Question Of The Day: What Is The Lamest Reason Why Someone Decided Not To Buy Your Car?

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

Sometimes Wikipedia cracks me up.

The Toyota Previa… “failed to steal any significant share from the Chrysler minivans due to its high price, odd Asian styling, poor fuel economy, terrible horn, and weak engines.”

Note to Toyota engineers. Work on that horn! The old ones apparently weren’t horny enough.

The retail car business seems to be a hotbed for irrational snobs and hot-headed lunatics. Not to mention those who don’t bother reading advertisements before wasting your time.

Case in point. Every time I sell an old gasser Mercedes, I always put the following headline in big bold letters.


This will not stop someone who is under 25 from coming to my lot, showing me the ad on their rinky-dinky cell phone, and asking where is the diesel Benz.

Every… single… time…

The same is true for when I sell a Mustang or a Camaro.


In this case, the young cell phone surfer will either come with their friends, or their Dad.

“I thought this was a Z28/GT model?”, the father/friend will say while the reading challenged kid is busy texting his friends.

“Did you read the ad?”

“Well… um… son? Did you read the ad?”

These are just cases where basic reading comprehension skills are lacking. Lame yes. But when it comes to the car itself, I deal with three unique types of nutjobs that just make me want to walk away from a conversation mid-sentence and close my office door.

1) The Badge Whore

This is the guy or gal who calls you about a Pontiac Vibe or Geo Prizm and wants it to magically turn into a Toyota. They will test drive it. Like it. Tell you about their all too loved Toyota that apparently bit the big one, and then ask you…

“Do you have a Toyota Corolla/Matrix?”

“Yes, but they are a higher price.”

“Can you call me when you get one in with similar mileage for the same price.”

“I can’t. Those don’t exist. For the same price, it will usually have around 50,000 to 70,000 more miles. You do realize that this is the exact same vehicle mechanically.”

“Yeah… but I really want a Toyota.”


2) The Illusionist

This is the prospective car buyer who will bitch about issues that don’t actually exist. Or will ask you to lower the price due to maintenance it may ‘potentially’ need 20,000 miles down the road.

C: “Do you hear that?”

Me: “Hear what?”

C: “That roar.”

Me: “Those would be the tires.”

C: “What about those little spiky things on the side of them?”

Me: “Those would be new tires.”

C: “And why doesn’t this car have a CD player?”

Me: “Because it’s a 15 year old economy car. They didn’t come with CD players?”

C: “Why does the antenna stay up?”

Me: “Because it’s a fixed antenna.”

C: “I don’t like old cars. This is an old car. Has it recently been given a service?”

Me: “The odometer is at 160k. The oil was changed and it has new tires. The major service isn’t due until 180k.”

C: “That will cost money.”

Me: “So does a bus pass.”

Finally, you have the car buyer who is more lame than Kwame Kilpatrick, Rod Blagojevich, and the 1962 Mets.

3) The Chronic Lawballer

This is the guy who, if you offered a perfectly good car for $1000, would counter with an $800 offer, an extended warranty, and a free toaster.

Yes, the following scenario really did happen to me.

Customer: “You know a lot about SAABs?”

Me: “Sure. I’ve had a couple dozen. (Keeping the SAAB-istic and SAAB-ist puns to myself.)

C: “You know they are unreliable.”

Me: “You realize this car has been on the road for 20 years.”

C: “Well, I’ve had SAABs for a long time. Decades. I never pay more than $500 for them.”

Me: “You realize I can crush this vehicle and get more than $500 out of it today.”

C: “That doesn’t matter. Kelly Blue Book says it’s worth $500 and that’s what I’m going to pay.”

Me: “I can’t help you. That’s not realistic.”

C: “Okay then. What about $600, a 7 day warranty, and you give me your toaster?”

Me: “What?”

C: “I need a toaster. Mine broke. I also saw a toaster in your office. I’m also looking for a TV but you didn’t have one of those.”

Me: “The car is $1200”

C: (looks at me startled) “You said a thousand?”

Me: “Yes, but I always charge more for aggravation.”

C: “No, I want to buy the car and toaster for $600.”

Me: “$1300 then.”

C: “You’re ripping me off.”

Me: “What?”

C: “You’re ripping me off!”

Me: “No toaster then. $1350.”

We ended up arguing for nearly 20 minutes and… I sold the car and toaster for $1200. The guy then called me up a few days later and asked if I could send him $200 since the alternator needed to be replaced.

I replied, “Do you still have my toaster?”

He pawned it. I kept my money. So what are the lamest excuses you have ever heard from a car buyer?

Join the conversation
3 of 82 comments
  • Supremebrougham Supremebrougham on Apr 23, 2013

    The closest I can come is a few years ago when I was shopping around for a car to replace my Olds Alero with. I had found online a 2006 Fusion with like, 22000 miles on it for 10K. It was at a Toyota dealer about three hours away I had talked to the dealer and told him that I would stop and look at it while on my way to my family's home for Christmas dealer. When I go there, the Fusion was sitting out front. It was Merlot with a beige cloth interior. I got inside and the interior was FILTHY! Coffee spilled down the console, mud splashed up the A-pillar and black pet fur and food crumbs were all over the seats! They knew I was coming to look at the car! I took it for a ride and then after being promised that the car would be cleaned, they looked at my absolutely spotless, showroom-clean and zero-problem Alero, and proceeded to tell me that it was only worth $3000 to them (even though at the time it blue booked around $5000 trade-in). I said what is wrong with you? He then went to say "Well, we are part of the Penske Automotive Group. We have over 1000 dealers and by the time we service this car and get it ready to put on the lot we will have over $1000 in it." Now what Penske had to do with it is beyond me. It took me two hours to get them to give me my car keys back. I was furious with them. To this day I have no desire to deal with anything that has the name Penske on it for that reason. On a different note, several months ago I advertised on Craigslist an older PT Cruiser that I wanted to sell. It was ten years old and had a lot of miles. It looked good but was priced right. I got several emails from people claiming to be out of the country but wanted to buy the car, and wanted my paypal info so they could send me the money and make arrangements for someone to pick the car up. Give me a break.

    • Corntrollio Corntrollio on Apr 25, 2013

      "It took me two hours to get them to give me my car keys back. I was furious with them." The right response is "give me my car keys back right now, or I can call the police, and you can explain to them why you have stolen my car."

  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Apr 23, 2013

    I still remember driving 100 miles to look at a used Toyota truck at a dealership. The salesmen had neglected to tell me that it been hit in the rear so hard that the frame had flexed to the point where the box had hit the back of the extended cab and dented both corners. The crummy body work done to the tailgate stuck out like a sore thumb as did the cheap aftermarket rear bumper that had been slapped on it. The truck looked like it had been ridden hard and put away wet from day one. This was a 3 year old truck that I had been told was in excellent condition and the price they were asking would suggest . Lucky for him, the guy that I talked to on the phone wasn't there when I showed up. I don't think I even bothered shutting my car off I was out of there so quickly. That was it, I was done looking at used junk that people wanted top dollar for. I went and bought a brand new one.

  • Bob65688581 Small by American standards, this car is just right for Europe, and probably China, although I don't really know, there. Upscale small cars don't exist in the US because Americans associate size and luxury, so it will have a tough time in the States... but again Europe is used to such cars. Audi has been making "small, upscale" since forever. As usual, Americans will miss an opportunity. I'll buy one, though!Contrary to your text, the EX30 has nothing whatsoever to do with the XC40 or C40, being built on a dedicated chassis.
  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉