Buying & Selling: Hi M8 RU still selling UR car? :)


Mike Humble:

Maybe I’m just old fashioned but I was always under the impression that trying to sell a used car meant actual dialogue with a human being. Once it was a small ad in the paper or a carefully printed A4 notice in the rear window and it was job done. The phone rang, you spoke to a person and they either came round to view… or not. Once the person was stood on your drive you had a 50-50 chance of nailing them into a deal. But as a Mr Robert Zimmerman once crooned – the times they are a changing.

I personally like this whole interweb malarkey (though I doubt it will ever catch on) but I try to avoid some of the inane posts on be it Facetube or Booktwitt like “I’ve just been to the toilet PMSL” or “Hmmn – cheese on toast or soup for tea?“. Mentioning every pointless action or broadcasting to the whole world about your bowel movements only irritates people and highlights the sad decline of good old-fashioned dialogue and actually getting out into the real world once in a while.

Johns Note
An honest simple car requires nothing more than an honest simple advert. Use your brain and common sense to whittle down potential interest to just the serious punters. And ABOVE ALL construct the advert to encourage real dialogue.

My thoughts for this ramble came via a contact who is selling his car and a Facebook contact who is trying to do the same. The latter was posting up his frustrations at messers, what they were requesting of him and stating that, and I quote “ I still have this for sale” – which is not exactly ideal. It will only encourage more mucking around. Not only that but it weakens your position when negotiating a fair price with all parties as anyone with serious interest will read it as desperation on your part.

My own experience had tended to find that GENUINE interest comes through the telephone and not from a tennis rally of text messages and emails – like I hinted at in my opening gambit,  the Internet brings out the best and worst of people.Personally, I like to avoid putting my email address on any car advert and there is a simple reason for this.

The Internet is the stalking ground for the dreaded messer – that breed of person who wastes your time by constantly asking for more information, pictures and, quite often, the lowest price you will take for the car. They often sit there in a squalid one-room bedsit in front of the PC in a world lit by an unshaded fly spattered 40 watt bulb light-bulb complete with a tap dripping in the background into a dirty saucepan… dreaming of cars they often cannot even legally drive, let alone afford to buy.

A recently discovered text and internet used car messers hideaway.

This sounds harsh maybe but they are the dregs of society for those trying to make a living or simply sell an unwanted car. Of course, we get frustrated with rage and many a time I have personally wanted reach into my LG Flatron monitor and drag them out to kick their lungs in, but there are ways you can reduce your chance of being messed around.

“Unless you are selling a high-value prestige motor, something fruity or your posted images are just plain rubbish, requests for endless pictures tend to come from dreamers”

If you are doing the online advert, DON’T put your email address in the advert unless you really have to and, if you do, be wary of people asking you for more pictures – especially if you have already posted up a comprehensive selection. Unless you are selling a high-value prestige motor, something fruity or your posted images are just plain rubbish, requests for endless pictures tend to come from dreamers, timewasters or the kind of over-fussy punter who is never happy regardless of the bargain and it’s the same with text messages too.

When I have received texts, I respond at first and then invite them to real-time dialogue to gauge their seriousness. If they don’t play ball try to call them – I’ll bet it goes to answerphone or you get a text back saying “sorry… I dropped my ‘phone down the loo and it only works though texting” – either way you are wasting your breath or fingertips and dealing with a messer.

“messers normally avoid effort on their part, dialogue petrifies them…”

I went through this on the ‘phone with my aforementioned friend, who suffering the same aggro, and then suggested it would possibly narrow his chances of anyone being interested. My retort pointed towards the quality of interest he had gleaned thus so far, there was a pregnant pause and he took my point. You see it’s like this… messers normally avoid effort on their part, dialogue petrifies them but you do get the odd brave one. If a prospect turns up to view the car but declines the offer of a spin round the block and yet still wants to talk money? 3-1 on messer.

If out on a test drive the prospect twitters like a Budgie or chats like a toddler rather than keeping a keen eye and ear open for something awry then its a 4-1 on favourite he’s also a messer. Of course, I can be and have been wrong but, with a little forethought and planning when virally selling your car, the risk of being taken up the garden path and mucked about is amazingly reduced.

The messer actually get his/her kicks from pi**ing you off and wasting your time and they do it in the showrooms as well by either collecting brochures or requesting test drives with no intention of buying – “it makes them feel important but makes them look impotent” as an old Sales Manager of mine once quipped. Venting your frustration online helps no one so avoid it on the open forums – not only that, it could make you come across like a moaning Minnie and hinder your chances of a genuine enquiry from a genuine punter.

And to close – how do you know that some of the time-wasters aren’t on your so-called Friends’ list?

Worth a thought that one! Here’s some advice when selling your used car:


  • Stick to the facts: how much, whats wrong with it and status of MOT and service
  • Try to avoid email addresses until the deal or deposit is in the bag
  • Encourage real time dialogue in your advert NOT text messages
  • Avoid “confrontational” wordage like No Offers or Fixed price etc.
  • Make yourself contactable… if the phone rings make sure its answered – unless the car is special people tend not to leave an answerphone message and move on.


  • Witter on about your life story or give reason for the sale in the advert – any hint of desperacy weakens your position when it comes to haggling on the price
  • Be upbeat, honest and factual
  • Never over-egg the pudding in the advert – knowledgeable potential buyers will see right through you
  • Phrases like “any trail” or “first to see will buy” are crass and utterly pointless
  • If a text message comes through, reply by phoning them back. If they don’t answer simply stop wasting your time and forget it.


  1. Mike
    How very true, Confucius said “Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated”, and he did not have the web to contend with. However having said that there are exceptions with perceived dodgy enquiries. I once had a web enquiry about a shiny new truck from a man using a hostel address in Scotland. The enquiry was wrong on so many levels that I thought “he was a poor soul who had been drinking the local waters of life and driven mad by the bleating of Hebridean sheep”. Being a southerner who can be ironically polite to people, I replied with a few nice words included a phone number and expected to hear no more.
    Oh how I was wrong, he replied via the phone with the comment that he had asked several dealers the same question and I was the only one who replied. Therefore I became his new best friend, at this point I started to get worried. However the good news was all was not lost, as it turned out he owned the “tourist” hostel and the island it sat on. Therefore no finance and balloon payment problems.
    Must give you a phone call and ask how you got the picture of my hide away. Yes the tap still drips.

  2. I have found the NZ auction site “Trade Me” very effective. But I noticed that the person who asks questions rarely puts in a bid, so probably “dreamers” AS YOU SAY.

  3. A lot of witty and true facts there Mike.

    I once called about a car for sale a little while ago that was on ****trader. Tried twice then called again and left a message. Heard sweet FA until a few days AFTER I had bought a car some two weeks later.

    The person selling called back and apologised for the delay as they had been away in holiday in Africa.


  4. When selling our XF recently we were constantly being emailed asking for pictures of the engine, the underside and even the bloody rear differential. Being new to online adverts I obliged only to receive a joke offer. He was told to do one. People like those and we buy any car etc are the scurge of society. Loved the XJR review by the way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.