Why Would Anyone Buy a Car From "Bring a Trailer?" - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Why Would Anyone Buy a Car From "Bring a Trailer?"

Warning this is a RANT. Also a warning to unsuspecting motor heads thinking bout buying a car on Bring a Trailer.

BaT's business model seems pretty cool - a 7 day auction, where buyers don't inspect cars, but instead rely on the pictures and description in the listing in order to bid. During those 7 days, bidders and the seller can message each other - but only on the BatT site. True identities and contact information being hidden to protect outside deals from happening.

Being the winning bidder on an 8,000 mile 2008 Honda S2000, BaT took it's 5% commission and put me in email contact with the seller. I thanked him and sent him a bill of sale that affirmed the truth of the pictures and description in the listing - I also asked for a copy of his license to make sure I was dealing with the title owner. Remember, I'm sending $32,000 to some guy on the internet that lives halfway across the country. The seller refused to provide a copy of his license and refused to say the listing was a true and accurate. Red flags!

Support at Bring a Trailer was not at all helpful. They apparently will not LIST a car on their site unless the seller signs off on the accuracy of the pictures and description TO THEM, but they do not require that a seller make the same certification for a buyer. Huh? And I learned that their security precautions are non-existent. They don't even verify that the seller is the TRUE OWNER of the vehicle before taking a listing. And of course their Terms of Service say that if the seller screws you for any reason, its between you and the seller, they take no responsibility if you are defrauded.

I would caution anyone using Bring A Trailer as a buyer, particularly if the seller is a private party. The site may work well for sellers, but they ask buyers to send tens of thousands of dollars to strangers on the internet (so that BaT gets their 5% Buyers commission), but have not put in place even the most minimal precautions or security measures for the protection of buyers. Someone is going to lose a lot of money to a scam artist on this site, and BAT will say "take it up with the person that defrauded you, not us."

If the seller is a dealer, there may be some protection. But private party sellers could be legit, or they could be out to make a quick buck on unsuspecting good faith buyers.

It turns out that BaT is just a glorified Craigslist. If you would not send money to a Craigslist seller for a vehicle sight unseen, don't do it at BaT. Both sites offer the same protections - None.

Thanks for listening. Critical commentary welcome.
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 02:52 PM
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Did you back out of the deal then or how was the actual condition of the car?
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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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The seller would not sign anything and would not give me a cc of his license. I reported to BaT and they refunded the commission. So I guess I backed out. My only other option was to send him a certified check for $32,000, wait 5 days for check to clear, arrange for transport, and maybe see the car 3-5 weeks after my check was cashed by the guy that would not identify himself.

Just like a Craigslist deal?

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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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The crazy thing is people are regularly paying 6 figures for cars on that site. Now maybe some of them actually go to the seller and inspect the car before handing over the cash, but I’ve got to believe lots of people are paying 5 figures for cars they don’t see until a long time after the check is cashed

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Last edited by Steve; 01-25-2018 at 06:24 PM.
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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 05:38 PM
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Man, I didn't realize that the after sale support was so bad. I would or sure not be sending a guy $32k without seeing his drivers licence, probably live in a facetime chat even.

Also who accepts a certified check? I would really rather have a personal check that you can verify is real?

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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 05:46 PM
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a plane ticket is cheap insurance to fly your ass out there and look it before buying.

I bought my Exige from a guy in Florida (I live in Illinois) off this forum. Arranged everything, transport, cost, car fax all that stuff remotely and then did a 1 day round trip flight with the check and paperwork in hand. Checked over the car, test drove, validated I'm not getting ripped off, paid for it and arranged for transport to get it the next morning. In and out in 3.5 hours. think that trip cost me $500.

I understand where you're coming from most of these internet sites are not there for you, they exist for that commission check and they're not going to take on any more liability than the absolute minimum. Paypal, for example, is no different go look at the rants about people getting ripped off and rarely being made whole again under the 'buyer protection'.
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 05:52 PM
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If they refunded you, what's the problem?
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I’m just warning others. BaT seems like such a great place where people share their knowledge and information - and it is that. But zero buyer support and absolutely no measures to check the validity of listings. Oh yea, I forgot. No “post auction inspections are allowed” is one of the many non helpful things I got from customer support

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Last edited by Steve; 01-25-2018 at 06:37 PM.
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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 06:08 PM
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I mean, the site is called "bring a trailer" for a reason. It isn't hiding its intent. It's a listing/auction site, not a broker, dealer, or escrow agent. I don't see how it's any different than using autotrader, cars.com, ebay motors, or for that matter even going to a Barrett Jackson.
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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It's a completely completely different business model than those you mention. First, the seller's identity is hidden until you are the winning bidder. So no pre-bid inspections. And per Terms of Service, bids CANNOT be contingent on post-auction inspections. OK. So how about making the seller - at the very least - certify the truth of the pictures and descriptions? Nope. How about making the seller disclose his identity prior to payment? Nope.

It's only a matter of time until a giant scam unfolds.

A few weeks ago a Mercedes sold for $175,000. G50 Porsches like mine regularly go for $40-70k.

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post #11 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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And who is going to make a pre-bid inspection in an auction environment? You are not flying down on a classified ad where you know the price. You are flying "on spec" (if you could get the seller's identity), and may make a dozen trips before you have a winning bid.

Empires dissolve and peoples disappear,
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post #12 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwehnes View Post
a plane ticket is cheap insurance to fly your ass out there and look it before buying.

I bought my Exige from a guy in Florida (I live in Illinois) off this forum. Arranged everything, transport, cost, car fax all that stuff remotely and then did a 1 day round trip flight with the check and paperwork in hand. Checked over the car, test drove, validated I'm not getting ripped off, paid for it and arranged for transport to get it the next morning. In and out in 3.5 hours. think that trip cost me $500.

I understand where you're coming from most of these internet sites are not there for you, they exist for that commission check and they're not going to take on any more liability than the absolute minimum. Paypal, for example, is no different go look at the rants about people getting ripped off and rarely being made whole again under the 'buyer protection'.
I have bought probably 6 cars just the way you describe. But not at auction sites where you can't make a pre-purchase inspection, and where bidding subject to making a post-purchase inspection is expressly prohibited.

I feel like the guy screaming about the sub prime mortgage market before the great crash I will shut up now!

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post #13 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 07:18 PM
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I have Purchased two cars on bring a trailer and sold one . all transactions went smoothly . For the ones that I purchased they were very detailed descriptions and photographs with video . You are no doubt taking some risk however there are a lot of things that you can do to minimize that risk such as using escrow.com, FaceTime, etc.

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post #14 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 02:20 AM
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I purchased my current BOE Rev 300 Elise on BAT and was very happy with the experience. It was maybe a bit of a risk but a good deal. As with any transaction you need to do your homework. The seller of my car was very transparent and I was comfortable with the deal. 🏁
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post #15 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esseye View Post
I mean, the site is called "bring a trailer" for a reason. It isn't hiding its intent. It's a listing/auction site, not a broker, dealer, or escrow agent. I don't see how it's any different than using autotrader, cars.com, ebay motors, or for that matter even going to a Barrett Jackson.
Your right. It was called bring a trailer for a reason. It's was users posting about barn finds or other listings on the internet of "older" or obscure vehicles that were interesting to read about. There were no auctions on the site (that were run by bring a trailer). That's why I originally liked visiting the sight. Times change and they have morphed into an auction site.

Here is a trip in the wayback machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/20080613...gatrailer.com/
https://web.archive.org/web/20100205...gatrailer.com/

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post #16 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 04:40 AM
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Wait a minute - 32 grand for an S2000. Did Elvis once own it?
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post #17 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 05:08 AM
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Also who accepts a certified check? I would really rather have a personal check that you can verify is real?
seriously?
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post #18 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 05:23 AM
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seriously?
Yeah, every single craigslist etc scam uses a certified check. And there is no way to verify they are real. They always deposit looking legit, and then they come back fake x days later.

When I bought my exige I paid via certified check per the sellers instructions (and my complaints) when I got to pick up the car my bank would not verify that the check was real when we called them. If it had been a real check they would have.

I guess you are left open to the chance that someone has the money in their account, then withdraws it before you can deposit the check with a personal check though.

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post #19 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 05:26 AM
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Thanks for the "behind the scenes", Steve. Information is always good. Don't know how people in this thread are complaining about it.

There's plenty of S2000s in the sea (not for long though!) unless they are CRs. I personally would like a really clean, low miles 2000 or 2001. I've had 4 S2000s and the early ones are the most special, imo.
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post #20 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NumberSix View Post
Wait a minute - 32 grand for an S2000. Did Elvis once own it?
did you see the one listed on these forums?

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f162...-pearl-440265/

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