Have any of you guys bought cars off of ebay and if so, would you recommend it?
In all my years of buying and restoring vehicles I have only bought once without actually going to see the car and was hugely disappointed when it arrived even after multiple emails and pictures sent. The paint job was pretty much what I expected but the descriptions of the running gear were to say the least distorted. Though I now have every car I want in the garage and do not desire any others I would never buy a car unless (1) I spent the money to actually travel to inspect it personally or (2) Bought it from someone I have been familiar with on one of the car forums that I trust. The problem is how different folks perceive the auto. What is a very preserved auto in great shape to one person may be a huge head ache to someone else. Just be sure to go into bidding with rational expectations.
I bought my coupe on ebay in, I think, 2003. It was here in New England, but I was not able to see it in person before the auction ended. The description was not lengthy but did offer important information. There were not a lot of photos and some of them were a bit dark. The starting bid was not high. Somehow I picked up "good vibes" for this car. I bid what I was willing to pay and let it ride. I turned out to be high bidder.
Picking up the car was, of course, my first viewing. All in all I was not disappointed. Was I lucky? Possibly, or maybe my interpretation of the description and pictures were perceptive. I don't know. What I DO know is that I really like my coupe and am grateful to have it. YMMV Bill
We purchased a Passat TDI $20,000.00, on e-bay ,from a car dealer in N Carolina, It was everything they said it was, but, the shipping company dropped something on the roof of our car ( I think it was something to tie the car above it down) It wasn't noticeable until we washed all the dirt off it. So what I am trying to say is check it over closely . The other thing that kinda clued us in was, they wanted to deliver it after dark.
Buying anything anywhere is exactly the same as buying anything on eBay. You need to be comfortable and informed about what you are buying. Act just like you would in any other situation. Buy the car, not the story.
Bought a '60 Volvo, nice pictures, good paint, good engine, decent interior based just on the photos and description. There were some hidden flaws with water in transmission and rear axle, a bad clutch and a nicely sprayed over but very tired front suspension. I had bid quite conservatively and didn't expect to win but did. In the end it wasn't a bad deal but not a real good one either.
Going to see it wan't an option for me but I figured at my bid I couldn't get burned too bad.
Everyone has a different perception of what "looks good", "well maintained", "great paint" etc. I would not buy a car that I can't see or test drive. Without driving it you can't feel what is loose and hear all the grinding noises. If you really want the car try to find someone you trust in the area to check it out or make a trip to see it. Just my opinion and it is not worth much.
I bought a 67 thousand mile 87 gt mustang convertible white and the car was represented to me as a nice original repaint and nice interior. The car shows up on transport truck and I can see from the interstate the Orange peel on the paint. The man unloads it and it wouldn't start because the battery was dead. The pic of the battery on eBay was a new die hard but it had a dead advance battery when the car was dropped off. The hole car was like that. It ran great but everything on it was patched up junk. For $8700.00. The seller wouldn't ever call me back.Sold it 6 months later, not what I wanted.. My last buy was my 27 roadster pick up, it was represented exactly 100% correct or better. Seller is a great guy and a T and A guy.Its just some sellers don't care.... Tim
Always remember that everything looks better in pictures than it really is.
Not T's but I bought two model A's
First 29 sport coupe fresh restoration everything was to be new good solid car I was the only bidder at $115
The other was a late 31 roadster pictures email and phone chats I bought the car several bidders but when this car arrived I was very unhappy if I had seen it in person I would have past. This was old restoration but I had to redo steering and brakes completely plus I had pull the gas tank and por15 treatment but it's here now and since I got the bugs worked out I will enjoy it but it's extra shiny penny
So buyer beware and if you can go see the car in person
I have bought an unrestored 26 fordor sedan, from an Ebay seller in Stephenville Texas (I live near Houston), a restored 26 fordor sedan from a Ebay seller in Waycross, Georgia, and a running Fordson tractor from Bob Middleton in Reno, Nevada. All were bought from Ebay sellers based on just pictures and descriptions. All were truthful and 'right on' with their descriptions. I haven't been burned yet and like Mike Pawelek stated above, I, have bought my last T.
I bought my complete, all original (except for the nicely applied red color), very solid, unrestored 1926 Fordor on ebay in 2004 and had a great experience. The price of $5,000.00, was very good and the seller even delivered it to my house on a trailer. He signed over the original title after I paid him in cash. Can't ask for better than that. Jim Patrick
Not me, but my brother-in-law bought a beautiful boat, nice pics showing great condition, nice trailer, shiny black frame, chrome wheels, and sitting in a nice yard on green grass. The pics must have been 10 years old because after driving nearly 400 miles he found a badly faded boat with sun-rotted upholstery sitting on a rusty trailer, rusty wheels, flat rotten tires, and sitting in exactly the same spot but the now weeds were tall and dead.
There are good sellers and there are bad sellers. How do you tell the difference?
Ask the seller to send the pictures to you so you can zoom in on them and have a closer look. Also, ask for his phone number so you can call him and exchange e-mails for messaging, pictures and videos. If you think the pictures are old and don't reflect the true condition of the item, ask the seller to take a closeup picture of some part of the car not shown in the original pictures. If he cooperates and sends you what you ask, he is a good seller with nothing to hide. If he does not cooperate, he may be a shyster. If he claims it runs, ask him to send you a dated video of the running car. As a long distance buyer, ready to pay a high price for an unseen item, you have every right to ask for anything you require to ease your mind that you are not being taken. A good seller will understand that. Jim Patrick
I bought three vehicles off EBAY. The first was a Ford van I use for work. It was a distress sale from another contractor near home and was able to negotiate face to face. Great deal and still using as my primary work vehicle. The second was a beautiful 1988 Mustang 5.0 convertible. It was 500 miles from home but I rented a cheap car to go to get it. Again, it became a face to face deal and I have had the car for 5 years and 40,000 miles. The last car was a 3 year old Lincoln MKZ for my wife. I bought it from a dealer in West Palm Beach Fla.. It had 7500 miles on it and was like brand new. Again, I flew to Fla. (ticket cost $128.00) and picked the car up. I know some would say I have been lucky but I would do it again with careful study of the vehicle. Although I say I would do it again, I did it so often that my wife won't let me near EBAY vehicles for sale!!!
I have bought and sold several vehicles on ebay uk, classics car and bikes and run of the mill daily drivers, no specific problems. I have bought and through both dealers and privately. Nearly all the vehicles, I have bought blind and trailered to me.
Don't just rely on feedback score, however do read comments, people are nervous about giving negative feedback. However there is a growing trend here anyway making negative comments in the positive feedback, if this makes sense. I would also say don't be put off by an occasional negative feedback either, all buyers and sellers make mistakes, just take it into account when looking at the full picture.
Personally I follow a few rules when buying:
1. I always ask a question of the seller to gauge both responsiveness and how willing the seller is to discuss their vehicle sale, give out further information, remember if it is on a ebay transcript it can be used if the vehicle is not accuracy described. If you do via a personal text, call or email you have nothing to back up any problems in the future if there are any.
2. I stay away from anything that says 'Photos are the description' with no additional written information, because what does a photo tell you really, except for colour..maybe
3. I ask for a picture of the vin plate every time, which includes part of the vehicle (so you can cross reference). If the Engine number would be easily photographed this also, but as we know in some cases difficult, but VIN should be easy.
4. Depending on what I am buying, I ask for a video of engine running or driving if its possible.
5. For the UK I ask to see a photo of the V5, in their name.
6. I complete history check on registration etc.
This personally then gives me comfort in what I am buying and hope to reciprocate when I am selling.
From my experiences, I tend to find you then have three types of sellers.
Those that will happily engage and let you have all the info you need, completely transparent.
Those who are more cautious as worried about security of their vehicle, cloning etc, however again will happily enter dialog.
Those who are cagy and prefer not to discuss or don't have time, too busy for questions'
The third one again I tend to stay away from.
Buying without seeing is a risk, and down to personal preference and nature of risk again for a few hundred pounds on a vehicle I may take more of a chance that on one costing tens of thousands, its a personal thing. Just be comfortable with the homework you do on the vehicle and be confident that you buying what you want. Never hurts to get a second opinion from a friend or relative before bidding, pressing that button
Happy bidding, as many say...
Thanks for all the great input! Sounds like the experience is 50/50, so it all boils down to buyer beware. Thanks again for all the help; I'll keep you posted if I decide to make the deal.
Terry sure have miss the old Irish fordson
Like anything else it the integrity of the seller
Hope for the best and expect the worse
I sell antique farm tractors and Peterbilt trucks and tell prospective buyers that an airplane ticket, to inspect the vehicle, might be the best money they ever spent. I would much rather have the buyer inspect the vehicle and form his own opinion than have a buyer expect a highly restored vehicle for a little less than scrap price even though he got lots of pictures, including 20 views of the right door handle. Of course it does no hurt for the seller to have a reputation of not over describing the item being sold. I recently sold a Peterbilt truck to some people in Australia who met the buyers of a Model T, that I had sold them, at an Aussie car show.
I bought my 58 Plymouth Plaza via eBay while deployed in AFG. I asked a knowledgeable
friend what a dumpy old sedan like this typically goes for and bid that. It was never represented
as anything more than a desert car in Arizona, needing everything. But it was the color I wanted,
equipped the way I wanted, and I got it for "the going rate" for a parts car.
I had been looking for a monotone Misty Green Plaza four door sedan since 1983 with no luck
at all. Few were built in that color and far fewer without the side sweep and accent color roof, so
I was pleased to finally land one that met my wants and was better, in terms of how it was equipped
than what I might have hoped for.
Upon arrival, I discovered it was a 13,000 original miles car that got put out to pasture in 1964 after
the windshield was broken. Rust was zero. Only a few minor body issues. Paint, interior, and rubber
parts were sunbaked, as might be expected. It took little to get it running, and I am currently stalled
at the fine bodywork stage before paint while I finish my shop.
All-in-all, it was a good experience and I am pleased as punch to have this car.
Bought 3 model T's off ebay. One was worth saving. Rest were junk.
When picking them up, should have let them keep the $500.00 deposit and the car on went home.
Bought a 53 Mercury. They must have took the pics when it was wet. It was junk. Very rusty. Should have give them the$500.00 deposit and ran. Drove 350 miles to get it.
Burger: The 58 Plymouth will make a neat cruiser!
Great that it didn't turn out to be a rust bucket. Finding them in the 50's in solid shape is getting harder as time goes by. There is a field near here where there are several 50's cars. Looked at them 2-3 years ago to get a close look and the paint was the only thing holding the bodies together. To bad and way to much rust.
Bought a "modern" (75' Granada) off of e-bay but stuck to my personal rule of seeing it first. Not far from home which was a BIG consideration. Don't think I'd do it if I couldn't see it though. One of my Son's friends got royally screwed buying one from pics & description alone. I really don't recommend it.
Otis was advertised in Hemmings and was in Chicago and I'm in Texas. I bought him without seeing or driving first. Was more than pleased when the T was delivered, better than I expected. I know that doesn't always happen but I guess I was lucky. The attached picture was one of the 50 photos of the T that were in the Hemmings ad.
I purchased my 1912 barn fresh touring off of ebay. It was descrribed as a rusted out needing
Total restoration. Lots of self descripting photos were posted. All shortcomings were listed including the fact the motor was seized.
I purchased the car and could not be more pleased. The seller was honest and straight forward. The plus was it had on 2400 original miles and all the know wear points reflected the low mileage.
When I list and sell a car on ebay I provide extra photos and try to be straight and honest with the description. However I always recommend the purchaser either look at the car in person or find a local club member or friend to check it out. I've even had the purchaser have a local look at the car and while doing so call the purchaser and describe the car and condition over the phone, even sending photos over the internet with their phone.
I just love the description "original miles" aren't all miles original? I have never heard of any unoriginal miles.
I think original miles refers to the miles driven during the period when it was factory original from the point it came off the assembly line until its' first restoration. Jim Patrick
I have bought more than a dozen cars/trucks on Ebay over the years. I can honestly say I never got intentionally screwed on a deal. There is always a difference in what you think is nice & what others think is nice, but since I build/restore/paint vehicles, I really am not that particular about small details as I do not have a problem fixing them.
Here are my last 2 ebay purchases from the same seller. I am embarrassed to say as a transporter, I had someone else ship them, but I am so busy, I would have lost money getting them myself! (the Chevy & the Pontiac from Nevada) Pontiac is a factory tri-power car!
Nope! WAY outside my comfort zone.
Sellers perspective of what has worked for me so you should look a similar auctions like mine...
I have sold 7 cars on eBay, only had one complaint... Truck would not start when it arrived. I told them the battery was charged and the transport company must have switched something on.
I said I would pay for the battery if they could not get it to charge. Man was honest and let me know it took a charge.
I always do a good description and show as many pictures of the car as I can. I don't know HTML coding so I just use eBay structure which allows 24 photos.
I always include the ability to make photos bigger (nothing more annoying than small or slightly out of focus pictures.
But caution... If you are good enough with a camera you can make anything look good from 10 feet away.
Thus I always include the areas were there are issues, paint or otherwise.
I don't like to hide things.
Lastly, I like to post a link to youtube video of turning on the car and running it down the street.
This usually gets me a sale on first auction posting. Only time I had to post a second time was when I decided to make the buy it now and reserve way to close.
Hope this helps...
I have only made one ebay purchase in my life, a 1927 T model Tudor sedan. It was only 40 miles from Dennis Gorder, so I asked him to have a look at it for me. He declined, with the excuse he was 800 miles away on the MTFCA site at Hershey swapmeet.
It looked a neat car with a nice original looking paint colour, a clean re-upholstered interior, new tyres all round and was described as a good runner. So I bit the bullet and bought it from the photos. At the time the Aussie dollar was US $1.05, so that helped.
The best part of the whole deal was a forum contact I made when asking about transport. Joe Van Evera contacted me about the car, as he was a previous owner and had been watching the ebay listing. To cut a long story short, Joe volunteered to transport the car from Michigan to New York for the cost of the extra fuel he would use towing his trailer on a trip he had already been making plans for. His generosity didn't end there. His trip was delayed, so he drove 200 miles to retrieve the car and took it home to his heated garage where it lived when he owned it. While there, he packed the back seat with parcels of parts I had forwarded from the vendors. How's that for service, from someone I still have not met.
The car was held up in New York when that cyclone wrecked the port, but when it finally arrived, it was better than I expected. Closed cars are scarce in Australia due to the high tarrifs on whole cars imported at the time. My wife Nancy said I could buy her a car with wind up windows to keep the weather out. Joe told me his wife Nancy let him buy it for the same reason. Somehow, we think we were meant to own this car.
Allan from down under.
Bought my car off Ebay sight unseen with a overhauled engine, new paint job, the works. The first problem was getting it hauled from Michigan to Houston. Trucking companies are all eager to get your listing but then when it has to move, that is up for grabs and it took about a month and a half to get it picked up.
The car was not running when the driver went to get it and it had to be winched up into the truck. The driver said the owner said I did not want it to be started, which was not true.
Well, it was in great shape, only that the coils were not good, the radiator was clogged up and the top was not installed but the kit and bows were included. It is running now and looks great but I think that is just a well deserved stroke of good luck.
I have been the second highest bidder multiple times, but haven't bought any yet.
All the time and very good luck!!
Purchased twice on eBay with poor results. Never again.
ORIGINAL MILES? Yes, all miles are original. But sometimes the odometer may be set back after a rebuild or you role over the 100,000 miles on the odometer and now you have a new car?
I bought my 14 touring on ebay and never thought I would make that large a purchase on a sight-unseen car. BUT -- the pics were good, the description was accurate, the seller supplied a phone number and he was called by a very knowledgeable T person who asked the right questions and could tell that the seller seemed like an honest, decent person.
Luck or careful buying? I dunno. But I do know that the car is great and I'm not at all disappointed.
I bought my '23 roadster pickup on eBay. I didn't worry about buying a tour-ready car because I planned on restoring it anyway. I printed the ad and showed it to a couple friends who were in the T hobby, and they told me what they thought it was worth. I took their opinions and figured what I thought it was worth, and I made a bid based on that. My car now looks nothing like it did when I bought it, and with the exception of the engine and transmission I've gone over every mechanical part of the car, but that was my plan all along. Would I buy a show-ready car sight-unseen? Only if the money was right. Buying a collection of parts that has the potential to be what I want? I'd probably jump on that grenade again.
There's a reason "Let the buyer beware" still rings true.