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Discussion Starter #1
I’m looking at a car that isn’t local to me. Wondering how I protect myself in this sort of transaction so the seller doesn’t just take my money and run... obviously I am having conversations with him, getting videos, seeing copy of title, etc. to make sure he really has the car. But I assume he is going to want to make sure money clears before he releases the car, but once I wire him money how do I guarantee he sends me the car?

Appreciate any insight from people that have actually done it.

Ian


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Perhaps find a local inspector to go look at it. If it is a classic, maybe a VMFr is close.
 
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I find a broker or find a local club that can inspect the car or I would find a way out there and touch and feel it my self.
 

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I personally would not transfer all of the money until I knew that I would have actual possession of the car, the clear title and the keys beforehand. Too much risk in sending money in the hopes of getting the car and paperwork later.

I’ve left a small good faith deposit and the traveled to pick up the car and exchange the balance of the cash. Anything else puts too much risk in the exchange for me.
 

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Never buy a car without touching it first.
This is really the best advice. Once the money changes hands you have no recourse. I did it once and got badly burned. I actually called a local inspector and asked about checking it out. They asked who the dealer was and when I said the name, they told me there was no need to even have it inspected, because those guys were super reputable. The car was a basket case and barely ran well enough to back off the trailer. Well, that began a 12 year restoration (my education in mustangology). Now $75K later, I have a $30K car. I swore I'd never do it again, and enough time had passed that I forgot all the trauma of it, I rolled the dice last year, again I got something totally different than pictured. The "original drivetrain" in this 65 fastback was a 302 block out of a 71 Torino (as best I could tell) with a C4 of a similar year. Paint flaking and cracked all over the place. No mention of any that in the listing. These guys can hide the details very easily, and DO. I got very fortunate with that one, as the guy actually responded to my phone calls and agreed to sell the car to another interested party before I ever transferred the title to my name (I think he had another sucker willing to pay him more, and he regretted selling to me), so I got away with one.
Okay, and full-disclosure, I bought yet another car that way after that on ebay, but it was very cheap and I was willing to gamble that amount of money. That one turned out to be a great buy and I love it. Still the odds are against you, and I'd absolutely recommend seeing the car in person...heck, even when you do that, there are plenty of surprises. I'm wrapping up a 1 year restoration of a car I bought locally, and felt was a rust-free car when I personally inspected it. Well, taking things apart revealed a different story, but at least I had some idea what I was getting into. I've made many trips now, even flying to AZ from IA just to look at a car that I didn't end up buying. Pictures and descriptions look great almost always. Cars look great once in a while.

The trouble for me is that living here in the Midwest, it's really hard to find decent cars--especially unrestored or well-restored ones. I'm a big fan of rust-free originals that have not been gone over by Cletus and Billy-Bob in the back lot. They dont' grow on trees up here, so I'm always tempted to bite on these, but please learn from my mistakes...you are way more likely to be burned than not.
 

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but once I wire him money how do I guarantee he sends me the car?
Send him a small deposit to hold the car and then go get it yourself with the remainder of the cash in hand. Unless you're dealing with a licensed, reputable dealer I would not pay up front.
 

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I agree with all the points mentioned above. I bought a motorcycle last year touch-unseen off of eBay. The seller will requests that you wire him the money to his bank account before he will let the items ship. It is a Risk. If you must do it this way one piece of advice that I can give you is to find a title transfer place that is in your town and ask him how the title should be correctly filled out on the back and what documents you need to have to complete transaction. Relay this information to the seller so I can be done properly the first time. This will usually include a copy of the seller's driver's license, notarized bill of sale and the title notarized with his signature on the back.
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I always prefer to deal in cash I’m not one for all the BS with wire transfers (no offense) ...and especially for higher price items it’s strange when people want a wire not cash, always makes me think they’re trying to pull something because whenever I sell something online (letgo, Craigslist, marketplace) the only thing I’ll take is cash No matter the price.
 

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I’ve left a small good faith deposit and the traveled to pick up the car and exchange the balance of the cash. Anything else puts too much risk in the exchange for me.
Okay then, but you had better also be okay with losing that deposit to a scammer. That's how some of them operate these days, happy to take "right of first refusal" and "good faith" deposits, as many as they can collect over the course of a few days before they vanish. If they can get $500 each from six different buyers that works for them just fine. The cautious buyer's deposit money spends just as good as the money from the foolish person that pays full boat up front.
 

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I live in CT and just bought a CA car. Besides an inspection, I got a signed bill of sale with VIN on it before I wired the money. The signed title came after the money. That way, I at least had the agreement in writing before the money left. Definitely a concern though.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you everyone for advice, I love this forum! Sadly, car is already gone... was gone before I could call the guy this afternoon (stupid zoom meetings this morning).

He was asking $20k for this c-code. Seemed pretty hard to believe, which is why I hesitated...




Probably for the best, not sure the wife would have been happy if I brought home another mustang!


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I don't believe it either and your wife should have been proud of that deal.
 

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The bad deals can go both ways. I met a fellow halfway once, he showed up with cash but half of it was fake. That didn't go very well.
 

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From the picture posted, there is no reason that car should sell for $20K. Smells of a scam as those deals always looks to go to be true.
The scams can be very elaborate these days. Once you start asking to see the car or have it inspected, communication usually stops.
 
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