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Technical Car Buying Deposits

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Voh, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Voh
    Joined: Oct 18, 2006
    Posts: 857


    Can anyone shed some light as to how and handle a deposit for a long distance deposit? I am looking at getting a vehicle that roughly 5 hours away, and would like him to hold it so that I'm not 30 mins. out and it gets sold. What have some of you done in that situation? I would be driving next weekend to get it, so its a hold for just about a week.

  2. tikiwagon13
    Joined: Feb 23, 2011
    Posts: 371


    I had the same situation in October, car was 5 hours away and it was going to be a week until I could get there. When I spoke to the seller, I explained that I was serious about buying the car and would like to give him a deposit of $500, how did he want to get it. I offered PayPal, he preferred a bank draft, I mailed him a bank draft, 5 days later I showed up with a trailer, paid the balance and everyone was happy.
    fine29 likes this.
  3. I used paypal to pay for a deposit, and to pay for my A chassis. Then drove the 4 hours to get it everyone was happy got paid and we never physically exchanged money.

    you can get an account number ( he can open one for this purpose only) deposit the money for the hold and give him the rest in person.

    I have an account for this type of situation. no other info is on the account it is not linked to anything else I have. Its only so people can give me money!
  4. Bubba1955
    Joined: Jul 8, 2013
    Posts: 463


    These are successful stories that went the way they were supposed to....Waiting for the ones where the buyer fell through and expected his deposit back. Happened to me years back and the supposed buyer got real ugly about it. How do you folks feel? What exactly is the sellers obligation after the time span lapses and the prospective buyer backs out?
    bobwop likes this.

  5. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,850

    from Quincy, IL

    As a Buyer, I think PayPal is secure. In years of using it, I have never had a 'hiccup'. though most purchases were not high dollar, and many were with commercial sellers, not individuals. Some were 'deposits'. As a Seller, I switched to USPS Money Orders or, for bigger ticket items, like a vehicle, wire transfer of funds direct to my bank. I also use USPS M/O when buying from individuals to avoid PalPal fees being charged to the Seller.

    I will add one caution about a deposit on a car you have not physically inspected. Earlier in 2014 I "bought" a '37 Chevy Coupe on e-Bay. It was 750 miles away, but it looked really good in the many photos posted. I PayPal'd $500 for a deposit and hooked my trailer, gathered the cash and went after it. However, I was also prepared to forfeit the deposit if the car wasn't as good as it appeared.

    When I got there, it looked as good outwardly as expected, but we jacked it up and I got on my creeper and inspected the underside. I found serious sized rust holes in the underbody in several places. I didn't want the car for the money and/or work required to bring up to standards, both mine and the represented condition.

    I didn't make a big issue out of the matter for one reason. The seller was the son of a deceased man,
    his stepfather, and was selling the car to settle the estate for his mother, the widow. It was obvious to me this guy didn't know enough about cars to have purposely misrepresented it and, further, the stepdad had bought it in it's present condition. I merely politely informed him what I found, had him look for himself, and said you can keep the desposit, I don't want the car.

    My point being, in general, I think a Paypal transaction is safe, but as we all know, long distance purchases can be disappointing. The outcome was, the Seller sold the '37 later, on eBay, for $2000 more (plus my $500) and never even said Thanks! :confused:

    EDIT: just read the newest post while I was composing my reply. A Buyer definitely has an obligation to fulfill his side of the bargain, in one fashion or another........come get the goods and pay the balance as agreed if it is what is what represented to be, or if the Buyer doesn't show up, he should be prepared to forfeit his deposit.

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  6. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 6,507

    Special Ed

    There is a major difference between a "deposit" and a "down-payment". Word your "receipt" appropriately, and you will be one big step ahead in the game ...
    belair likes this.
  7. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,027

    from California

    Paypal is safe ONLY FOR THE BUYER. there is very little a person can do to keep paypal from taking your money from your account and giving it back to the buyer. NEVER take paypal for any deal where you can take some other payment unless you know the person sending you the money.

    as a seller if I take a deposit it is non refundable and I make that clear when I get it. as a buyer you should expect the same thing.
    zman, bobwop and Bubba1955 like this.
  8. louisb
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,012


    When I have put down "earnest" money I usually expect it to be forfeit if for some reason I don't follow through. That is the whole reason for putting it down, so the seller knows you are committed and the buyer covers any revenue lost while holding the item for you. I have done it both through PayPal and USPS money order so there is some protection.

    bobwop and Bubba1955 like this.
  9. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,635


    I am very clear that a deposit is MINE when it hits my hand. If something happens, time can be stretched, but the $$ stays with me. I am going to be compensated for any sales I might have lost because the buyer screwed up the deal.
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  10. "non refundable deposit" on the Paypal note section or hand written in a snail mail money order or bank note, will cover both parties.
    bobwop and Bubba1955 like this.
  11. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,812


    I don't take down payments or deposits anymore. If you want something I have, you pay in full, then you can pick it up whenever. If you can't come to get it for a week, call me in a week and you can buy it if I still have it.

    I've been burned by buyers too many times. But I guess if I really wanted to make a sale, I'd have the buyer send me a postal money order, along with a firm deadline, like "after the 10th, the deposit is forfeited". Otherwise, a week turns into a month and I'm stuck, sitting on a couple hundred bucks when I could have sold it 5 times since then.

    Paypal is great if you want the buyer to get his money back after he bails on the sale. Great for buyers, bad for sellers. If the buyer opens a dispute with Paypal, even months later, he'll win, every time.
    49ratfink likes this.
    Joined: Sep 27, 2008
    Posts: 83
    from USA

    Many years ago, when I was 15 and riding a bike, I notice a 1950 Ford sitting in this garage, while the doors were open (you see so much more riding a bike and even more walking), and an old lady walking around with a rake doing lawn work. So I stop and asked if the car was for sale. She told me, that it was her husband, who had pass away a year ago, and yes it would be for sale, but she would have to asked her family how much to sell it for. I asked her if I could take a look at it and she said sure. The car turn out to be a 1950 Ford station wagon. I told her I would buy it and if I could leave a deposit, no matter how much it cost. Being 15, I only had a few dollars on me at the time. She told me to come back the next day and she would have a price. Next day, I show up with 100 dollars in my pocket, somehow I figure she would see the car for 100 dollars (we are talking 1965 here). She told me her two sons figure that the car was worth 500 dollars and that is what she would take for it. So after about 2 minutes of deep figuring, I pass over the 100 dollars as a deposit, with the agreement that I would pay the rest on time (like the hole summer).

    Evertime I went over to pay a little more, I would work on the car, soon I had the car waxed, and running, with all fluids change and all rubber parts (except for the tires) replaced. The lady's husband had a whole garage full of tools and other parts, I could use.

    Fatal mistake came when I left the car outside in front of the garage, getting it ready for the tow truck to come and get it and delivered it to my house, I was on the last payment. I drove that car up and back in her driveway all summer, and now it was almost paid for.

    I along with a friend, show up with the tow truck and the last payment and notice that the car was not in front of the garage and that the garage was lock with a large padlock. The lady came out and was all excited, telling me all of my hard work paid off. She sold the car to someone hour of state, and had a 1500 dollars for me, minus the last payment.

    Well what could I do, I took the money and went home, not the end of the story.

    My buddy, figure that the lady sold the car for big bucks or decided not to sell it all all, had her sons push the car back into the garage, and lock the door. Well this went on for a week and soon I found myself with him at the lady's front door. We came up with a story, about leaving my jacket in the garage and need to unlock the door inorder to obtain it. The lady seem surprise about the lock on the door. We ended up cutting the new hasp and open up the garage with the lady standing by. The garage was empty, no car, no tools, no extra parts, no compressor, nothing. The lady said, she was playing bridge when the man came and pick up the car, but wonder where the rest of the items in the garage went. She called her son, he came over, and then call the police to make a report. I was feeling pretty low, and really wanted to punch my buddy in the nose, for getting me involve in all of this.
    After the police came, took the report, and left, the old lady, open up her pocket book and took out 15 dollars and wanted to give it to my for my jacket. I turn it down, and went on my way. The last words the lady spoke to me were, "that money I earned for the car, should be spent on college, and not on some old junky car".
    Hnstray and weps like this.
  13. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,855


    Deposits, Down Payments, Earnest Money, Front Money, or whatever you want to call them, serve only one purpose: to protect the seller in the event of a buyer default. They are not refundable otherwise there wouldn't be a need for a deposit in the first place.
    49ratfink and Bubba1955 like this.
  14. UA_HoBo
    Joined: Dec 16, 2009
    Posts: 108

    from Oswego NY

    i fully understand the orginal intent of a deposit being there to protect the seller from having the buyer back out. But what does a buyer have to protect themselves from misrepresented products. If i put 1$ or 1K down on a car that was described as X condition and it was really alot worse or hacked together by an internet bandit what are we to do?
  15. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,503


    I had that happen and I had told him up front the deposit was "ernest money" and would NOT be refunded in event of him "falling off" the deal. He DID fall off and I kept the deposit. Nary a whimper. Tell 'em up front.
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  16. I think you do your due diligence. If you're looking to buy a car hours away and can't personally inspect it, you either ask for numerous detailed photos, or arrange to have someone else inspect the car.
    If you can't feel comfortable about the condition of the car, don't put a deposit down.
    belair, bobwop and Bubba1955 like this.
  17. Bubba1955
    Joined: Jul 8, 2013
    Posts: 463


    Mine was actually a little different situation than the OP's question posed in that the "buyer" had seen the car, and possibly makes it off topic in this instance.
    A price was agreed upon. The "buyer" called back and had changed his mind after the agreed upon week had passed. I mistakenly assumed people knew that deposits were non-refundable.
    I held firm and kept the deposit. I could have sold it a half dozen times while I held it before the "buyer" backed out.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  18. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,997

    Jalopy Joker

    Buyer/Seller beware, don't assume anything. many years ago I accepted a check for a deposit for a car I had For Sale at a Swap Meet. 'buyer " had canceled check before I got home. missed out sale to others interested. again, years ago I gave a "Cool" car guy a $500 deposit. when I came back he said I never gave him a deposit. had signed the deposit receipt with a different last name - did not know his real last name. my word against his, and we lived far apart. always wondered how many others that he ripped off.
  19. weps
    Joined: Aug 1, 2008
    Posts: 534

    from auburn,IN

    A great story. A SAD story, but good reading.
  20. It's still buyer beware.
    Go check it before the cash leaves.
    If you can't get there don't send the cash or remember its still buyer beware.

    There have been both honest and dishonest people since the invention of people. Don't fool yourself into thinking it will change
    metlmunchr likes this.
  21. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,903


    A deposit is for a contracted purchase, not for a look-see, or a make-an-offer, or a hold to see if you want to buy it.

    They are for when you have already agreed to pay a certain price for an item.

    If you then breach the contracted purchase agreement, you lose your deposit.

    That said, cash is king. It is all I accept, and I don't take deposits on things I'm selling.

    You show up with cash to buy it, or you don't.
  22. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 7,518


    I still have $100 from a car about 30 years ago. I called the guy three times long distance, the last time he said I was interrupting his dinner. After that it's been ALL the money for all the product. Same car { '63 Corvette}different buyer: guys show up to buy my car. They have 1/4 of the money and want to take all the loose stuff in boxes will be back with a trailer. I asked who's trailer, he points to his buddy. I said let's just schedule the whole event right now and do it all in one motion, all three of us are standing here. They shuffle their feet and leave. Turns out they had done the same thing to someone else, but never went back. They had 3/4 of the parts for 1/4 the $$.
  23. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,072


    Cash in full or nothing when I buy or sell. I'm not a bank or a storage facility. When the deal happens, my plates come off and the vehicle leaves my property. I have a signed bill of sale with VIN, as-is terms, phone number etc. Ive bought and sold at least 50 cars this way. I've hooked buyers up with short term storage when I knew the Mgr of a storage facility. If the car changes ownership and you store it and the buyer claims something happened, you're stuck with a home owners insurance claim
    Bubba1955 likes this.
  24. spanners
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,094


    I know here in Australia the laws are slightly different regarding banks and stuff.
    I was selling a small truck for my father-in-law on Evilbay. As he had no Paypal or such, when the bloke contacted me to buy it and lived a couple of hours away, I gave him my bank account number and told him to put 1/4 deposit in, which he did, and pay the rest to the father-in-law when he picked the truck up. Bloke turned up the next weekend, paid up and drove off happy as Larry. I got the money out of my account and gave it to the father-in-law (less costs for looking after his daughter so well, na, just kidding), everyone happy.
  25. Rattle Trap
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 358

    Rattle Trap

    I have bought and sold about 55 cars. Always cash in hand deals. I have never left a deposit and never taken one. I have held cars for a few people up to a few days.
  26. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,364

    dave lewis

    Wire transfer for the last one I sold to germany...
  27. How about straight trades?
    Scenerio : Both party's agree on a straight trade.
    Cars are over 2000 miles apart, Both parties agree on handling freight on their own.
    Question-- Swap titles thru overnight mail, then each party is responsible for setting up their own transportation?
    Any suggestions ?
  28. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,855


    I know nobody actually wants to do this, but here goes anyway:
    Get it in writing (and signed of course).
    If the buyer wants to "hold" the car with a deposit, yet wants to be able to do a final inspection, then write up a sale contract that says so. The word to use is "contingent". Contingent upon inspection, contingent upon test drive, contingent upon the car being as represented, etc, etc, etc. It's also a good idea to have a third party hold the deposit (an escrow agent).

    Business is always risky and there are scammers on both sides of the fence. If you want no risk, then do no business. Meanwhile protect yourself as best as you can.
  29. Bubba1955
    Joined: Jul 8, 2013
    Posts: 463


    Best policy right here...Nobody can get screwed.
  30. Kirk Hanning
    Joined: Feb 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,603

    Kirk Hanning

    You could always take a deposit which reads something to the affect of, "the money received is for holding the vehicle for xx amount of days then giving the prospective buyer the first choice to buy the vehicle minus the money given".

    Essentially the buyer is PURCHASING the option to buy the car minus the initial money given within a dated and allotted amount of time. If he/she is serious about buying the vehicle there shouldn't be an issue.

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