Matt Harwood

A window into the life of a car dealer

Recommended Posts

Again attitude and context is everything. I was standing behind a guy at a junkyard counter. customer in front of me had an item and asked the counter guy "how much?" Guy says "$15." Customer berates the part as overpriced junk, offers $10 and threatens to walk out if he doesn't get it for $10. Guy says "sorry but the price is firm at $15". Customer slams the door on the way out. Guy says to me "can I help you". I put my parts on the counter and say very nicely "I'm surprised you wouldn't take $10 for that part". He looks at me, smiles and says "you can have it for $10"......................True story...............Bob

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, capngrog said:

 it's always best to be polite and truthful. 

 

Correct, and if the person who answers the wanted ad is selling the item way too cheap, I am sure everyone is truthful and tells the seller your price is way too low... I should pay you more. Or better yet run the wanted ad with the price you are willing to pay, can't more truthful than that eliminates all of the problems  

Edited by John348 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

Again attitude and context is everything. I was standing behind a guy at a junkyard counter. customer in front of me had an item and asked the counter guy "how much?" Guy says "$15." Customer berates the part as overpriced junk, offers $10 and threatens to walk out if he doesn't get it for $10. Guy says "sorry but the price is firm at $15". Customer slams the door on the way out. Guy says to me "can I help you". I put my parts on the counter and say very nicely "I'm surprised you wouldn't take $10 for that part". He looks at me, smiles and says "you can have it for $10"......................True story...............Bob

 

This is 100% true. I grow weary of being treated like dirt because I sell cars. I had a guy come in to see a car yesterday (or two days ago, I can't even remember). He spent about an hour looking the car over, we got it out and put it on the lift, and then he wanted to drive it. Test drives are not something that just happens in our shop, so I asked him if he was a serious buyer on the car if it drove properly. I understand the test drive is important but we have to balance that with the fact that we can't let the public walk in and start driving anything they want. So I ask. He replies that he would never consider buying a car he hadn't driven. So we were at an impasse. I relented and got the car out and we went for a drive. 

 

Now we're two hours into the process, we come back from a successful test drive, and he says, "These cars aren't worth what you're asking. This isn't a GTO, you know." I pointed out that if it were a GTO, it would be about three times more expensive than the car he was looking at. The he goes on, "I was there when these cars were new. The guys who want these are all dying off so values are way down. You're crazy asking that much because I'm the only one who wants these cars anymore." I told him I disagree, that we'd had plenty of success selling similar cars and any vintage convertible with low miles and a V8 engine is going to be a car people want. His final comment, "You don't know anything about these cars. I'm the only buyer you've got." He offered me 40% below what I was asking (this is a car that already costs less than $25,000). I said, "I'm sorry you wasted your time." He said, "I didn't waste my time, I got to drive a nice car I always wanted."

 

"Well, you sure wasted mine. Have a nice day. You know where the door is," and walked away. He went in the office and complained to Melanie about how I don't know anything about that vintage of car and that she should "talk to me" about pricing it right so he can buy it.

 

Fark right the hell off with that nonsense, pal. 

 

Car dealers have a bad reputation. So do hagglers like this guy.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a bad car dealership phone call last week.  I asked if they wanted to buy my  three cars..

 

The guy was having a bad day.. He was a Jerk to me.  The car pictures you sent me were crap. You should do a better job in selling your car.. etc..

 

I have also talk to Matt. he was very nice,, to me.

 

Matt I just talk to another guy in town.. He has a collect like the the one in pierce NE..

Edited by nick8086 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt, I have been retired from medicine for 18 years but your post made me smile.  These people are everywhere, especially in plastic surgery.  When I encountered a patient with unrealistic expectations seeking a perfect result from a face lift or nose job I would quietly state that one of my pre-operative requirements was that they see a Phychiatrist before scheduling surgery.  They would walk out never to be seen again.   Bob Smits

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, John348 said:

Correct, and if the person who answers the wanted ad is selling the item way too cheap, I am sure everyone is truthful and tells the seller your price is way too low... I should pay you more. 

 

Exactly.  Maybe you were being facetious, John,

but there are cases where what you describe would

be the honorable thing to do.

 

I know of one antique dealer who frequents good

garage sales--the old homes where antiques are likely.

He says he has done exactly that, and the people

really appreciate his ethics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen this happen many times, and have done it myself In another area of collecting – one I've been active in longer than I have with cars.

Actually, I have a rule I apply. If the person selling obviously has no specialized knowledge – a widow or other heir is the usual scenario – all of my friends would regard it as highly unethical to take advantage of them. I know of one case where a prominent antique dealer was convicted and went to prison for doing essentially this. A jury found that he had defrauded the seller given his professed expertise in the area and the amount he resold the items for. (This was a great relief to me because I was in danger of being subpoenaed to testify against the same person in another similar fraud case. When he went to prison, the 2nd case was dropped.)

 

If the person doing the selling holds themselves out to be a professional of some sort – a dealer or auction house, no matter how ignorant, that is their problem and I feel no ethical compunction to correct their errors.

 

We act this way because it is appropriate but, if you need a self-serving reason, the collecting world gets smaller as one ascends. Do something grossly unethical and I will guarantee that it will be widely known in a very short time. I remember someone bragging on one of the internet collector forums about how he's acquired some highly desirable military relics from an elderly widow... I think he expected a lot of back-slapping. Instead, he was thoroughly skewered by the other members.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, John348 said:

 

Correct, and if the person who answers the wanted ad is selling the item way too cheap, I am sure everyone is truthful and tells the seller your price is way too low... I should pay you more.

 

I did when I bought a 1920 Model T Coupe.

He had it under priced.

I gave him $500 more than he was asking.

No way was anyone around here going to say how I took him.......no way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, cahartley said:

 

I did when I bought a 1920 Model T Coupe.

He had it under priced.

I gave him $500 more than he was asking.

No way was anyone around here going to say how I took him.......no way.

 

That is great you did the right thing, it must have been a strange feeling  based on you own words from an earlier post you made in this thread. I guess in the case of the Model T you had too much money at that time.

 

On 7/7/2018 at 12:23 AM, cahartley said:

I don't consider asking someone if they'll take less.....in fact I think you're an idiot if you don't.......or have too much money.

Beyond that no.......not ever.

 

Just so I get this straight now; you are not an "idiot" if don't haggle the price because people you know might think you took the owner?  

Hey if it works for you that's great

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well guys, you don;t have to be a car dealer to meet lots of jerks.  They're everywhere!!   

We all have to put up with the rude, crude, know it all jerks just to get thru a normal day.

(No Political intent in that statement)

Selling anything is a hard life because getting  someone to part with their money is a traumatic experience for many people., especially if they don't know what they are doing.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, John348 said:

 

That is great you did the right thing, it must have been a strange feeling  based on you own words from an earlier post you made in this thread. I guess in the case of the Model T you had too much money at that time.

 

 

Just so I get this straight now; you are not an "idiot" if don't haggle the price because people you know might think you took the owner?  

Hey if it works for you that's great

 

This is a close community.....everyone knows everyone.

They WON'T know ME as someone who takes advantage of people!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cahartley said:

 

This is a close community.....everyone knows everyone.

They WON'T know ME as someone who takes advantage of people!

 

Very true, more reason not to refer anyone as an "idiot" like you did in an earlier post if they don't try to get a better price

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/2/2018 at 8:44 AM, Matt Harwood said:

In this particular case, I think it was just that the guy didn't understand that an old car can be something other than perfect. There was more to our conversation. He was a relative newcomer to the hobby, although he  pointed out that he has owned old Porsches in the past (if '80s 944s can be old). I will admit that I don't travel in Porsche circles, but I have to believe there are cars that are something other than perfect at Porsche shows. But in this case, I think he was simply thinking in binary terms--either a car is perfect or it's junk, and there is no in-between. As I said, I probably could have told him it was indeed perfect and he would probably have been delighted with the car, small flaws and all (it's a really nice car). To him, maybe perfect isn't the same as free of any and all defects. Maybe he was really trying to ask if it was a "nice" car the way most of us use that particular word. And yes, it's a very "nice" car that we'd all stop to admire if we saw it at a show. It seems to be terminology problem but since I'm hard-wired to avoid saying "perfect" at all costs, I think I simply said too much for him to process. There are definitely times when too much information is worse than too little. Maybe this was one of them--I was trying to educate him on the difference between a good car and a perfect car, while he was only able to understand perfect vs. project. 

 

Yes, it was a frustrating call, but there was no malice in it....

 

 

I'm late to the thread, and probably everything has been said by now, but, still -- I think this is key.  If you're new to antique cars, a car that looks really shiny and runs right now probably seems "perfect."  A lot of us have experienced that view when we take our #3 driver cars out for a spin. People who comment on the car are likely to see it as an absolutely perfect car when you know it's just a driver.  

 

More broadly, it's a good reminder that the basic dynamics we know about restoration are totally foreign to those with no experience in this.  For example, when I was first getting into the hobby, I was interested in getting a car restored.  I brought it to a shop that a friend recommended, and I asked how much it would cost to restore the car to top condition and how much it would cost to make it really nice.  The  shop owner patiently explained to me that "top condition" could mean lots of things; he  quoted some figures for a restoration that struck me as completely and totally insane; and he explained how you couldn't easily just pick a level of condition (like "really nice') and aim for that for the whole car.  Looking back on that conversation, what the shop owner said was exactly right and completely reasonable.  But I remember wondering if he was just trying to trick me.  I just didn't know enough yet to realize how things worked.  It must be frustrating to have to deal with so many new customers who also don't "get it,"  and from his posts here Matt seems very honest and good with customers.  But it can also be hard for new people to figure out who to trust.

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many years ago a Model A Vicky showed up in the Saturday morning paper. Dad and I sped to the address. Literally seconds after we arrived a local collector of strictly A's showed up and walked to the seller's door about 2 steps behind us. Being a gentleman the other fellow said "You guys were here first so you have first shot". We went into the garage and it was a nice car. Now Dad was an  incurable haggler. He would even haggle with our family doctor. Dad asked the price of the car and the seller said $1300 as advertised. The collector, who really wanted the car, said, loud enough that the seller had to hear him, "If these fellows don't want to pay $1300 I will". Dad couldn't help himself and offered the seller $1100, which he accepted. The collector left, muttering to himself as he walked down the sidewalk.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dislike being with hagglers. Mention a car advertised and they tell you how much less they can buy it for, if they break down and buy something they brag about the deal. They never sold anything and lost money. They always bought for "wholesale".

 

After listening to and watching these types for years I have come to the conclusion that they focus on demeaning the value another person has placed on the item for sale. They bully their way into proving your estimation is wrong. The value you perceive can never be paid in their mind. I have known enough of them to know that they will even lie to save face if they think they paid too much. If bullying doesn't work they will cry poverty, ill heath in the family. or some other impending financial doom in their life, just to avoid spending the extra nickel. If they buy something they will boast about the deal (although NEVER mention the price) and ALWAYS let you know of the great profit they made if they sell it.

 

To me the "haggler" will never be anything more than a person with a mental disorder, probably based on some inadequacy they have.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that some people feel compelled to haggle regardless of the connection of the price to reality. However what is a person to do if the seller is clearly overpriced ? If it's a reasonably common item then by all means just move on, the seller will eventually realise the price needs to drop for a sale.  But what do you do if the part or car is something you rarely see for sale and would really like to buy ? Not all of us are in a position to simply pay the sellers price regardless of how unreasonable.

  Is not a bit of bargaining reasonable? Not all sellers are expert in the market, many will just pull a price out of thin air and see what happens.  I have played the waiting game and sometimes it works. The same seller with the same part at a series of 4 or 5 annual swap meets, eventually the price drops to a reasonable figure and a purchase is made. But sometimes you can't wait several years for practical reasons.  I have often tried to shortcut the waiting game with what I feel is a reasonable offer. And it often works.  

 If the asking price is reasonable I just pay it, however probably 50% of my purchases involve some degree of haggling.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to haggle everytime I could and now do it selectively. What "cured" me of it was a vacation to Mexico. I found some item I wanted and a preteen kid was running the booth. I was relentless in beating him down on price, and only stopped when I saw a beaten look on his face. I then realized what I was doing, apoligized and paid him full price. 

 Don't even have that item anymore, actually glad it is gone.

  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dad would only buy clothes where he could deal with the actual owner of the shop. When he was diagnosed with the big C he shopped around for the cheapest oncologist he could find. A character defect? Of course but understandable when you knew that he was abandoned as a child and was on his own from the age of 12.  If he couldn't haggle he wouldn't buy. I don't haggle unless I know for a fact that the asking price is unreasonable. I will just make a "take it or leave it" offer. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I look at it from this point of view. When I see a car advertised and it is way out of line with what I feel a car is worth I don’t bother with it. If it is close to what I can afford and feel it is a decent car based on the ads I will go and look it over. I will tell the seller I am willing to pay “x” for it if it drives as advertised and he is willing to sell it at that price. If agreed I’ll give it a drive. If not both can walk away without any harm. When I say an offer it is usually within 10 percent of his asking price. If that offends the seller ok I can walk away and so can he. If he gets upset I feel he is not being realistic in his expectations but that’s his right. Just don’t bitch at me as I have the right to ask also. He knows what he needs and wants out of a sale. I know what I need and want out of a purchase. Accept the fact those two things may not meet in the middle and go on with life. When it does good for all. If not ok too

 

 

Have fun 

Dave S 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, John348 said:

 

Very true, more reason not to refer anyone as an "idiot" like you did in an earlier post if they don't try to get a better price

 

But John, you "liked" it when '60FlatTop' said this about hagglers:

5 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

To me the "haggler" will never be anything more than a person with a mental disorder, probably based on some inadequacy they have.

 

Cheers,

Grog

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A very good friend of mine in collecting, both cars and other items, never haggled. When he was interested in something that he felt was overpriced he'd politely let the seller know what it was worth to him. He was well known to be a man of his word and to have the financial wherewithal to pay what he'd offered on the spot. Many items would be brought to him. He never tried to beat anyone down and was always prepared to pay a fair price. I've always followed that line myself and it is surprising how often it works. At antique shows it was common for a seller to approach him at the end of the day saying he'd take the offer.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Boys, boys, boys............ To haggle, or not to haggle? That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous sellers. Or to take arms against them and haggle. And by opposing, end them. ( So sorry Will ).

 

Another haggle/don't haggle anecdote..........

 

I was buying $700 item at a Sears outlet store. I asked the sales person if they "could do better" on the price. He said no he can't but if I used a Sears card they would knock 5% off at check out. BINGO! $35 off for asking. When I got to check out turns out my card was expired. Lady says if I let her renew it she can give me a $50 to used against the purchase price. KA-CHING! Another $50 off.

So by politely asking for a better price I received an $85 discount I would never have even known about.

 

So If you non hagglers are happy I'm happy and will continue to reap life's little rewards by politely asking for a discount....................Bob

 

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

A very good friend of mine in collecting, both cars and other items, never haggled. When he was interested in something that he felt was overpriced he'd politely let the seller know what it was worth to him.

 

I don't understand what the difference is between what you described and haggling.   The key word though, as you mentioned, is "politely"  Maybe that's the difference between "haggling" and making a "counter offer".  The term "haggling" may have a negative connotation.

 

Cheers,

Grog

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now