I’ve gotten spoiled by Bring a Trailer.
One of the benefits of their bespoke listing format is that sellers have learned to be complete in their descriptions. If they are not, the BaT peanut gallery is sure to chime in.
A case in point. A friend of mine recently purchased a 14-year-old BMW from a private party.
When the car arrived, he discovered that it had only one key, and there were no owner’s manuals.
Getting another key and having it programmed is well over $600. Manuals are available on eBay Motors — and that’s another $175.
There was no intentional misrepresentation here. The seller had a lot of cars, drove this one rarely, and never even thought about the keys or the manuals.
If this car had been for sale on BaT, and if the keys and manuals had not been addressed in the description of the car, the BaT trolls would have raised the question.
So when you are buying a car, don’t forget to ask the simple questions. Does it have a spare key? Are the owner’s manuals included? Are the jack and tools included?
You might even ask if there is a spare.
Asking about service records is a good idea, and having access to a CarFax is important.
These little things don’t affect the underlying condition of the car. They may affect the market value, but not to a major extent. They become negotiating points.
But they can make taking delivery of the car a much more pleasant experience — one best described as “no surprises.”