No Timewasters, Dreamers or Test Pilots

Car buying
TV Shopping.  No one really likes shopping but we do it anyway.  Your current TV is OK but it is getting a bit long in the tooth.  Or you’ve moved house and now the TV that was OK for your flat looks a little lost in your more spacious house.  So begins the journey of getting a TV.

 

You do your research, look into what the TVs do and then you are set to go and get one.  At this point you walk into an electronics shop like Currys or Richer Sounds and see what is about.  After all, reviews and comments are all good and well but the reality can be different for all of us.  After all, we see things in different ways and interpret comments differently too.  As you stand over the TV that is in your shortlist to buy a salesman comes over.  While you are committed to buying the TV you wonder if the salesman is trying to push you into wanting to buy the TV right here and right now.  Suddenly you almost feel like a bit of a timewaster, and are willing to not buy the TV you wanted.  Maybe it wasn’t what you expected, or another one caught your eye there.  Did the reviews not pick up on a horrendously awkward menu structure on the TV?  And so I come onto car adverts.

“No timewasters, canvassers or test pilots”  It is a common sight on many adverts out there.  Reading such adverts you would think that car buyers have nothing better to do than just aimlessy wonder over to a car and never buy it.  Or do they?
Of course, such people exist but over the many cars I have sold I would beg to differ.  Is it the buyers who are at fault or is it the sellers?  The truth?  It’s a bit of both.
Take Exhibit A.  Roughly a year ago when I realised that owning two cars as near enough dailies on the go would not work I decided to buy a car which do hopefully do all that I wanted for the price point.  In this case it was a BMW M3, of the E46 shape for the nerds wondering which one.  This according to many sources out there should have been an absolute doddle.  “Yeah, £7k will get you a good ‘un mate, innit”?  Looking at a variety of adverts and their descriptions this certainly appeared to be the case.
hearsall-2
It looked so good in the pictures. I guess a photo can only speak a thousand words
With a list of 4 or 5 cars identified around the area I decided to go M3 hunting.  That’s looking to buy, not trying to race them.
“When your 250,000 mile Mondeo V6 looks better than an Audi with a third of the mileage you know that you are looking at a pup”
In short, many of the cars were tired out wrecks.  Despite all having no crash damage or finance history most looked like war victims, with rust brewing from wheelarches, brakes which would require replacement as well as patchy service history.  Oh, with them dashboards that illuminated the tatty interiors like a Christmas tree.  Of course, the sellers were more than happy to point out the faults once you got to the car and omit some obvious ones prior to you arrived.  A good car?  These were money pits that would cost thousands, not hundreds to get right!
It the same story two years ago when I was looking to buy an Audi TT.  I got sick of looking at so many wrecks I eventually decided to call off the search.  When your 250,000 mile Mondeo V6 looks and drives better than an Audi with a third of that mileage you know that you are looking at a pup, not a car which is in “very good condition, and taken car of”.
I did eventually find the right car, but it took almost 5 cars to get to it.  Whether that made me a timewaster or not I don’t know.  That is not to say that I have ever sold a perfect car either!
That said, I have been on the receiving end of it when I have sold cars.
With my Triumph Stag it had become a bit of a moneypit after being a bad purchase.  And so I tentatively put it up for a price for quite a bit less than what it owed me.  It was strong was the pricing, make no mistake.  Suffice to say I had my share of “timewasters” too.  I have glossed over a few bits because I was just getting sick of the car.  Every month I was putting hundreds into fixing the car.  I guess I was running out of steam with the venture.  That said, the car was a massive improvement from when I bought it.
The first bloke who came to see it wasn’t too impressed.  To be honest some of the offers were dreamworthy ; £3500 for a Stag with MOT and Tax from an asking price of £7000 is taking the Michael a little.  Eventually a good buyer, or fool depending on your outlook, took the car off my hands.  It’s fair to say it’s a better car now than it was before.
But with the above I guess I was partly to blame.  If I had been a little more honest maybe the buyers would have been more forthcoming.  But on the otherhand how many honestly described cars have you seen?  I know for me it is not that many.
The issue for both the buyers and sellers is interpretation of things.  If someone says a car has worn well for its age and mileage they are referring to if they had a car that they kept, not me.  Of course that creates an issue, naturally.  I will tend to change things as they wear out, not relying on an MOT to make me aware of it.  Many others don’t follow that philosophy it would seem.
This naturally leaves the car buyers and sellers of the world with a final question.  Throughout all of the searching are we simply human in having different expectations, or are we timewasters?
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