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Can I drive it every day?


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15 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

I personally wouldn't drive a TD year round, more for the sake of keeping it away from salt in the winter than any other reason. I did drive my MGA { a bit more modern than a TD but really not all that much } 7 - 8 months a year for about 10 years. I have owned it for over 40 years now and although it is getting close to needing a restoration it still is a good driver as is.  A winter beater Corolla or similar is way cheaper / easier than a body restoration.  I rarely give it much use in snow , but rain , rain , rain. Vancouver B.C area { Raincouver to the locals }.

Do they use much salt on the roads where you are?

 

Craig

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Ummmmmm, Matt. You are too kind. 
 

I would not take it back.  Let him sue.  If he has to take out a loan to buy it , I doubt he can afford a retainer  for a lawyer.  
 

or tell him that your restocking fee is $12,500.  
 

you truly are the exception in today’s world, and I would not hesitate to buy a car from you.  

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Matt, you are in the “rock and hard spot” part of the program. I make parts for old Cadillacs to help out people’s restorations. It’s a hobby and I do it for fun. Occasionally I get a guy wanting a set of interior door handles for his car. I cast the proper handles and have them chromed with no deposit, then send them to him once he’s paid for them. Then I get a call from a very pissed off buyer saying I sent him the wrong handles. Most times it turns out that a previous owner had replaced them with what he could find, not what it left the factory with. Occasionally they did leave the factory like that as instead of shutting down the line, the worker just grabbed another box of handles.  I send him photos from the CLC Authenticity Manual and the guy is still upset. So I do the right thing and send him his money back upon return of the handles. 
 It’s a pain but it’s the right thing to do. Eventually someone else will want them. 
The point is, my reputation is worth more then a bunch of green paper! 

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14 hours ago, Larry Schramm said:

"Can't fix stupid", Forrest Gump.

 

The only reason that I could think he could not get insurance is because of a very bad driving record coupled with a crappy FICO score.

 

Matt,

I have to assume that most full-line standard insurance companies would certainly offer your client LIABILITY insurance.

My guess is that most regular companies will not offer him Comprehensive, Collision, Fire, Theft, Towing, Glass Breakage, etc

Certainly not IN THE VALUE HE CLAIMS/REQUESTS

and that his (agricultural-based?) bank requires Comprehensive & Collision Insurance commensurate with whatever amount he has borrowed, or attempted to borrow,

in order to protect themselves for the value of the loan.

 

His is a self-serving, financial-based reflective knee-jerk action, following an irrational decision,

attempting to make someone else (you and Melanie) responsible for his inappropriate action.

 

As I suggested above:

Buy it back?

Not "NO", 

but "HELL NO"  !!

 

As a good faith gesture despite his rediculous decision,

you might offer to represent the car for resale on his behalf, where he is responsible for any and all costs, as well as for any profit or loss,

including your additional expense,

and we probably know where this will go.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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My grandfather was a builder/developer.  Pop told me a story one time about a problem customer that had just bought a new house that he built. Dad had to go back several times within the first week of ownership for knick knacky stuff that didnt amount to much, but the customer being a pain. My grandfather finally had enough, went to the guys house, wrote him a check for the full purchase price of the house ( I think dad said it was around 16k circa 1970) and told him to vacate the premises. Guy did not accept the money and to this day still lives in the same house.  My grandfather was self made, stern but fair. He did not tolerate nonsense. I am a 5th generation builder I will honor a lifetime warranty for most of my customers. Some no matter what you cannot satisfy, those are 'out of the door warranties'. I think Matt can gain far more personally and professionally by taking the car back (of course with a carrying charge) selling again to a more informed buyer.  I would take back the previous offer of a trade. I think the distance between this guy could never be far enough.

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Marty has a great idea, offering to assist the buyer re-sell the car.  But--then you are acting as a sort of middle man between yet another buyer and, still,  THIS GUY.  This buyer is still in the picture at that point, and that seems even more nauseating, long term.

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and remember Lucas heaters are the reason the English drink beer at room temperature: 38F.

One reason english cars were possible for me was I lived in south Florida. Did drive my MGA from Florida to North Carolina several times. Of course that was before Interstates.

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I think the real lesson is, know your customer and don't sell him something he can't handle. A few polite questions, in this case, would have revealed that the customer was a newbie with stars in his eyes who expected something out of all reason. The only thing to do in cases like that is to politely enlighten the customer and if possible, sell them something suitable to their needs and experience level.

 

I don't like the idea that the only reason to be in business is to make a fast buck by hook or by crook, and it is perfectly ok to rip off your customers by selling them something they can't use if they are too green to know the difference. That may be the way they do business today but I still don't like it.

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You might need to invest in a sign that states, "All sales final". I won't go into the details on why I let the car go without the entire payment, but I re-possed a 1960 Corvette that needed a clutch and a resurfaced flywheel, when I took it back. The person I sold it to never told me that he did not know how to drive a standard car. I have never seen a clutch as bad as the one I took out. You might want to look the car over really well before you give him all his money back.

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I think we are missing the point as to why he does not want it, he can not get insurance on the car for everyday use because the finance company requires a certain coverage, and that coverage does not apply to use he intends to use the car for.

 

Once the car is sold, (as long as the car is not misrepresented) it is not the sellers responsibility if the buyer finds that the vehicle is not suited for their intended use.  

 

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16 minutes ago, John348 said:

Once the car is sold, (as long as the car is not misrepresented) it is not the sellers responsibility if the buyer finds that the vehicle is not suited for their intended use.  

 

110%.  Buyers may have the patience to be "interviewed" by a 50 year private owner where some emotion may be involved, but generally speaking that is not a responsibility of a seller, and in fact it could be seen as bad form- I know that is how I would take it.  I know it's a fine line between weeding out tire kickers and offending customers but that shouldn't include teaching life decision skills.

 

Matt has zero responsibility here, and imho, no lesson for him here.  Buyer goofed so why place blame anywhere else?

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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Our adoption of using of on-line sales hosted by large e-commerce retailers has created the misconception that everything is returnable without penalty for whatever reason the purchaser dreams up to be a problem with their purchase.  It’s creating quite a dilemma for smaller retailers who really want to be a good and honest business to try and figure out how to handle these returns and stay in business.  If you won’t take it back the customer can berate you all over the internet with only their side of the story told.  If you do take it back you have to deal with economic loss of doing so and try to resell something that has gone from you inventory, such as this car, and then explain why it’s for sale again.   My wife works for a small company and handles these problems on a daily basis.  Sometimes her stories about returns are just had to fathom that customers use some of the excuses they do to get the seller to take back the goods.  

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Look,

all the comments concerning the intelligence of the guy who bought the car are uncalled for in my opinion. We have all made decisions that are found to be questionable by somebody. Heck, most of our wives have questioned our intelligence more than once. Bottom line is the guy made a decision that he can no longer live with. The question is: how can he get out. His first line of defense is to go back to the guy who sold him the car. If the guy will buy it back, problem solved. If not, he will have to look for a different solution. It is a nice car. He should be able to trade down at many other dealers.

 

Matt's question is: What is my responsibility. I don't think Matt has one. He can do as little or as much as he wants. We can not save every old car. Owners routinely make decisions that are not good for the car. I have seen many high dollar cars that have set outside in the weather until there was nothing salvadgable. It breaks my heart but I can't save them all.

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We had a student mechanical engineer for a summer who bought a new Saturn car with a standard transmission. The problem was he did not know how to drive it and could not get the hang of it.  Ended up trading it in for an automatic at a great loss.  

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I personally wouldn't offer to buy it back. What's the worst that could happen? Lose a future customer? He probably wouldn't be back even if you did buy it back. Use your head and offer to help him sell it and draw the line there. You've got to look out for you. You owe him nothing more.

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Matt, If you have not already done so you might consider talking with a lawyer with experience in this type of law. Find out what your potential legal exposure is if you don't take the vehicle back and refund the money. Ask the lawyer what happens if the seller wants more money than what he paid you because his bank hits him with an early loan termination fee and/or interest on his loan? Offering to by back the vehicle might open up a whole new legal Pandora's box for you that might add more to your current nightmare. All the more reason to talk to that lawyer and not assume that refunding the purchase price will make this seller just go away.

 

While you are talking to the lawyer that might be a good time for him/her to review the sales contract you are currently using when you sell a vehicle. If that has not been done in a while you might consider doing that to protect yourself from something like this in the future.

 

Just my .02

Edited by charlier (see edit history)
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11 hours ago, TAKerry said:

My grandfather was a builder/developer.  Pop told me a story one time about a problem customer that had just bought a new house that he built. Dad had to go back several times within the first week of ownership for knick knacky stuff that didnt amount to much, but the customer being a pain. My grandfather finally had enough, went to the guys house, wrote him a check for the full purchase price of the house ( I think dad said it was around 16k circa 1970) and told him to vacate the premises. Guy did not accept the money and to this day still lives in the same house.  My grandfather was self made, stern but fair. He did not tolerate nonsense. I am a 5th generation builder I will honor a lifetime warranty for most of my customers. Some no matter what you cannot satisfy, those are 'out of the door warranties'. I think Matt can gain far more personally and professionally by taking the car back (of course with a carrying charge) selling again to a more informed buyer.  I would take back the previous offer of a trade. I think the distance between this guy could never be far enough.

 

Having dealt with more customers and their cars than I can remember, my view is generally falls to the 80/20 rule times 2.

 

That means that 80% of the customers will buy a product and be happy or reasonably happy with the purchase.  Good people that go on with life.  Then there are the 20% that just want to complain.  Just their nature.  If you do something, even just talking to them 80% of that 20% will become happy.

 

The real problem is the 20% of the 20% which is 4% of the total, these people are miserable and their mission in life is to make everyone around them also miserable.  

 

Just my experience. 

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This is right up there with the guy that buys an old car,brings it home and his wife says no after the fact and tells him take it back,she hates the color. 

 

 You made an honest and fair deal and its not anyway your responsabily for his lack of thought .

 

I would be insulted if some thought I should refund their money on such idiotic reasons. I'd also be embarrassed if I did..But thats me.

 

As far as drive it daily...

 You can drive anything if your willing to "go the distance",meaning do what ever it takes, are dedicated, of hardy nature and have deep pockets or plenty of stupidity(which I got plenty).

 

As far as taking it back..why? do you have guilt? 

..is the car mis-represented in some fashion or is it just the mellowness and loss of some tenacity that often comes with age  to make you think about backing down on the deal on HIS milktoast asking and bad judgement.

He the idiot should "suck it up"

 

He can resell the car on his own,

or you buy back less a minimum of 15% .

 

What ever you do..do it swiftly and no one will judge you on your

choice..

Do whatever will help you sleep.LOL.

 

 

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As I said above, I’ve been in Matt’s shoes. The thing about operating in this era is everybody has a megaphone. You don’t need to be right to get your message out and harm a seller. You only need to have internet access and a flare for colorful language.

 

This is why stupid warning are on products. I’ve had to give caveats to people only to have them respond, slightly offended, “do you really think I’m that dumb”? I answer, “I don’t think you are, but I’ve had others who were”? Someone used a hair dryer in the bath tub.

 

It’s better to undo a fair deal then live with the rage of an idiot. After a while, you learn to eat a pound of poop and still smile with white teeth.

Edited by Car-Nicopia (see edit history)
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12 hours ago, Larry Schramm said:

The real problem is the 20% of the 20% which is 4% of the total, these people are miserable and their mission in life is to make everyone around them also miserable.

 

Yes! I sold a house to someone like this once. I almost walked away, several times, but it was at the start of Covid, so we worked it out.


Back on topic - Matt - I feel bad for you buddy. I think you've proven on here over and over that you're fair; when I'm hunting for my next car, you'll be included in the hunt.

 

Seems the seller made a big mistake, not you. You aren't his life coach! Good luck whatever you end up doing, and I'll be over here with my popcorn.

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Momentary update: we're exploring other options and calling in a favor with the big insurance company that underwrites our business. It isn't reasonable to insist that everyone have a separate car to drive every day--what about guys who live in New York City or Chicago and don't need a daily driver but still like to have hobby cars? No reason they shouldn't be able to get insurance, right?

 

Failing that, the lender (who is apparently a personal friend of the buyer) has offered to sell the buyer a "beater" for $800 so he can have a modern daily driver in order to get insurance.

 

If that doens't work, Melanie and I have decided that we will take the car back. I don't know if I'll ding him for any fees as punishment, although the car may take a hit on the market once people see it sold and then reappear--everyone assumes it is a bad car. Nevertheless, it's a marketable car that was reasonably priced and fairly popular--I'm sure I'll be able to find another home for it. I just don't have it in me to wage war over every little thing anymore. I'm just tired and people are like energy vampires on me. If it costs me a few bucks to have a smoother road for everyone involved, well, I think that's money well spent. I can always get more money but once I run out of mental health, that's it.

 

We'll see what the insurance company says and whether the "beater" idea flies...

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Quite a collection of comments. I am still in the minority with my suggestion to just take it back. Actually that is the selfish thing to do because I know I would get over it quicker. I can remember a couple of refunds and could remember more similar actions, but they have passed and the memory cloudy.

 

At 11 years old I was induced into the adult world of automotive business and left with many early impressions. At 72 years old I can read these 2 pages, more to come for sure, and feel really good that I did not grow up to be like the people I met in those early years.

 

Kind of comical when the underlying statement is:

"Spare the rod, spoil the customer"

Should Malaysia make caning children illegal at home?

 

 

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On 1/12/2021 at 5:00 PM, edinmass said:

Insurance isn’t a problem. Geico insures my 1917 White as an every day driver at state minimum levels, no questions asked.  

     State minimum limits don't protect you or anybody else on the

     road around you for liability.   $10,000 personal injury limits are

     a joke.   You are driving a 100+ year old car that you repaired

     yourself.   You are a target for every lawyer in the state of Florida

     to take a shot at.

     When your car hurts somebody else, the problem becomes yours

     because you knowingly operated this old vehicle assuming

     liability for for yourself and that dangerous old car.   

     Raise you limits!  Don't put yourself in the same class as Matt's

     customer.   Minimum limits are for the homeless and people with

     no assets or earning capabilities.

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On 1/12/2021 at 2:59 PM, Matt Harwood said:

 

Am I being unreasonable? Is this even remotely a sane choice for winter transportation? I hear all kinds of stories about MGs in awful weather, but it's usually connected to "The worst driving experience I ever had," and remembered with fondness only because it's over, the way I tell amusing anecdotes about remembering getting my wisdom teeth yanked out of my head with pliers because it was 35 years ago.


 

Thanks Matt for the story. Sorry for your problem, but that was one crazy story.

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Paul. I understand. I carry much more than minimum.  I was trying to illustrate a point. I agree with two wheel brakes you need lots more than minimum coverage. In Florida you need uninsured motorist as well. 

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Paul. I understand. I carry much more than minimum.  I was trying to illustrate a point. I agree with two wheel brakes you need lots more than minimum coverage. In Florida you need uninsured motorist as well. 

 

Agree with edinmass,

 

Above and beyond any policy limits on our vehicle / property coverages, we also maintain an "Umbrella" policy through the same insurer

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3 hours ago, Paul Dobbin said:

     State minimum limits don't protect you or anybody else on the

     road around you for liability.   $10,000 personal injury limits are

     a joke.   You are driving a 100+ year old car that you repaired

     yourself.   You are a target for every lawyer in the state of Florida

     to take a shot at.

     When your car hurts somebody else, the problem becomes yours

     because you knowingly operated this old vehicle assuming

     liability for for yourself and that dangerous old car.   

     Raise you limits!  Don't put yourself in the same class as Matt's

     customer.   Minimum limits are for the homeless and people with

     no assets or earning capabilities.

We still haven't heard all the results of this one yet: 

Unfortunately, no amount of money can bring one who has died in a tragic accident back.

 

Craig

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Matt, I am unsure of your laws in the USA. Do you have a sales document with all the fine print that the purchaser signs when he/she buys a new car? The customer signs it, you are protected.  If the buyer refuses to read it, that's his fault. If indeed you see common things in the vintage car sales industry that keep re-appearing, you point them out and have that discussion with the buyer.  Up-front you are warning him politely that as a buyer, if he does not do his research and comes up in a bind, it's not your problem. 

 

Where does it end? Where do you draw the line on holding buyer's hands? You take on the stress, it wears you down and hurts your business. There must be countless examples where things could go off the rails. The longer you are in business you will be exposed to more and more issues that you've had to deal with. Your business dealings will eventually become easier as you learn how to deal with these customers up front. 

 

A scenario, I imagine selling my 1938 Plymouth:

 

Daily driver? Look around. How many pre-war cars do you see on the road every day? 

 

Does it stop well? For 1938 my car stops very well.  It has skinny tires and non-auto adjusting brakes, without ABS. It has a single reservoir brake master cylinder.

 

Can it drive a freeway speeds? Well in 1938 there were no interstate roads. Top road speeds were about 50 mph. Many roads were dirt. There are no seat belts and no crumple zones in the car. No turn signals.

 

As a seller do I really need to point out these things to protect myself in the sale of it?

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, keithb7 said:

As a seller do I really need to point out these things to protect myself in the sale of it?

It sure seems that way! 

 

99% of everything you buy these days has a warning of some sort on the package, be it for not using it as intended or 'choking hazard if not chewed properly' or 'allergy alert' on food products.

 

Craig

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For what it is worth I think you are doing the right thing even if nobody else does. The lesson is to qualify the customer with a few judicious questions first.  A little conversation to find out the buyer's experience level, how well equipped they are regarding garage storage and maintenance tools, and what they have in mind for the car. If necessary you can explain the facts of life to an inexperienced buyer. It should not be necessary to refuse a sale, well almost never.

 

There is one other thing, besides doing right by the customer, is doing right by the car. I would hate to see a nice old car like that reduced to a rusty wreck by being left outside and driven daily in a northeastern winter.

 

If you don't want to charge a restocking fee or buy it back for less than the customer paid, you could offer to trade at full price for another car that is more suited to his needs.

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If you do have to take it back, I suggest you put exactly why it's back in your inventory. Something as simple as a "It's back! The previous buyer realized it was not a car to use as a daily driver in New England so here's your chance to not let it get away again!" or something along those lines. 

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A trade for something more sane for him might be a good idea if it makes business sense for you.  Otherwise, as much as I agree that the guy is a class A moron, I think you have to ask yourself if it's worth the stress on you?  Yes, you could drag a lawyer into it but I hardly think that would be a quick solution to getting this out of your hair.  Even if you end up losing a little money (no more than $1000), it may well be worth leaving this behind quickly.  

 

FWIW, I did drive an MGB in upstate CT as a DD for several years and with good snow tires and a sack of sand in the trunk, I thought it handled pretty well (they have near 50-50 weight distribution iirc).  It was a 1970, which didn't have the extra ground clearance of the last few years, so snow depth had to be considered.  I suspect the TD isn't too much different under the skin.  At least the B had roll up windows and a heater though!  I also knew how to fix it when it broke....

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7 hours ago, Paul Dobbin said:

     State minimum limits don't protect you or anybody else on the

     road around you for liability.   $10,000 personal injury limits are

     a joke.   You are driving a 100+ year old car that you repaired

     yourself.   You are a target for every lawyer in the state of Florida

     to take a shot at.

     When your car hurts somebody else, the problem becomes yours

     because you knowingly operated this old vehicle assuming

     liability for for yourself and that dangerous old car.   

     Raise you limits!  Don't put yourself in the same class as Matt's

     customer.   Minimum limits are for the homeless and people with

     no assets or earning capabilities.

But if you have other polices, they stack right in top of each other, in many states.  If you wreck your classic and cause $100,000 in damages, and only have minimum coverage, then the policy on your everyday car can then take over.  Not every state is like this though.

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