Mike Humble gives it both barrels about the perils of advertising your car privately
Want an easy sale? Want a decent buyer to buy it? Then don’t skimp on the advert!
A great deal can be said about private car adverts. My own experience tends to suggest that the cheaper the advert, the cheaper the vendor and, in most cases, the poorer quality of customer. Sounds snobby? Well,you’d be surprised. When selling a motor there are some places I simply won’t advertise it. My all-time pet hates include the free advert paper you find in the local chippy or corner shop – you know the one, I think it comes out the day after Thursday – and the other one is bloody Gumtree. If you want to get messed around then the aforementioned will get you mad to point of your feet itching.
In another one of those work conversations, a colleague starts bickering on about the number of idiots ringing him up night and day with stupid offers or asking, in Eastern European dialects, ‘er, what’s the, er, lowest price you take for, er, your car?’ and the myriad of text messages asking if he will take a Raleigh Grifter and a PS2 in part exchange. Now the motor in question, although not everyone’s cup of tea is a 2008 Zafira 150 CDTi in Silver Lightning with a good mileage (circa 49,000), two owners and in a decent SRi trim level – I’ve seen the car and it’s prime used material which would do Family Guy proudly.
It transpires he’s advertised the Zafira on as many free sites and outlets as possible and he’s stunned by the twonks and dunderheads who have been round to look at it. One even came round sporting a tag on his leg with a wife in tow who allegedly looked like a very overweight Kat Von D – his words, not mine. It’s priced on the button and they only reason they want shot is because someone in the family has recently kicked the bucket and left them an almost brand-new car. I posed the thorny question of why they hadn’t advertised it on a specialist car website such as AutoTrader and he retorted: ‘Oh no, I’m not paying for an advert.’
And it’s here, boys and girls, that a fatal mistake has been made – if you bombard the free press with your car, the chances are you will just end up with low-life punters. You see, if you are looking to bail out of a wrecked Almera for a few hundred notes or a three-pot Corsa that idles like a tumble drier full of pebbles then these freebies are fine – crap cars attract crap buyers. Decent cars deserve a decent advert and this should lower the risk of your runabout sale turning into the kind of runaround that even the late Mike Reid would be envious of.
For the sake of a few quid, place your car on a reputable site along with some nice snaps taken down by the river or local park. Then sprinkle a few choice words about the car itself without going all War and Peace – remember to put all the important details like MoT, service history and your location within the first two or three lines (people tend to skim read or get bored after the eighteenth paragraph) and you’ve cracked it. The trick is to bring people to an actual dialogue so don’t put an email address and use the free number shielding service – this protects you from the lowest of the low… TEXT MESSERS.
An honest, serious and well-informed punter will spot a cheapskate advert from 100 paces so think about how you would like to see a car advert if you were shopping around yourself. Speculate to accumulate and, by playing smart and sensible, you can turn your car sale into an enjoyable experience. Do it on the cheap and it’ll be only you who pays.