long distance q purchases

Block, Paul Paul.Block at fortjamesmail.com
Wed Dec 13 11:51:36 EST 2000

"Steve Jensen" Wrote:

> What would you say is the limit as far as reasonable distances you
> have driven or would drive to buy a special car that you found for
> sale, say, on the internet?

I hope not to damper the enthusiasm, but to push a bit of reality into the

Last year, I flew from WI to south AL to purchase a q.  When I saw and drove
the car, it was definitely not the same car that the nincompoop was talking
to me about on the phone.  Yes the car was still worth my travel and I still
bought it, but I spent the next month fixing things on the car that "all
worked" when talking to Mr. Idiot on the phone and in emails.

Things learned:

Seller negotiations:
  After hundreds of emails and phone calls, if your comfortable with what
you hear about the car and you're sure you want to go and get it, send the
seller one last email and make one more phone call.  In the email, list
_everything_ that you know (or think you know) about the car and what you
are expecting to see when you get there, right down to hail dings and dust
in the vents.  Do you get my drift, be detailed.  Give the seller a call,
make sure that they have read your email and give them a chance to change or
correct any of your assumptions on the car (if seller changes anything, send
a new email).  Let the seller know, and make sure that they agree that if
_anything_ on the car is not what is detailed in your email, you fully
expect the selling price to be changed to reflect the discrepancy (if they
won't agree to this then they are proly lying about the car).  
It is a good idea (but if your a gamblin' man, not necessary) to have a
lister or garage (recommended by the list, _not_ the seller) check out the
car (plan on adding $100 or so to the price of the car).  

  Get cheap _round_ trip tickets from priceline or some other place (I paid
$120 on priceline).  Take my word for it, this will remove a lot of stress
on the way there, knowing that if you don't like the car, you can turn right
back around, get on a plane and fly home.  Pack a small bag with some tools
in it, and yes airport security will make you open it and dig through it so
don't put anything personal it.  Take a bank check for $1500 less than the
asking price of the car and the rest in cash or travelers checks.  Take
along a printed check list of everything that needs to be checked on a car
before buying (this way you won't forget to check anything when your brain
is foggy and glasses are rose colored ;o)).  When you get there go through
your check list, mark things off and take notes.  After checking out the
car, if there are any surprises, you can use the $1500 to negotiate.

  I don't think any distance is too far, just be sure to add all of the cost
and time into the price of the car and know what your actually paying for
the car.  Ask yourself, is it still worth it?  Would I travel again for a
car?  Yes, but I would follow the simple advice learned and given above.

Good Luck

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