Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

She’s Gone

(Hall & Oates)

Well, that’s it, the Pug’s gone, the insurance cancelled and the V5 slip sent to DVLA.

Peugeot

It’s not an experience I’d be keen to repeat, but inevitably it’s governed by software and algorithms.

But, let’s go back to the beginning.

As you might see from my cars page here, I bought the Pug back in November 2011, at that time I was working in Manchester, so didn’t do much mileage.

She was, however, fun to drive on a sunny day with the roof down.

Then, a month or so ago, the roof wouldn’t go down, that’s kinda important for a convertible, so I booked her into a local dealership. The dealership fixed the roof, but advised that next time the roof failed (maybe next week, maybe in a year or two) it would probably cost £700 to repair. Oh, and the back brakes need replacing, there’s an oil leak and the timing belt needs replacing.

A total potential repair bill of just under three grand, for a car worth half that.

Knowing that there was a Damoclesian sword hanging over the car I was reluctant to sell her privately. I didn’t want an angry purchaser coming back to me with a baseball bat!

I decided to sell her to ‘webuyanycar.com’, on the basis that whomever buys from whatever outlet they sell through will know they’re taking a risk – WBAC are owned by British Car Auctions, so I guess she’ll appear in an auction in due course. Caveat emptor.

And this is where the drama starts, I had heard horror stories of WBAC ‘negotiating’ sellers down, so thought I’d document my personal ‘adventure’.

I entered the Pug’s details on the WBAC website and received a provisional offer of £1,800; knowing their reputation for beating prices down, I was hoping for £1,500.

Unfortunately I’d incorrectly listed the number of previous owners – there were three more than I’d remembered – so the computer’s revised starting point was £1,500.

Lesson One, each former owner reduces the price by at least £100.

Okay, so my expectations had already taken a hit.

We then went outside and the guy went over her with a fine tooth comb and a paint thickness probe to detect any panels that had been resprayed. Then stood back and looked down the sides to spot any ‘dings’.

Each and every car-park ‘ding’ or dent, each chip on the paintwork, or windscreen, each scuff on the upholstery or alloy wheels were all pointed out, logged and then entered into the computer.

For heaven’s sake, this is a ten year old car with just short of 60k on then clock!

Lesson Two – each and every blemish reduces the price by about £75.

Back in the office, the guy then scrutinised the service record. I confess I’d not had her serviced as often as the handbook states, I’d done fewer than ten thousand miles in the four years I’d owned her.

Lesson Three – incomplete service history is another hit.

The computer subsequently came up with a revised, and substantially reduced offer of just £950. Ouch!

We then ‘negotiated’; the guy asked what I was hoping for, and I explained my original, naive £1,800 – £1,500 expectation. I suggested that a similar three hundred pound ‘knock’ from £1,500 would leave me with around £1,200. He hummed and haw’d and eventually came up with a final price of £1,250, less their £50 transaction fee.

So £1,200 to me, in a few days. I could have had it the next working day for an extra £28. I could wait.

Lesson Four – you can negotiate them back up a bit.

All the prices I’ve quoted are approximate (I didn’t take notes) and the experience, while not particularly pleasant, was like a trip to the dentist, necessary, and better when it’s all over!

I’m writing this post as a guide for anybody else who might be considering selling their car through webuyanycar.com, if you’ve found your way here, let me know how you get on in the comments below.

Update

I was talking to a friend the other evening and he’d just put his car into the WBAC website and was offered £150… he’s not going to bother!