Lessons learned from selling a car on craigslist

Rompin' Ralph Automobile Exchange

After several years of faithful service, a great opportunity arose to replace my 2000 Chevy Lumina with a newer 2008 Honda Civic LX. As it was a private transaction I was unable to “trade in” the old car and had to go through the trouble of disposing my old car.  Enter in the seedy underbelly of the internet, craigslist.

The first thing I did was to check KBB for a hint of what the car was worth, cleaned things out and took some photos. I then posted it to the site and waited.  The first thing I noticed was several rather shady text messages from out of town numbers starting out asking (+1 213-204-5393) “Hi.. is your 2000 Chevrolet Lumina for Sale Still? Just saw it online and it looks perfect for me. I’d like to buy it this week do you have any kind of report run on it’s history?” to which I responded no, explained the providence of it and that they could take a look at it if they would like. they then responded with “Will you please grab one of them from http://deep.historyreporting.online?deep and email it to me at …” where the email was a numbered yahoo mail account.  This all got my scam spidy sense tingling. I promptly responded that they could run the report themselves if they wished or that I would provide a report from a NMVITS approved source (http://vehiclehistory.gov). He responded back with “I don’t feel comfortable running it myself because I am not the legal owner. Is that doable?”  I again offered a NMVITS blessed report and communication was broken off.

Next was from +1 701-645-7589 “Saw this advert and i am interested, am deaf if available text me back and let me know, sam” I was already a bit twitchy from the last message so I replied back “It is, I would be willing to meet you to take a look at it. Where are you? I see you have a 701 area code. Are you in ND or local?”

Sam then replied “I am in Arkansas right now due to work would you accept cashiers check as payment then after it clears your bank my mover will come for pickup.”

That is a big red flag. One of the CL scams that these fine people run is to give you a funny cashier’s check and then due to our arcane banking laws the money will appear for a little while and then get yanked back out by the other bank when they figure out something is wrong. So I replied back “I am sorry but it will have to be in cash, especially with the long distances involved. I find it surprising that you are buying the car sight unseen. All of these risks are too much for my comfort.

Each time I made it clear that I was not going to be an easy mark, they immediately broke contact and moved on to their next mark.

I assume that each of these numbers will be shortly back into the pool to be handed out as they don’t ever stay in one place for long, so please don’t go calling them with cleaver quips like “is your refrigerator running?” as the poor person on the other end of the line likely did nothing wrong.

I eventually did sell the car for cash money and thanks to the Iowa DOT checklist for selling a car it was a successful transaction.