Act a fool
Selling an '03 Miata Shinsen Version in really nice shape, 43k miles. The first person who comes to look at it is a local middle-aged woman who shows up in her '94 Miata, meeting me in my work parking lot (while I'm at work). I give her the keys to take it for a test drive, tell her to take her time (it's a nice day out, I want the buyer to fall in love with the car, I have no problem with a few miles getting put on). I told her to give me a call when it's back, and to leave the keys in it.
She calls me back about 30 minutes later, lets me know the car is back, and that she wants to talk to her husband about it - cool.
So - I go out to the car just a few minutes ago after work. It's parked right where I had it, keys in it, so far so good - I notice a large bug splat on the front bumper (bummer, just waxed the car last night, but not a big deal and to be expected), and kneel down to take a closer look...and I notice the scrapes on the front lip. These were definitely (OK, 99.9% sure) not there before, and if they had been, they would have had wax residue from me waxing the car last night.
Left side of bumper:
Center of bumper:
The car has ~15 more miles on it than it did this morning, not a big deal. The bumper is kinda/sorta a big deal to me, even though you can't really see it unless you're looking for it. That kind of thing matters a lot when you're selling a car that's particularly clean for the year.
So - what would you do? My first inclination is to not say anything about it until I find out whether or not they may make an offer on the car. They may want to buy it, and I don't want to scare away a potential buyer. But - what if they decide not to buy the car/make an offer? What would you do then? Do I have any recourse at all? Unfortunately, I have no pics of that front lip specifically beforehand, so my only "proof" is that I believe wax residue would have been very obviously stuck in those scratches from the pretty thorough waxing I gave the car last night.
This is the car.
The fact that she showed up in a shiny black NA Miata definitely eliminated any doubts I would have had about handing over the keys. For some reason I picture a current Miata owner who's looking to buy a newer model as someone who would respect the car they're test driving, and/or the person who's selling it.
that sucks, but as others have said, always go with the person on the test drive. no exceptions. for all you know, they could run off with the car. i think in this case, you gotta suck it up. can't prove anything.
Correct me if I am wrong, but even if she TOTALLED it, you gave her the keys and therefore permission to drive your car.
Insurance would treat it as if your were driving it and your only recourse would be to take it to court.
I have problems giving keys to shops to drive it into the bays while Iam watching!
Liberals. Providing Solutions To Problems They've Created.
If you are going to let people test drive the car without supervision at least be there when they come back. If you are there and see the damage right away odds are they are going to come clean about it. She dropped off the car at it was any specific amount of time before you saw it, she can claim that it happened after she dropped it off and before you picked it up.
I'm curious to know if the posters who are used to supervised test drives are buying/selling a different class of cars than those who aren't. I've (actually, now that I think about it) only once been asked by the owner if I minded if they rode along on the test drive - everything else, including when I bought this Miata from the original owner, was unsupervised.
Now this is the nicest car I've ever bought used - most of the used cars I buy are sub-$2000, as are most of the cars I sell.
| 40 Ford Panel RIP | 51 Chevy PU sold | 64 Chevy Belair current | 67 Mercedes 250S RIP | 76 BMW 2002 sold | 85 Volvo 240dl wagon RIP | 85 BMW 325e sold | 88.5 Suzuki Samurai JX sold | 91 Subaru Legacy sold | 92 BMW 318is RIP | 99 VW GTI sold | 01 Audi TT 225q RIP | 03 Audi A4 3.0q sold | 03 Jaguar 3.0 sold | 05 BMW 330xi sold | 06 Audi A3 current |
This is why when I sold my car, I told my insurance company I was selling it. Since I had two cars at once, the old car became free to insure for 31 days, and was covered against other people driving it, with a lower then normal deductible ($300 versus $1000). It also gave me a 'crash proof' bonus on the car (if it was wrote off on a test drive, my premium would not be affected if I made a claim)... sometimes insurance companies aren't all that horrible if you actually talk to them and ask them what you're entitled to.
While you can't prove it was her, it most likely was. Sometimes our version of 'normal driving' is different then someone else's. My mother used to do that (rub the lower valence into parking curb stones) all the time and think nothing of it... Until they bought a car with a painted lower valance... then she was far more careful when parking.