An ebay question please help

Started by Nasser Almasary, January 21, 2008, 10:55:04 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Nasser Almasary

Hi Everybody:
  I was the highes bidder on a car on ebay, but the reserve price was not met. The seller sent me a "second chance offer" through my ebay account. This 2nd chance does show in most of my account pages like "items I am bidding on", "watched items", and "items I didnt win" pages. Now, how to verify that this 2nd chance is legitimate offer? not a scam. Please advise and no responsibility what so ever on you, just think alloud. Best regards and happy cadillacism.
1939 60 special
1947 convertible
1972 Eldorado convertible


A similar thing happened to me, but I was the seller.   The reserve was not met.   A bidder emailed me and made me an offer.  We agreed on a price but only apon inspection of the car.

He drove over two hours to come see the car.   He went home and mailed me a Bank check.   Once my bank said the check had cleared I called him and told him to pick the car up at his conveinence.

You can make him an offer via email.   You are not held to any obligation because you were not the winning bidder.    This may actually work out better for you.  Now you can back out if the car is a mess apon inspection.    If you can't get to go see it, ask another person (friend, relative, or fellow Cadillac nut) to go see it for you.   Just make sure they are car savy.

Richard Pope

There are a lot of scams out there today. If it were me I would exchange a few emails via Ebay 'contact the seller' to make sure that this is indeed the seller. In my text I would ask for a phone number that you could contact him/her just to confirm this is indeed the original seller (it worth a extra $1 isn't).

Then I would proceeed with the deal if everything checks out

John Morris #23947

If you were an actual bidder on the auction, Ebay allows you to request "contact information" from the seller, including phone number. This is all done through Ebays system, so you know it is in fact his real phone number.
71 Olds 98 LS, 66 Fairlane 500 XL Convertible, 55 Packard Clipper Super, 58 Edsel Ranger, 72 Cheyenne Super, many 49-60 parts cars, abandoned "House Of Doom" full of 49-60 parts. Huge piles of engine parts, brackets, tin, Hydramatic & Jetaway parts,  thousands of stainless moldings, dozens of perfect sedan doors.

Nasser Almasary

David, Richard, and John:
  Thank you for your insights, here what I did. I went to the original auction site where the car was auctioned and I hit the "ask the seller a question" link and asked for a phone number and he replied with two #s. I phoned and negotiated and agreed on the transaction's details. Even though it seems a legitimate offer, I still have my concerns, so I tied 100% of the payment with the pick up of the car. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
This is my 6th car to be bought through ebay, but firs time through the "2nd chance offer" It is a nice addage to ebay and I believe it is for the benifit of the buyers more than for the sellers.
Thanks for your input, and I'll keep you posted if things derail, heaven forbids. Happy cadillacism.
1939 60 special
1947 convertible
1972 Eldorado convertible

T.L. (Ty) Stinson

Just be careful. I flew out to Texas from Maryland with a friend to purchase a '49 Cad that was thought to be in great condition by the owner. The intent (based on photographs provided) was to drive the car back to Maryland. So we purchased one-way flight tickets.....a very bad decision. One man's idea of "In great condition and ready to drive back may be another mans idea of being less than a driver.
Ty Stinson
37' 8519
CLC #22330


Never buy one-way tickets.

It's usually not any cheaper anyway, and it's much easier to not get on the return flight than to book another one-way flights.


The ebay system used to be more open and freewheeling until about a year ago.  It is very easy to save a webpage, and re-use the photos, and edit the page, and send someone a 2nd chance offer. Let's say you had a car you were thinking about selling, or had a car on ebay in the process of an auction.  You used to be able to look at recently closed auctions, and contact unsuccessful bidders and offer them a link to your ebay auction for a similar car.  I used to do that, never saw anything wrong with it.  I call it smart marketing.  The problem was, people were going on ebay, using the bidders as a source of leads for lawful transactions, and some were using them for leads for scams.  In other words, if someone was bidding on a 76 Eldorado convertible, but did not win the auction, someone possessing a bunch of 76 Eldorado photos could concoct a fake ebay page, or just offer them a great deal on a car, trying to get them to wire a deposit, when in fact they don't even own the car.

Ebay stepped in and fixed that, and now here's how it works.

1.  If you are a bidder on an item, or the seller of the item, you can see the bidders full ebay user name.
2.  If you are not the seller or currently bidding on the item, you can't see those names, so you can't contact other bidders.
3.  If you list a car on ebay, you better harvest the bidder's names during the auction, because after it closes, if the car does not sell, you can't contact the bidders unless you send them a 2nd chance offer, but the 2nd chance offer can't be for more than what they bid.  So if you wanted $10,000 but it only bid to $8,000, and you wanted to offer it to the highest bidder, and the next highest bidder for $9,000, you can't do that.  If you post a phone number in your listing, or an email in your listing, people can contact you after the auction, if they stumble upon an expired listing.  I used to know a guy that always called people from a 3 month old Hemmings magazine, and tried to buy cars cheaply, figuring if they still have it 3 months after an ad ran, they would sell it cheap, and sometimes it worked for him.

4.  If you stick to communicating through the ebay message system, you are pretty safe.
5.  Scammers ALWAYS use free, web based email addresses, like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.  That's because the world wide web is, well, world wide, so a scammer sitting in an internet cafe in Nigeria, could be the "Ebay Seller" that you think you are communicating with.  ANYONE can set up an email address, and try to scam you.  I am not saying that ALL of those email addresses are not legit, but an account based email address, like Comcast, Cox, AOL, and others that are not free, are less likely to be the homebase of a scammer.

6.  How can you tell if the seller of an automobile is lying...simple...if his (or her) lips are moving!  It's an old joke, but always true to one degree or another.
I have sold several cars on Ebay over the last few years, half were shipped, the other half driven home.  IN ALL CASES, the cars that were being driven home were checked for all fluids being topped off, belts and hoses in good shape, tires not worn, brakes not worn or anything leaking.  Alternator voltage output, battery condition, and a full safety check.  Not everyone cares, but I have had cars driven home to St. Louis, to Alabama, to South Carolina, and no complaints or problems.

7.  So go out there with your certified funds, or cash, and here's another little tip.  Let's say the car is $10,000.  Don't go out there with a certified check for $10,000.  Get a check for $8,000 and two more for $1000 each.  Why?  Let's say you are buying an older Cadillac convertible.  You get out there, and the top doesn't work, or is ripped.  The AC doesn't work (they always "just" need a little shot of freon, so why didn't you do it!!!), or some other serious flaw like ripped seats, cracked dash, things you weren't told about.  If the check in your pocket is for the full amount, where's your negotiating room?  If you are bringing cash, that's different.  Now, if you already won an auction, then the price is set, and it gets harder to make any adjustments, but if the car isn't as represented, that's not fair either.

8.  Last tip...If flying in, get the guy to bring the car you are buying to the airport with him, and be ready to drive it home from there. Why?  Let's say the guy lives 45 minutes from the airport.  He picks you up, takes you to his home, opens up the garage door, and you are staring at the biggest piece of crap you ever saw.  I mean there are flies buzzing around it...and your heart sinks, you know you made a big mistake, and want out of this whole thing in a hurry.  Your "host" may do one of 3 things.
A.  Cheerfully drive you back to the airport, apologize and offer to refund your travel expenses (not very likely)
B.  Go in the house, slam the door, and leave you standing there in the middle of nowhere.  (somewhat likely)
C.  You spend a VERY long 45 minutes driving with him back to the airport after he has just spent an hour trying to convince you that the car really is what HE thinks it is. (VERY likely)

Hopefully, you will be dealing with a straight shooter.  Don't be afraid to ask questions of the seller before you plan a trip to go buy the car of your dreams.

1.  What car clubs do you belong to?  (AACA, CLC, CCCA, etc are good answers.  Modified Cruzers, Road Warriors, Skull Crushers, Widow Makers, etc are examples of bad answers...
2.  How long have you owned the car?
3.  What have you done to the car since you have owned it?
4.  When was the last time you drove it any distance?
5.  Have you had it in any car shows?
6.  Are there any spare parts or manuals included with the car
7.  On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, How would you rate the paint, chrome, and interior?
8.  I actually looked at a 70 DeVille a few months ago with a "New" top.  Top was nice.  Back window was laying in the back seat, detached from the top, so now I ask, What shape is the top in?  How about the back window?  Does it close and latch properly?  Is there a boot?  You get the idea... a lie by omission is still a lie. 

I prefer driving in to flying in.  That way there are 2 or you, another objective set of eyes, and you don't have to worry about an exit strategy if the car is no good. Have your friend follow you when you test drive the car.  Does it smoke?(emgine)   Funny smells?(Brakes, clutch) Go down the road straight?(Bent frame)

Bonus, you have a support vehicle, with tools, a couple of gallons of water, portable compressor, and flashlights, stuff you can't bring on a plane. If you are traveling alone, with a limited amount of tools and supplies, in an unfamiliar car, that's not as good as having someone with you.

I have been playing with cars for 35 years, bought a bunch, sold a bunch, so I have had some of these things happen to me.

Wow, this is getting very long, but you get the idea. This is not a full list by any means, but some good suggestions and things to consider.
We live in a different age now, everything is immediately available, but even with better technology, that doesn't assure you honest communication, just faster communication.  Used to be, you would see an ad in Hemmings that interested you.  You called, IF there was a phone number in the ad.  MANY ads stated SASE for photos, sometimes a deposit was required.  (SASE stands for self addressed stamped envelope) Now digital pics can be in your hand in minute via email, we used to have to settle for some crappy Polariods...arriving in the mail a week later!

So long distance car buying can be a fun adventure.  You can make some new friends, get a great car for a great price, and have an enjoyable and relaxing ride home, and I hope that anyone embarking on a buying trip has a wonderful experience, I have had many, but in today's world, you have to be more careful, and think things out a little more, in my opinion.

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst...

Good Luck,

Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado