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used car story of the week


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So as a few of you know I got into selling used cars as a supplement to the garage work. It generates headaches faster than it generates cash. Here's what's on my plate for this week: a girl bought a pacifica from me with 90k miles. Paid about $5k. I made $800. Clean car, no issues. I gave her a written 30 day warranty per NY law. That was in February. The first I hear back from her was last week, she is suing me in small claims court for $3,800. Huh? She claims she spent that much in repairs the last month and I'm responsible. So while the car was under warranty it didn't break. In the first 4 months of ownership it didn't break. Now 5 months later and 10,000+ miles something broke and its 100% my fault because I sold it to her. It really blows my mind the mentality of some people. The sad part is if any of my paperwork is out of order I'll probably have to pay her something. If she's friends with the judge I'm really screwed. Since when is a car dealer responsible for the life of a car? I just don't get it.

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I had a dealers license for a couple of years and found it was too much of a headache for little return. I could have perfectly good reliable car that was in someones budget and every thing is perfect except they want a red car and not a blue one. I let my guys buy a few cars from customers that have blown head gaskets or something the customer no longer wants to repair. They spend some time on the weekend and sell them on Craigslist pretty quick. It's a perk for them and they make a little extra cash. I usually get a small cut for the use of the shop. They have to create a shop ticket for any supplies they use. I have found it's easier to broker the cars for people and get a small cut for finding the seller a buyer. I have found that you can sue anybody for anything and it takes very little work or money to do so. The times people have sued me I just let them and then I counter for all my expenses when it's all said and done. The judge is a very good friend of mine so he usually recluses himself on those grounds, but the replace is a "friend" also. It's still a waste of time as I have judgements against several people which I will probably never see. I would be happier just punching them in the face but I guess that causes other problems.

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I am following this subject. Real curious to see how court goes for you. I have about ten used cars I have slowly accumulated over two years. My guys work on them when it is slow. It seems like they are unable to fix any of my cars. Each time we fix one problem another occurs. I'm getting to the point I want to send all ten to the scrapper.

Edited by Handson
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I haven't gotten a verdict yet but I'll fill you in when it shows up. Used cars are funny, I drove one as my own commuter car for like 4 weeks. 2000+ miles. I wanted to make sure it would be 100% troule free. The same day I sold it the starter quit on the guy, had to tow it. I fixed it under warranty but ??really?? How can a different driver turn the key different than me?

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I've had decent success with used cars. Here are some good tips. Charge yourself a wholesale rates at least for the shop. Put it up for sale as soon as you do final test drive. Keeping for couple weeks sounds good, but notinreality Cars break. At somepoint, yours willtoo. Sell It as is and offer discount on future repairs if you want. Better idea is to sell away from your shop bc customers think since you're a mechanic the car should be perfect. And if you charge for the repairs to yourself, then techs are motivated to get it done bc you are a customer. It's working for me thus far. Oh yeah, n don't put too much into a car. $4000 outlay for $800 profit isn't optimal, but it does happen. .

Edited by davine4real
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There is a shopping center next door to my shop. When I have a car for sale, I advertise it on Craigslist. I don't have a "for sale" sign on the car (SUV, Truck, etc.) When I get a call on my cell phone, I tell them that the car is at the shopping center where AutoZone is. To go take a look and if they like it, I can meet them there after work. This way they never know I have a shop, and it is strictly a car for sale "By Owner." I am honest in answering questions, but sell the car as is where is. I previously sold them at the shop until I found out that the buyers thought they were guaranteed for life.

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Got a letter in the mail today. I owe $3000. No explanation. My paperwork was good. The customer (ex customer) admitted the vehicle was fine for 90 days. Words can't describe how I feel. The used car dealer, in this case, me, was deemed liable for damages long after the warranty expired. I hired a lawyer to appeal. I assumed the 30 day used car warranty protected both parties, I was wrong. Just a warning to you guys, for $25 anybody can sue you and win without any legal justification. Its simply the consumers word vs the business. I'll let you know how the appeal goes, I assume when we go into a real court facts, laws, and precedent will carry more weight. I hope.

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Got a letter in the mail today. I owe $3000. No explanation.

 

That's strange, the ruling in her favor should state the facts that led to the decision in her favor.

 

For those of you that the Law is a mystery, take this course for your own protection.

 

http://www.jurisdictionary.com/?refercode=CH0002

 

It has been worth every penny to me.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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