    One more reason to just buy a new car, and keep it for a long time, doing the maintenance, etc.

    Some wise (person? [non-permissible content removed]? can't remember who it is, but I'm leaning toward person) in town hall likes to say "everyone drives a used car" which is true, but the best used car is one where you know how it was driven and maintained. And I don't even like to let my wife drive my car since I don't know how she is treating it.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,737
    wonder if AT will be at all useful for a free ad for my Miata.

    Anyone have advice on the best place to list something like a Miata?? Maybe a board they can share (I never joined any other ones when I got the Miata). Just looking for something beyond the local paper, and short of Ebay.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I think AutoTrader is a pretty good place to put an ad, a lot more people know about it now and most households (at least those in the market for a Miata) have computers and internet. The nice color picture tends to whet the appetite of potential buyers, too. Conversely, I think eBay is a decent place for collector cars, but I can't imagine why someone would buy something that's easily available locally (your average newer car) from a buyer halfway across the country, unless the price and/or condition of the car were absolutely phenomenal.

    There 'technically' IS a way of listing a car on for free, but it's an absolutely-no-details kind of ad (smaller, at the end of all other ads for cars of similar description, price and phone number only, no picture, no mileage, no color, nothing). At best this will get you too many lookie-lous or a bunch of calls that will go nowhere because of the cars details (mileage, transmission, color) that aren't described in the ad, or worse, will get you no response at all. Serious ads get serious response; I'd spend a little money, weed out those for whom the car isn't right and attract the real potential customers.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I've had numerous experiences with calling or e-mailing sellers of ads on AutoTrader, only to discover some of the vehicles had sold literally MONTHS before. Apprently if you purchase the 'til it sells' type of ad, unless the seller contacts autotrader, it will sit on the website indefinitely. Very irritating. Of course, if the seller is too lazy to contact them and thus avoid the phone calls, I guess we can't blame AutoTrader, now can we?
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... ** will sit on the website indefinitely. Very irritating. **

               Good point, but most of it is ego .. I've had customers tell me that they sold their vehicle in 2hrs and got $2,000 over the retail *asking* price .. then come to find out it was in the ad for 6 weeks and they got handed $3,000 under the asking price - ego my friend, ego .................... :)

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...why would someone tell me (a potential buyer) that the car had sold several months before if they still had it for sale?

    What I mean is, sellers forget to contact AutoTrader when their car sells, then it can sit on the website for months. It's a pain. I think they should put the date the ad first ran somewhere in the ad, and perhaps let the sellers log on to cancel the ad when it sells.
  • qwallsqwalls Posts: 406
    I believe "run till it sells" ads drop off after 60 days unless you renew them.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Speaking from my own current experience trying to sell my '98 Mustang, the last ad you wrote would run about $100 in the local paper. They're prices are $45 for an itty bitty 3 line ad running 3 weeks and $10 for each additional line. So to run a super ad like you mentioned, would probably be upwards of $100. The ad I posted with them cost me $65 and I only got a couple calls. Don't think we even got to the negatives about my car (18" wheels and dual flow masters) that we've talked about in "Real World Trade In".
    I tried running a super ad in autotrader but was limited to about 200 characters. After posting the basics and options, hardly enough room for things like "new brakes, maint. up to date, carfax report, must sell, etc. etc." And that cost me $55 for 12 weeks. The last time I checked, there were about six other 98 Mustangs similar to mine within 100 miles, mine is priced near the bottom of the price range, so far one call, and that was a no show. I think I'd go hungry if I were a car salesman....LOL.
    My last resort will be ebay. I can post an absolutely super ad with a great description and lots of pics for less than $45. If I get a bid I'm looking for, there's another $40 charge.
  • mybuymybuy Posts: 42
    I wasn't sure where to put this question, so if there is a better forum for it, please let me know. I'm selling my 02 Astro AWD on Autotrader. My first serious buyer lives in the UK now and will be moving back to Montreal where he wants the van shipped. This is the first time I'm selling on the internet, so I have a lot of questions about how to get the money (certified check, I'm sure) and then hand over the title in a way that is trustworthy for both parties + now has the added complexity of shipping across the Canadian border. Any guidance or suggestions of where to look for other advice this would be appreciated.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ........ There is a lot of "I live in Nigeria, and I will pay you double" .. "I'm in the UK and I'm moving to the States and I will give you a check for $25,000 and you give me the rest back" .. and unfortunately Ebay just plugged with a $900,000 settlement because of internet fake bids ... I'm sure there will be many more posts on this subject .. me, I have to drink coffee and watch my favorite cartoons.

                  You have to VERY careful these days ....

  • mybuymybuy Posts: 42
    Thanks for the heads-up. That's why if this looks legit, I want to be extra careful with working out the details. He did send both his London and Montreal addresses with his inquiry, though I will try to double check if those are legitimate addresses too. As you point out, the internet has lots of possible pitfalls as well as opportunities. Thanks!
  • mybuymybuy Posts: 42
    It appears that my UK/Canada based potential buyer is a relative of all the Nigerian-based scams. They has received a large refund check from another deal that had fallen through, and their "agent" would deliver the large check to me, and all I needed to do was hand over the title and the $8100 difference between the refund check and the price of my vehicle. Yeah, right! I sent Autotrader an e-mail about this potential fraud. Who else should I report it to? Seller Beware!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,737
    Frankly, an Astro is not a particularly rare or expensive item. No way it could be worth the time/expense to ship it, etc. like this (assuming it was a legitimate deal). It would have to be much asier to just find one in Canada (it's not like Montreal isn't a big place with lots of cars).

    Maybe on a rare or exotic car it might be worth it, but not a basic domestic.

    I wonder how many people actually fall for this scam? Somebody must, or they wouldn't keep trying.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • I just got scammed from an internet "sale". After some E-mails we agreed on a price. I received a cashiers check from a stateside bank and was asked to forward some funds to the shipper, which I did. Later I was asked to forward a little more and another cashiers check was sent, and received, by me. The checks are stolen or couterfit and the account numbers are bogus. This is a Nigeria scam, that we have heard about. Cost me $3700...Take wire transfers only and make sure they are cleared by the bank before doing anything else.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,041
    Ouch! I'm really sorry to hear that you got taken like that, but thanks for sharing your story. We'd all like to believe the best in people, and with a cashier's check, you tend to figure it's the same as cash.

    It sounds like you're wiser, and I sure hope you've recovered from the loss.

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  • qwallsqwalls Posts: 406
    Sorry to hear that. I got several of these emails when I sold my car this past July. My "buyers" tended to go away when I told them I would only accept a check for the exact amount of the sale, and I had to approve the bank it was drawn on. Goes without saying to confirm the validity of the check with the bank. After 3 or 4, changing my ad to read "US buyers only" helped, and I only got one more bogus email. I got pretty good at spotting the bogus emails. For someone about to spend over 20k for a used car, they just weren't asking the right questions.
  • I can have my friend / sales mgr run it so I can see EXACTLY what options are on the car, as well as the service history that the mfr has captured. If I'm really interested in the car he can run a carfax for me as well. This worked well for me this past year. I can also guess the mfg date off the VIN on certain cars so I can approximate the amount or remaining warranty the car has. There's lots one can do with the right tools and contacts.
  • Dislikes:

    1. dealer name, city and phone numbers not listed on main search results page: an annoyance, but i can click through - usually. (I think this falls under traderonlines area of responsibility)

    2. mfr certified cars not showing up as such (probably listers fault)

    3. Irrelavent "option" info (definately listers fault. This is what I mean, an endless list of cars all with the following "options" leather seats, alloy wheels, V6, auto trans, power windows, AC, etc, ad nauseum when ALL OF THIS is STANDARD EQUIPMENT on the car I'm looking at. The 3 or 4 REAL options, sunroof, Bose audio, sport package, chrome wheels are NOT LISTED. That caused me no end of headaches.

    4. no VIN # (listers fault see my previous post)

    5. no color, I will NOT buy any shade of beige or tan, uugh! (listers fault)

    6. no mileage (listers fault)


    What I Like:

    1. excellent way to see what is out there and the range of asking prices.

    2. can put in a distance and / or year filter

    3. can filter for CPO cars

    I made extensive use of autotrader in my last two car purchases and will seriously consider it when trying to sell my next car (If I have to sell one).
  • I had my car out on Autotrader for about a year, lowered the price & still got a few calls, I put it on which is linked to our local newspaper & it sold in less than a month after listing!
  • wonswons Posts: 10
    I've been trying to research used cars all weekend. Make of car comes up but then the model selection is grayed out and I can't look for a particular model. So, doing a wider search for all models always gets this: 0 vehicles.

    Anyone else having trouble with this?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I'd say their data base is down or empty, but the internet 'front end' is still working.
  • mldj98mldj98 Posts: 378
    I just recently sold my car and had it listed in several areas such as Auto-Trader, local newspaper, flyer magazine....and when I received calls on it I would always ask where they seen my add...the answers were pretty spread out accross the board...some seen it in the paper, some on the internet, etc...
    But like anything else, if you are trying to sell a product (in this case your car) then you have to put it out where it will give you the most exposure.
    I did gets those scam emails and the answer I sent back was not very me! I cannot say those types of things in this forum...
    What I can say is that there is only three ways to accept payment on your car...
    The first is cash!!! Now if your selling a $30,000 car then you may not want that kind of cash laying around in your house...especially since the person who just bought your car knows you have it!!! Need to think about that one...Second is a cashiers check from a LOCAL BANK ONLY!!! That way you can either go down to that bank with the buyer or call them to verify the funds...don't call the number that the buyer gives you...look it up...hell the person could give you the number to their scam buddy and you would never know....last but not least is a wire far the best choice...I don't care if they have a bank, credit union, whatever...every financial institution has the ability to due a transfer. You supply the routing number and account number, bank name and presto it is all only takes hours from funds to get from their bank to is strictly a deposit...and you don't have to worry about giving out your account number because if your bank is any good there is plenty of fraud security there to protect you.....Never, ever conduct deals of such great financial situations through emails...especially Nigerian!!!
    Just read edmunds forums and your learn more in a week than you have your entire life....that's why this forum rocks!!!!
    Be careful out there!
  • nonjth13nonjth13 Posts: 89
    "You supply the routing number and account number, bank name and presto it is all done..." You are not seriously suggesting giving a stranger your bank account information are you?
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...every time you write a check to someone.

    Now, if you sign an auto-debit form, that's different...
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,831

    There is no sure or foolproof way to make a major transaction.. No bank is going to take the hit for any fraud you incur... Unless you operate entirely on cash, they will get their money back one way or another...


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  • mldj98mldj98 Posts: 378

    You give the information to the buyers bank rep...via telephone or in person if you go to their bank or vice versa.
    I will say it again...if you have a good bank then they have security procedures in place to protect you and your account.
    Besides...they have to pay you for your car someway...and for me, before I sign that title over I always make sure those funds are in my account. I have done this many times with no problems whatsoever!
    If you have a good head on your shoulders and know what you are doing then there should be no problem.
    And if all else fails and you just can handle selling a car to private party then just trade it in!
    Enough said...
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    It is irritating when the listers (dealers usually, sorry guys and gals) don't update their listings and remove them when the car sells. Also, lack of details in a listing is a waste - especially color and transmission. My experience is that most dealers that list these used cars KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THEM. I nearly took a 4 hour drive to check out an Eclipse Spyder (from WV into Ohio). the listing quoted it as being a v-6, I called about it, the salesperson assured me it was a 6 cylinder, we talked price, and thank heavens, I took one last hard look at the autotrader photo and could just make out the GS on the back of the car. I called again and asked if that was a GS, she said yes, so, BAM, it's a 4 cylinder. She said that everyone at the lot thought all Eclipses were 6 cylinders. They even priced it as a GT.

    My thoughts on autotrader....look all you want to, check and double-check before you buy!!
  • gregjohnsongregjohnson Posts: 117
    >You do it every time you write a check to someone.

    Interestingly, this also works in reverse - The back of the negotiated check gives you the recipient's corresponding information. This can be.... useful.

This discussion has been closed.