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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.
Huh? I always use certified checks. You go to the bank, you give them the check, they call the issuing bank and validate it. It's done on the spot and verified by both banks. I've never had a problem with a bank doing that (or a credit union). The depositing bank has to be the one to make the call (as far as I am aware), they won't certify it to an individual.
 

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What a ridiculous, misleading, and inflammatory post.

I have bought a car on Bring a Trailer
https://bringatrailer.com/2017/04/13/bat-auction-success-story-1999-bmw-m3-convertible-takes-the-long-way-home/

And sold a car on Bring a Trailer.
https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1971-mg-mgb-gt/

Both transactions were great.

I have bid on others. I have contacted sellers during an auction. I have inspected a car during the auction period.

The thread starter did the right thing. After winning the auction, he didn't get the information he needed from the seller, so he cancelled the deal and got his money back.

So what's the complaint?

As with all long distance transactions, you have to use your spider-sense. I have bought cars long distance without inspecting them, and it's worked out fine. I have backed out of an ebay motorcycle because the seller was difficult to communicate with.

Bring a trailer brings buyers and sellers together. Yes, they take a commision for doing that- of course. It's up to the buyer and seller to finalize the details of the transaction. No one's holding a gun to your head to send money if you're getting bad vibes from the seller. It's no different than ebay, cars.com, CL, etc.

No one chooses to send payment but you. If you need to go inspect the car, go inspect it. If you don't get the paperwork you need from the seller, back out of the deal. If the car is different than you thought, renegotiate or back out of the deal.

Sounds like every car deal I've ever done. The buyer is ALWAYS in charge of protecting his money!

If you have a unique car, Bring a trailer's 5% commission (max fee $5K) is a GREAT alternative to a conventional auction where the auction house gets about 18% of what the buyer pays (with no maximum). I know my MG sold on BaT for a lot more than I could have sold it for anywhere else. (BTW, a dealer bought it, and wired me the money without seeing the car.....)
 

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Steve, honestly this may be a blessing in disguise. Paying $33,600 (after factoring the 5% fee) is way overpaying based on the current S2k market. I feel pretty in tune to the market as I had been scouring s2ki, autotrader, etc. looking for a sub-30k mile AP2 for most of 2017 before changing direction and getting a Lotus. I would say this is a $27-28k car in the current market. Why don't you post a wanted ad on s2ki and see if you get any bites? Didn't see anything above $30k unless it was a clean title CR with low mileage.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Wait a minute - 32 grand for an S2000. Did Elvis once own it? :scratchhead:
It's actually a fair price given the current market. There have been some insane sales (an '01 1,000 mile example at Scottsdale last year for double sticker as I recall), but many of the cars have been modified or beaten on. This one was (supposedly) unmodified and original owner. If I had to guess, the guy was (is) not a scam, he just got seller's remorse and killed the sale. Or he is a scam, maybe the son of a the owner who is dead, maybe the owner is in a nursing home and this is his nephew trying to sell the car ... who the heck knows since he would not verify his identity.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
To those that have had successful transactions at BaT - of course you have. I would guess that positive experiences fall well into the ninety percent range. Mine is probably an outlier. But primarily I think the danger is the "we are all knowledgeable dedicated car guys who care about each other" vibe that is ripe for the picking by a scammer. The more the money changing hands, the more likely a scammer figures how to exploit that.

centerpunch, how did you do a pre purchase inspection? Is there some process whereby BaT will give you seller information before the auction ends?

And I think you have to admit that you are an outlier in that regard - the model at Bat is to bid and buy based on (1) the pictures, (2) the description, and (3) the (oftentimes excellent) commentary. People are not flying around the country to inspect cars they may win, or they may lose because the car sells for $25,000 more than they are willing to pay.
 

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I'm still failing to see how this is different than any other auction.

The problems you mention are real, of course - but there's not specific to BaT in any way. It's what you deal with on every distant car purchase. Doesn't matter if it's a dealer or a craigslist ad. You can ask for an inspection, but they certainly might just tell you no. It's up to you at that point to choose if you want to continue or walk away. Same applies to payment. You talk about scamming, but I don't really see why you think it's different than any car ad, or an eBay auction, or anything else. You have to protect yourself, and it's up to you how much risk you're willing to take on.
 

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Discussion Starter #27 (Edited)
I think you have to separate out classified ads and auctions:

1. In classifieds, you see the car, know the price, you talk to the seller, and you can visit the vehicle or have a friend visit or do a PPI. If you like it, you buy it for the advertised price.

2. Auctions are a different animal. You don't know the final price and don't know whether the strike price will be acceptable to you. On BaT you don't know the seller and have no means to inspect the car even if you were willing to take a flier and go see it (centerpunch curious how you managed to get around this). On BaT I would bet that most winning bidders cose the transaction and pay without ever visiting the car.

And - here's the key! No buyer protections of any kind. Seller didn't have title - BaT says "take it up with the Seller." Seller used somebody else's pictures - BaT says "take it up with the Seller." Description is misleading - BaT says "take it up with the Seller."

Ebay is a cesspool don't get me wrong. But at least they have some buyer protections in place
 

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Every BaT auction has a link for you to contact the seller while the auction is underway. I've attached a screenshot from a current auction.

I asked many specific questions of the BMW seller via email and phone and was convinced he was a guy I wanted to do business with. I chose to wire the money before I saw the car, but I didn't have to.

There was also Sunbeam Tiger not too far from me that I bid on and was outbid, still had several days to go, and I contacted the guy and went and test drove it. My conclusion was that it was a nice Tiger but it turns out I wasn't as entranced by a Tiger in person as I thought I'd be, so I didn't bid again.

On the MG I sold, several people contacted me with detailed questions, which I answered. One guy wanted reassurance that my MG was like a brand new car. Although it had a megabuck restoration by the previous owner, I could tell this guy's expectations were naive and unrealistic, for ANY classic car. So I told him not to bid!
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BaT connects buyers with sellers, that's all. You lost zero dollars with BaT, I still don't understand what you are complaining about.

Ebay's "protection" isn't much. There's a long list of what's NOT covered, including:

Receiving a title that is not signed, is improperly assigned, or receiving a title but not being able to register the vehicle (unless you are unable to register the vehicle due to an undisclosed lien against its title).
eBay Motors - Purchase Protection - Overview

It's true, buying from a franchised dealer is always the safest. But when a private owner has the exact car you want, you just gotta do your homework and protect your money.

Which is what you did!
 

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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.
Just to be clear, during a BaT auction you CAN contact a seller and get his contact info. In fact, when I sold my MG, each contact I received thru BaT included the potential bidder's email address.

So in fact you CAN contact the seller, and in most cases you CAN inspect the car (or hire someone to inspect it for you) during the auction.
 

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I'm still failing to see how this is different than any other auction.

The problems you mention are real, of course - but there's not specific to BaT in any way. It's what you deal with on every distant car purchase. Doesn't matter if it's a dealer or a craigslist ad. You can ask for an inspection, but they certainly might just tell you no. It's up to you at that point to choose if you want to continue or walk away. Same applies to payment. You talk about scamming, but I don't really see why you think it's different than any car ad, or an eBay auction, or anything else. You have to protect yourself, and it's up to you how much risk you're willing to take on.
What he said.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Holy s#%]t I never saw that “contact seller” button on BaT. I definitely would have used it had I known. I would NOT have pre- inspected the car but it would have helped to be in direct contact before I bid.

I’m not touting eBay buyer protection policies but whatever you think of them they are the Taj Mahal compared to BaT’s poorly constructed outhouse.

Finally to those who can’t get over the fact that I am “complaining” when I didn’t lose any money I respectfully suggest that people are not 100% motivated by self-interest. You can take my earnings or you can reject them. I’m putting them out there for the benefit of the community. I’m convinced someone is going to loose a lot of money. I hope I’m wrong. Steve
 

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Steve, as soon as you bid on BAT you accepted the risk of the unknown. Otherwise, don't bid!

This is not BAT's fault at all. It sucks, but this was your fault for not understanding the process and contacting the owner beforehand with your concerns. Waiting until the auction ends is too late. The BAT FAQs list all of this and more.

The transaction for a vehicle won on BaT is between the buyer and the seller.
Look for the big black Contact Seller button in the BaT Essentials info box on every live auction.
We encourage all potential bidders to inspect a car prior to placing a bid.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Steve, as soon as you bid on BAT you accepted the risk of the unknown. Otherwise, don't bid!

This is not BAT's fault at all. It sucks, but this was your fault for not understanding the process and contacting the owner beforehand with your concerns. Waiting until the auction ends is too late. The BAT FAQs list all of this and more.

The transaction for a vehicle won on BaT is between the buyer and the seller.
Look for the big black Contact Seller button in the BaT Essentials info box on every live auction.
We encourage all potential bidders to inspect a car prior to placing a bid.
I agree I should have delved further into the terms of service and I would have known about the contact seller button. But I still think BaT is structurally flawed.

Seven day auctions where pre-bid inspections are financially and practically discouraged (unless you live next door to the seller), a prohibition on post-bid inspections, and zero buyer protection from the site sponsor is going to lead to some broken hearts and empty wallets.

Can savvy buyers take steps protect themselves on BaT? Yes they can, and this thread has been helpful in pointing out ways to do that. But BaT is last on the list for me, after local purchase, classified ad purchase, and eBay auctions. All of those offer infinitely more protections than BaT.
 

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Purchased my e-type ots on BAT and was happy with the transaction....of course as always "buyer beware" spoke to the seller before payment he did email me copy of title and ID. All good!
 

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I agree I should have delved further into the terms of service and I would have known about the contact seller button.
Uhh, yeah.

Seven day auctions where pre-bid inspections are financially and practically discouraged (unless you live next door to the seller)
So it's Bring a Trailer's fault that you are in Rhode Island and the car you bid on wasn't? Are you serious?

a prohibition on post-bid inspections
There is no such thing. I inspected a car after I bid on it. Of course, since we are all (allegedly) adults, if we have concerns about a car we would inspect it BEFORE bidding, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Paul, you are obviously the smartest guy in the room, not shy about telling everyone how brilliant you are, and seem to enjoy internet fights. Me, not so much. Have a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
In case anyone besides Paul is interested, here is the email I got from BaT before the seller backed out:

"Sales are not contingent on post-purchase inspections. We expect you to honor your commitment and purchase the vehicle."

So if you are a dumb guy like me, definitely fly out to see the vehicle that may sell in your price range, or may not. Then rinse and repeat until you find the perfect BaT vehicle. Me? I'm going to pass.
Steve
 
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