Used car deal?
July 7, 2010 1:16pm CST
I found a BMW 2001 330i sedan for $2170 online. It is located in a city nearby. It sounds lke too good of a deal to be true because the picture makes the car look brand new. Does this sound like a scam?
• Cambridge, England
7 Jul 10
Since the current dealer price for that date and model seems to be $7500-$8500, it certainly sounds to be a steal, however, you can be sure that the low price indicates that something is wrong. Always see the car, sit in it, look under the hood and take it for a drive (or at the very least hear the engine running). Take someone with you who has practical experience of cars and who can tell you what problems you can expect in six months or a year. Two heads are better than one, especially if one of the heads isn't buying the car.
• United States
8 Jul 10
So yesterday I emailed the owner of the car and the response i received read: "Thanks for being interested in buying my 2001 BMW 3-Series Sedan, automatic transmission, white. Only 60,237 miles, beautiful condition in and out. Paint shines, zero dings/dents, no accidents. non-smoker, always garaged and covered. It comes with all the documents needed for registration and clear title. The vehicle is located in ****** and will be shipped from there. The price that I'm asking for the vehicle is US $2,170. I have recently moved to Portugal with my job and my family. I was hoping to take the vehicle here but when I found out how much shipping and registration would be I've changed my mind. I want to sell it in US because it is located and still registered there. I want to take this opportunity to assure you that this deal is 100% legitimate, the financial part of this deal will be managed by a third party. So, if you decide to buy my vehicle or need further information please get back to me as soon as possible." I think that sounds like a good deal. My Dad and I might go check it out, because he's always been good with cars. Plus, he's been a BMW owner for years so I'm sure he knows more than me.
• Cambridge, England
8 Jul 10
It certainly sounds a very good deal. For a car of that year, I'd expect the mileage to be 100,000 or more and you would expect a reasonable price to be at least $8000. The guy is either not aware of the current price (my source was Yahoo Autos, which is mostly dealers) or there is something very odd about it. Judging by dealer prices, I would expect to pay at least $6000 for it privately. Look particularly for serious accident damage (even though he says there is none). Suspect that the odometer may have been replaced or wound back (here in the UK, that is a criminal offence. I don't know what the situation is in your state). Check that the chassis numbers and the engine number match up or haven't been removed or erased. I don't know what your position would be if the car were stolen. Sorry to sound so gloomy! The car may be perfectly legit and the owner may just want a very quick sale (but it seems to me that, at twice the price, he would still be offering a very good deal, if that's the case!)