Would YOU buy a used car from this guy?

SAABOr: How I almost bought a Saab 9.5 station-wagon.

You think that you’d be fairly safe buying from a chartered accountant and auditor who used to work for KPMG and lives in one of the better parts of Mainz.

That’s what I thought, too.

Saw the ad on AutoScout 24, the leading online car market – 2009, 1 owner, 112k, €12.5k.

Got in touch with the guy, found out where he lived, did an external inspection on my own – very clean, no carpark rash – and then a closer look at it with him.

Battery’s overcooked at some stage, a bit of oil seeping from somewhere, there are a couple of scratches on the bonnet, a small tear of the faux leather insert on the driver’s seat and a mysterious abrasion on the bottom of the tailgate – shoddily painted over – and the top of the bumper and it’s up to 118k

But otherwise really good.

And no accident damage he assures me.

Service receipts for 2012 and 2013.

2009-2011? Don’t have those – that was before he bought it.

But doesn’t it say “1 owner”? Oh, he meant one owner before HIM…

Hmm…

There’s a major repair bill for around €1000 which I  check out with the local Saab dealer.

No, that’s just a QUOTE, they say. He had the work done elsewhere. Or so he told them.

Take the car for a test drive and have it checked over by Roland, my mechanic.

The mysterious abrasion on the tailgate is explained away by a rear end shunt which pushed up the bumper to kiss the tailgate every time it’s opened.

No big deal, says Roland and it’s been remedied at some stage.

He wouldn’t talk me out of buying it.

Go back and talk to the owner.

I lay out what it’s going to cost to have the tailgate repaired and repainted, buff out the scratches on the bonnet, have the water pump replaced (hadn’t been done) and replace the battery and offer him €11000.

Plus I’ll need scans of the service receipts and a clause in the contract confirming that a) the major repair’s been carried out using original Saab parts and b) the tailgate damage existed before he bought the car.

Not a problem, he says.

Backwards and forwards and we end up at €11400.

Shake hands on it.

Contract signing on Monday 14:00, I get the money transferred to my current account to withdraw Monday morning and get insurance cover.

Monday morning.

Phone rings, his father decided at the weekend that he’s in URGENT need of a car, so sorry, but it’s no longer for sale. (That’s right. It’s no longer for sale because we agreed in a verbal contract that I’m buying it. Which my bank statements would prove if we got to court.)

Let him finish, hang up.

Relate the story to Roland who agrees (as does everyone else I tell the tale to)  that there’s something decidedly fishy about it – either the major work’s never been done or the damage to the tailgate occurred during his ownership and he hadn’t figured on someone wanting clauses in the contract that state otherwise.

Good riddance, we said.

Postscript:

His Dad’s transportation requirements appear to have suddenly evaporated. The car’s back on AutoScout 24 at the same price, 1 previous owner, same number plates.

I wonder for how long when they get to read this…..

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