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    Thread: Test driver scrapes your car you're selling: what do you do?

    1. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:23 PM #1
      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.




    2. Member MightyDSM's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:25 PM #2
      Act a fool
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      08-07-2012 04:30 PM #3





    4. Member BetterByDesign's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:44 PM #4
      You're crazy to give some middle aged woman keys to your car.
      What does she look like?
      Any wear and tear?
      "It's not a lie if you believe it." - G. Costanza

    5. Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:46 PM #5
      No recourse, IMO.
      Good reason to ride along with people test driving your car
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

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      08-07-2012 04:47 PM #6
      Hate to say it... but that's the risk you take letting anyone (reguardless of outward appearance) test drive your personal car unsupervised. Lots of stuff could've happened.

    7. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:47 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by BetterByDesign View Post
      You're crazy to give some middle aged woman keys to your car.
      What does she look like?
      Any wear and tear?
      What do you do when you sell a car? Not let them test drive it?

      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.

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      08-07-2012 04:48 PM #8
      Cross your fingers that they buy it, and then all worries are gone.

    9. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:48 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Fe2O3 View Post
      No recourse, IMO.
      Good reason to ride along with people test driving your car
      Yeah, I think future test drives in this car are going to be supervised, and I hate that. I like to think people are better than that.

    10. Member Cousin Eddie's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:49 PM #10
      Probably the result of this:


    11. Member Khyron's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:50 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin. View Post
      What do you do when you sell a car? Not let them test drive it?
      You go with them. Always. Red light cameras, speed traps etc, your insurance... I don't think I've ever given or taken a private party test drive without the owner.

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      08-07-2012 04:51 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin. View Post
      What do you do when you sell a car? Not let them test drive it?

      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.


      You go with them.


      Your assumption about the person who drove yours is a perfect example why.

    13. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:52 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Khyron View Post
      You go with them. Always. Red light cameras, speed traps etc, your insurance... I don't think I've ever given or taken a private party test drive without the owner.
      I don't think I've ever taken a private party test drive WITH the owner, and I've bought a LOT of cars (though most of them weren't as nice as this one). My insurance would be the same risk whether I was in the car or not - no red light or speed cameras around here, and a cop pulling a test driver over would ticket the driver, not the car.

    14. Member evosky's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:56 PM #14
      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.
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    15. Member BetterByDesign's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 05:01 PM #15
      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!
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      08-07-2012 05:04 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Adam144 View Post




      LMAO

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      08-07-2012 05:07 PM #17
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    18. 08-07-2012 05:08 PM #18
      make him buy the car at asking price.
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    19. 08-07-2012 05:08 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin. View Post
      What do you do when you sell a car? Not let them test drive it?

      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.
      How long between when she dropped off the car and you saw the damage?

      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.

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      08-07-2012 05:14 PM #20
      Yeah you are SOL.
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    21. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
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      08-07-2012 05:20 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by BetterByDesign View Post
      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!
      How would that change if they totalled it when you were in the passenger seat?

      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.

    22. Member Benjamin.'s Avatar
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      08-07-2012 05:27 PM #22
      So it sounds like the general consensus of what people would do is rent a time machine and ride along with the potential buyer

      I've had really good luck with buying and selling cars, I suppose.

    23. Member scoTT la rock's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 05:29 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by DUBLUV401 View Post
      make him buy the car at asking price.
      pretty much.

      then when they throw the lowball at you, say "well i would have taken 500 less but since you scratched it up already....no"
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      08-07-2012 05:30 PM #24
      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.

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