Any here sold a car on ebay?

Started by David #19063, March 01, 2006, 06:28:56 PM

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David #19063


Has anyone here sold a car on ebay?  

I am looking to get everyones knowledge that has sold a car ther on what they learned when they did it to save me from a steep learning curve.  And also to learn what all the costs associated with it are that might not be apparent from ebay.

I am planning on selling one of my classic cars there.

Thank you!


Barry Wheeler #2189

I have not sold a car on eBay, but have purchased two, with no problem. I think, as I see it, the only fees are the listing fee of $40, and then (hopefully) the selling fee of $40 also.
The main problem that I have noticed in selling what I call a "good" classic car, is that people really sit on their hands about putting a bid in that the car is worth. Evidently, hope springs eternal that the bidder is going to get a bargain.
They seem not to realize that the reserve is the least the seller will take for the car. I have a Master Parts Book up right now, and a "buy it now" price of $xx.xx. Someone has put in the beginning bid, and are probably hoping against hope that I will sell it for close to that, when common sense dictates that my reserve will be somewhere close to the "buy it now" price.
However, if you have a car that is seldom seen, and "everybody" wants, you might do very well.
The main thing is to NEVER accept a check from overseas. I asked my banker what the best thing to accept in an overseas transaction, and he said that only accept a wire transfer in the exact amount, and never release the car until the funds are in your possession. Also, that the fund transfer is irrevocable. Good luck! Another thought, is that if you sell the car in the states, and the buyer is going to pay cash, I would make sure there is someone else with you, preferably a friend or acquaintance who is a law enforcement officer to make sure you get to the nearest bank. I might even consider hiring a private detective from a reputable agency for protection, so you dont get taken for the cash and the car as well, if the figure involved is in five or six figures.

Bill Hedge CLC 14424


Good advise.  However, I would discourage accepting cash for anything over $9,999.00.  Over that figure and you are going to have to fill out a federal government form - assuming that you are going to deposit the money into the bank.  This is not the most difficult form to complete, but just another hassle you probably do not want to confront.  I know that sellers sometimes insist on cash, and I once paid mid five figures cash for a car, but it is not something I would recommend.  I even drove over two hundred miles to do it.  However, my experiences from serving as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney sure made me nervous.  I am sure that Bruce Reynolds, being a former law enforcement officer, could probably share a few stories also.

Bruce Reynolds # 18992

Gday Bill,

Well, the biggest thing to check is that the person selling any item is in fact the legal owner.

Not sure how it is done in USA, but here there is a Transport Registry of vehicles under finance in which the Finance Companies notify the Transport Department when they have a vehicle under finance.

The Registration Papers will only show if the vehicle is registered to the person who ownes it, but that doesnt mean that another person cannot say that they are who they purport themselves to be.   But, that is checkable if the need arises.

As far as getting Cash, for an expensive item, I paid cash for a car in 2002, but it was from a person I had done previous work for, and I had previously checked up the ownership of the car from the initial buyer, when it was transferred to the second owner, before I parted with the folding stuff.

David is well aware of the overseas scam buyers, and that will never happen to him again.

And, the practice of having a witness or witnesses with one when making a transaction is good, and having a Poliuce Officer is even better.

But, one of the smart things to do, in this modern day is to have someone who is with you, take pictures of the transaction and the like.   If the seller or the buyer doesnt want his photo taken, then there is something suss.   And, usually time to halt proceeding any further.

Money from ill-gotten gains can still be seized, after being spent on something, if it is proven in court to be the case.   And, there is nothing worse than seeing the look on someones face when they have to give it up.

The Tassie Devil(le),
60 CDV

David #19063

Hello Barry,

Thanks for the input.  I was scanning the prices that 2 door 55 Chevys are going for and I thought I might try my very nice one there as well.  I was planning on having a Reserve Price and a Buy it Now as well.

When my 60 Cadillac and 71 Electra when to Sweden this past September, I had the buyer do a bank to bank wire transfer.  Took a few days being from overseas, but worked ideally.  No cashiers checks or certified checks for me.


David #19063

Hi Bill,

Since the car should end up over $20,000, I appreciate the advice.  I am amazed at what these 55-57 Chevys sell for so I thought I give one of these a try.  Personally, I prefer a big Buick, Chrysler, or Cadillac.


David #19063

Hello all,

Also to those that have sold a car on ebay using Paypal.

Say I sell my car on ebay for $20,000.  Should I accept payment by Paypal for the full amount?  

What are my fees/cost for this?  Do they have a cut off range for fees?  

Should I only accept a $2,000-$4,000 down payment by Paypal and have the rest sent by wire transfer?

I have a Paypal acount, but I have only bought small priced items.


Dave Leger CLC# 19256

Check on the PayPal web site, but I believe if you receive payments exceeding $1,000 in any month, you must set up a commercial account with them, and there are some fees associated with that.  It can also take 3-5 days to transfer funds from PayPal to your bank account.


Fred Garfield 22310

A five-figure amount is substantial. My preference would be a wire transfer for both the deposit and the balance. If a serious buyer balks at that, its understandable. Afterall, you are protected but he is not. If thats the case, suggest using an escrow service. That would protect you both.


I have sold a few classics on ebay, and  had nothing but positive experiences. While I am aware of the numerous scam artists lurking out there, I have had no trouble at all with any of the transactions. In fact, I have met some fascinating people in the process. I sold a 59 Chevy on ebay about five years ago. The auction closed on a Saturday night, and the person who bought the car lived in Los Angeles. Since I am in the Detroit area, I figured the car would be going on a hauler out west. Early the following Monday morning, I got a call from the buyer: :" Im at the Detroit airport, come and get me." When I asked the gentleman how he planned on getting the car home, his reply was : "Im going to drive it!" I picked him up, he paid me in cash, and both of us were happy.
     The ebay fees of $40 now and 40 later are really cheaper that a single ad in the Sunday paper, and the coverage is astronomical.
     I have also bought a few cars off of ebay (including one from the world famous "Marv",

and again, had nothing but positive experiences.
     Paypal fees tend to be a little expensive for these kind of transactions. Insist on a wire transfer. Its the safest was to go. Even a Certified check gets you sideways looks at a bank these days. Too many forgeries out there, I guess.

Bruce Reynolds # 18992

Gday Howard,

Yes, If I was buying a car on ebay, I would be flying over to collect it personally, even though I live in Tasmania.  

And, that would be after I had had it inspected personally by a friend, or someone that lived close to the seller.

One of the good things about being in a worldwide organisation like the CLC, or Drag Racing fraternity, there are a lot of people close to someone, no matter where it is.

When it comes to spending lots of my own hard-earned cash, I am very tight.

The Tassie Devil(le),
60 CDV

denise 20352

  I tried to sell one and got burned.

  I used the buy it now option.  There was supposed to be a way to require the buyer to pay immediately, but I couldnt find any way to do that.

  A Nigerian cashiers check scammer ended my auction, which meant that Ebay charged me both sale and listing fees, and it was not possible for me to retract his bid.

  I got half of the money back, after three months.  The rest, I was just out.


Barry Wheeler #2189

Due to my level of business on eBay, I "have" to have a commercial account as well, which is why I DONT accept PayPal. The amount of personal information you have to give them is frightening. I would not recommend letting them get their hands on a large (or small) amount of my money for anything.

Bill Burton #19057

My 66 Fleetwood 60 Special came out of auction last week.  As the auction was ongoing, I had people asking about it.  I found I was limited to one reply per day.  That got a bit frustrating.  I complained, but got a company line and no remedy.  That is an issue.  I sold the car to the highest bidder, even though the reserve I had made wasnt met because I didnt want to relist and not be able to do the due effort to sell it that was needed.  The fellow came drove over with his son and paid up in full, then drove it home some 250 miles without incident.  I was glad to sell the car to someone who really wanted it, but the process was frustrating.  I did have PayPal set up, but didnt use it.  Theres no question the car wouldnt have sold as it did without E-Bay.  All the cautions given here are fully worth paying attention and being cautious.  Does anyone else have any other thoughts on the process or results?  

Jim Snell CLC#21544

Selling a car:
 Last fall, I ebayed a car for a friend. It was a real W25 455cid 4 speed 1970 Olds 442. It was a non-running ball of corrosion, but all there and original numbers matching etc.. It did not meet the $3000.00 reserve, but was close. When the auction ended, a few interested parties sent me email messages about buying it. A guy drove up two days later, looked it over in detail, then paid our $3000.00 asking price in cash.. We helped him load it on his trailer, done deal.

Sell the car with the extra parts? Yes or no?:
 We did not let the extra parts go with the car. We ebayed a set of 442 bucket seats that looked like a pit bull ate them. They did $660.00 and were shipped to France on DHL! The set of (1970 only) cutlass/442 sport mirrors did $400.00+ The two floor consoles did $225.00 and $210.00.... The pile of chrome doo-dads did $200.00+.. When we were done, the pile of rust non-running car brought $3,000.00 and the pile of extra parts my buddy had been hoarding for 20 years did about $4500.00. Not bad for a car that hadnt ran for 10 years, and had sat so long in his driveway, that the concrete now has permanent rust stains!  

Buyer and Seller integrity issues:
 I have 456 positive feedbacks and no negatives. I have been a buyer and seller since January of 1999... I always tell everything, encourage potential bidders to come and see the car, or contact me. I build a photo database folder of each car with high resolution images. This way, the interested parties can email for more photos, and additional information. I block bidders from out of country on most big sales, and cancel bids from persons with bad feedback. I ask persons with zero feedback and new users to contact me before bidding. If they dont they are canceled as well. This is all explained in my sale under the paragraph titled: READ THIS BEFORE BIDDING.

How I weed out the bad seeds:
 I have a blocked bidders list. If I receive a belligerent email message, or have a problem with another ebayer, I dont get involved in back and forth insults and the nasty stuff. I just go right to my blocked bidder list and add them. Then I go to my blocked sender option in outlook express and eliminate them there also! I call this "weeding"... I typically dont give the belligerent ones a reply.. If they cannot address me in a polite manner, they are not worthy of a response. Man, do they get angry when they try to bid and get turned away with the blocked bidder message!

 I keep the account in my small town bank just for Paypal deposits. I then immediately move the money to another account. This way, they cannot pull the money back out of my bank. (They are famous for this!) I have had no problems, but have heard some horror stories. I dont care much for the commission they charge, but I get some of it back on my Shipping and handling. The S&H charges are clearly stated in my auctions.

Ebay in general:
 It beats the old method of trudging to swap meets, and this alone makes it all worth while. Where else could a person get this much exposure, and sell for the highest price that other persons are willing to pay? Unlike outdoor swap meets, it doesnt even matter if it is raining, a blizzard, or the middle of the week. The car or item still sells for a good price...

Just my two cents worth, and best of luck on your ebay
Over and out. Jim Snell (69 Coupe DeVille) TARGET=_blank>

Bill Burton #19057

Your point are well made.  It sounds to me like youve got a good handle on the pitfalls that the sysem can have.  Thanks for the information.  Bill Burton

David #19063

I appreciate everyones response in this, both good and bad.  

I think this is something that I need to go into with my eyes wide open.  And the more information and opinions given to me the better.  Id prefer not to make mistakes that could easily be prevented.

I am familiar with the Nigerian scams...but I do not want to alienate any foriegn buyers either.  If they have a love for our classic cars, I will support that.


David #19063

And...LOL!...I am also trying to decide if I want to have a "Buy it Now" and/or a higher starting bid, say $10,000 or $15,000?


Jim Snell #21544

Hello again,
Sorry for me being long winded. My friends dont call me "The ebay Rockford" for nothing! LOL

High starting bid. Yes, or no?
Low starting bid:
A reserve auction costs $2.00 additional. Start the car at $100.00 with a reserve that you are comfortable with. This way, the bidding starts right away. Then you know that something is happening. When you do this, many more people add this to their watch list. (You can keep track of how many watchers your auction has) With a low starting price, it sucks them into the sale. They get curious what the reserve really is, what the car will bring. Then, they may start making plans, and organize their minds into a "if I buy this, I need a buyers transaction completion plan" etc.. A seller doesnt want to scare away potential customers. Correct?

High starting bid:
On high starting price auctions, it is typical that nobody will jump in and start the bidding. Most potential bidders will wait to see who will start the auction, or may not look at the sale again. This is human nature. Few people want to be the one to start something. There are many more finisher personality types than starters... Then the auction ends with no bidders. Because the price scared them all away...

Be organized:
Keep track of your auction in My ebay. This way you can see how many watchers you have. On the 442 Oldsmobile that I mentioned in the last post, we had more than 200 watchers! This group includes the ones who are waiting to jump in and try to "snipe" the car at the last minute. There are bid sniping programs that do this. The 442 went up $900.00 in the last minute of the auction...

Do some ebay research before you sell:
Look at completed prior auctions for similar cars. The completed list displays the final sale price in red or green color. The red colored ones are the ones that did not meet reserve. The green ones are the ones that actually sold. This way, you can see the real world of ebay, and make an educated decision on the realistic value of your item. Note: You must be an ebay member and must be signed-in to look a completed sales. I sometimes start this research weeks or months before I plan to sell an item. I print out the front page of each completed sale of a comparable item. I make notes about its relative condition in relation to the item that I plan to sell in the future. I make notes of the number of bidders, the number of hits on that sale etc. I put these on a clip board.
The bottom line is this:
If you want more than the same item is selling for on ebay now, and you are not willing to sell for the price that they are actually bringing on ebay. Then you are probably wasting your time running it. On big ticket items, these buyers know the value, and they know what they will pay.

Collector car value guides:
 I consider ebay to be the real value guide of collectibles. Period! Ebay is what the common person main stream public is willing to pay. Ebay has more bidders, more lookers, and more geographical audience than any Barrett Jackson will ever have. If it isnt selling on ebay for what you want to get, there is a high probability that you will not sell your item in this manner. Every day, I see cars on ebay with outrageous starting bid prices. Sometimes, I ask myself if these sellers are actually aware of the value of their item.. If they are just fishing, they may not realize that there are no stupid fish in this pond...

If the seller wants Barrett Jackson money, and wants to pay the premiums, then take the car to Barrett Jackson. This resoning works just about anywhere... For example: They they dont sell lobster tail dinners at McDonalds... McDonalds is not the place to evaluate the value of a lobster dinner, and Barrett Jackson is not the place to evaluate the value of an ebay car!

The right time to sell:
Always remember that the car business is seasonal. Convertibles sell in the early spring into the mid-summer, then they die down. It is worth the wait on valuable items to offer them in their prime demand season.

Auction timing:
Auctions that end at midnight, or two in the morning are just plain stupid. Remember that there are four time zones in the USA. 9:00 a.m. in New York is 6:00 a.m. in California. 10:30 p.m. in California on Sunday night, is 1:30 a.m. Monday morning in New York! If you want to include Western Europe, they are six hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone. End you auction at 1:00 p.m. EST on Sunday. This makes it 7:00 p.m. in central Western Europe, and  10:00 a.m. in California.. All on the same day. A day when most persons can be near a computer to complete the bidding on the item that "they really want".. All you have to do is help them a little bit, by making it convenient.

Over and out. Jim Snell

David #19063

Hello Jim,

I appreciate all your information and the time it took you to type it.  I like details.

I do have some nice pictures of the car, inside, outside, engine, trunk, but I am waiting until I can go over to my friends house and use his lift so I can have pictures of the under carriage as well.  

I see that most of the higher priced cars show nice pictures of the detailed under carriage so I want to do the same.