Bad Offers Make for Bad Apples in a Car Deal

We’ve all heard the expression that a few bad apples spoil the bunch. In the world of vehicle purchase offers, nothing sours car owner sentiment faster than a low ball offer on the purchase or trade in of a vehicle.

As my team and I were feverishly working toward the Vingo launch, my own mom was faced with a decision on whether or not to sell her current car. Registration renewal time had come up her. She was seriously contemplating whether to keep her current car. Vingo would have been a perfect fit, but alas, she had a hard and fast deadline and we hadn’t launched yet.

Before reaching out to any dealers or buying centers, we got all of our ducks in a row. We checked out all the major books: Black Book, NADA Guides, KBB. We looked at the condition of her vehicle and figured it was likely in average condition. The body and interior were in great shape. The car had been well maintained. There was still good tread on the tires although the 2 front tires were a different brand than the rear. We figured she might get dinged for that. The mileage was slightly better than average.

All in all, we figured her car was worth about $8100-$8500 give or take. We even went out to a few listings sites to check retail comps and backed out estimated dealer profit and reconditioning costs to see if we were in the right ballpark. Had the retail comps been too close to what we were asking, we would have known we were way off. The market data supported our number. We felt like we were on the money.

Armed with this info, my mom reached out to a local wholesaler who advertises heavily on the radio here in DFW. They advertise that they will buy cars direct from consumers and beat any CARMAX offer. They will even pick up your car. Both curious and eager to get a good deal, my mom goes on-line and completes their form. They get back to here with an offer. They came back at $4100-$6100!

My mom is no slouch when it comes to negotiating deals. She was not going to take a low ball offer. She presented her case and countered for $8500. After some excuses about the system being down, the wholesaler acquiesced and agreed to my mom’s proposed offer of $8500. He also added that, oh by the way, there will be a fee for pickup. At that point the damage was done. The trust was gone and the deal was soured. Had there been full disclosure and fewer games, it may have played out differently.

It did get me thinking. In this day and age, why would any dealer take the gamble on giving a low ball offer to a consumer? Consumers are armed with data and we live in a world ruled by social media and referrals. This company didn’t just lose my mom’s business. Every time someone asks my mom or mentions that they are looking to sell, I’m sure this story will come up.

What to do if you are a car owner looking to sell? Don’t be dissuaded. In spite of the generalizations, there are still good dealers out there who understand the importance of treating customers with integrity. When getting offers, watch for ones that are way off the market price especially when condition, mileage and history don’t warrant it. As always, shop around. There is no reason not to when services like Vingo make it as easy as pie.

Before you head out to negotiate, check out the all-new VingoTM Car Value Calculator and find out what your car is really worth. It’s free and getting an accurate value takes just two minutes.