Buying and Selling Motors

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Having now bought and sold a number of vehicles between me and my partner, I thought I should offer some words of wisdom on the subject, firstly Buying and then Selling, hope it's of use.


 I have bought from eBay, a Vauxhall Calibra (JAM), a Land Rover Series 3 (GELLY), and my partner has bought a Vauxhall Calibra SE2,

  1. An MOT certificate really has NO bearing on whether the vehicle will get you home., in the case of the Vauxhall Calibra SE2, the alternator needed replacing and meant a stop-over 300 miles away from home, to wait for the garage to have the part in stock. The car had broken down after 50 miles.  In the case of the Land Rover Series 3 it broke down after I filled it with petrol, about 5 miles down the road as the radiator had a large hole in it. I took it back and negotiated that the seller went and got the repairs carried out for me at no cost to me. I also asked for my money back until I collected the vehicle after it was in working order., so as not to see him with Landy and cash run a mile never to be seen again!! The first Vauxhall Calibra I bought was as a Buy It Now after being reduced, I asked them whether they felt the head gasket was in need of replacing, and they said no., it did go after about 500-600 miles and left me on a grass verge in the middle of nowhere.  If you suspect that there is a issue with the vehicle and that is the reason why the seller is selling, do enough research to see if you can fund all of the repairs. Some cars have common problems after a certain mileage..   If I had thought ahead about the cost of all the work needed for the first Calibra, JAM, then I really wouldn't have bought it.
  2. "Personalised" Number Plates, a number of cars advertised have so-called personalised number plates as a perk of the deal, I would say this is very often to encourage people to buy. Part of the reason I bought JAM was because I thought I would easily make my money back through the number plate websites, I registered it with every one I could, and had no offers in 6 months of ownership. Don't get me wrong, the RIGHT number plates can be highly sought after and VERY valuable, but do your research!  
  3. In the case of picking up JAM it was my own car that broke down with a puncture and the breakdown company were unable to tow us back, because I didn't have a spare wheel at the time.
  4. Ultimately, there is usually a good reason why someone is trying to flog their motor on eBay, be it to make a bit of money from trading, to get rid/dispose of and often because the cost of repairs outweighs the value of the vehicle. 


I have sold a Vauxhall Corsa, Vauxhall Calibra, JAM, a Toyota Corolla and numerous Vauxhall parts through eBay.  

The Corsa I ended early because I had received an offer, which back-fired enormously, I had put my phone number on the listing to allow people to get in touch for directions/questions etc, I shouldn't have accepted the outside offer it hadn't been my intentions to do so. He came to pick it up about a week later, then proceeded to break the bonnet catch, whilst it was still in my ownership, but thankfully took it, he also noticed that the MOT had just run out, which I hadn't checked the exact date of, I then received a phone call asking for his money back, and for me to have the car back, due to needing a new tyre on the back wheel, and some other minor work for MOT. I was really unhappy about the situation and deeply worried that he would turn up at my address causing trouble, I felt quite threatened so I agreed to pay for the work neeeded for MOT, in the end I made very little money from the sale and he wasn't happy with it., I'd say:

  1. Don't put your phone number on listings as it may backfire badly
  2. Don't be tempted to end an auction early even if it's nail biting to watch til the last minute
  3. Do check all your paperwork
  4. Do be as honest as you can be without putting people off!
  5. If you know there's something that needs to be fixed say so, claiming ignorance wont win you any favours with your buyer
  6. Think about whether getting an MOT certificate will improve the saleability of the vehicle, but use a reputable garage to do it for you, £50-£100 spent now may get more confidence from your buyers., and give you peace of mind 
  7. Really encourage people to view the vehicle first, but don't allow them to get too stuck in, show them around so you're in control, if they break something then they should pay..

The Calibra was sold to a eBay trader who was really happy with it, I was honest about all the work required and how long left I felt it would keep going (not long!). I had just replced a ton of stuff, including the radiator, the brakes, given it full service, not to mention the head gasket being replaced by my partner. I made, after fees feees and more feeees, about £90?, I think it would have been easier to phone the scrap man to pick it up. I'd say,.

  1. Look into other ways of selling or disposing of a vehicle as not everybody will be happy with a complete wreck, (the "we buy any car" website looks rather like they'll encourage you to buy a new motor when they take your old one in and also offer you less than originally stated for it).
  2. After you have spent £28 on fees if it fetches £120 then the scrap/salvage people may be able to offer more than what you will net. And they will be keen to take it off your hands, so you wont have to spend time prepping the car for sale.
  3. If you are handy with a spanner you could strip it to sell spare parts, although time consuming and messy it's good fun, with the bonus that anything you have recently replaced can be taken out and sold on again! 
  4. In total I lost about £400 on this car, all because I thought I'd make some money on the "personalised" number plate.    

The Toyota has been revently sold to an eBay trader, it took over a month to be picked up but was paid for quickly. At one point I was offered a sale from some local lads wanting it for a banger, I didn't realise this and spent ages polishing it and cleaning it to good standard, complete waste of my time! Again the local scrap man offered only a little bit less than what I netted profit-wise, and purely because I felt that the vehicle was too good for scrap is what kept me from doing it.

I am happy to take certain risks with eBay and think it's part of it, it certainly gives my boyf and I stories to laugh about, but it can be really stressful and really hard to see you money go and that slightly dissapointing car in it's place, but, if it's the one you want and you're willing to put time and money into it then it will probably be worth it in the end,

Hope this is helpful,.  



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