I have about given up on private party sales for anything, auto-related or not.
The last used car I sold went extremely well. It was a Geo Metro that blew a head gasket and I let it sit for too long and the mice destroyed the thing and you needed a biohazard suit to open the door! The scrappers were paying $250 for this car so I put it up for that as there were many good parts and someone offered me $300 to hold it and he rented a trailer and came within a few days. It was the smoothest sale ever and he was extremely happy with the car, even though it has become basically junk to me. There was no drama or BS.
The last car before that was a different story and involved multiple calls on my part to various local police departments. The guy bought the car from me, then ran it up onto a curb and bent tie rods/control arms, then wanted me to take it back. He went on to tell me he was a cop and would have me arrested for not allowing him to return the car. I said some choice words and hung up. Then the incessant calls started! I ended up calling various local police departments where I live and where this guy claimed to be a cop. Let’s just say they weren’t happy about someone claiming to be an officer! I called the police and said this guy either isn’t a cop and if he is, he should be removed from duty immediately! He was just a fraud and had obviously done this to other people. I got a call back from the police not long after and said I wouldn’t be hearing from him anymore and I didn’t. They also said he had basically destroyed the car by off-roading it and further damaging the suspension and denting the car out of frustration when I refused his demands.
I have also sold a few used kayaks in recent years. I kayak a lot in my spare time and sometimes talk about my hobbies with customers of my IT business. They will be like "There is an old kayak in our garage we need to sell and they offer it to me for some insanely low price to get it out of their hair. Some of these I have kept while others are not my thing and I sell them after using them once and deciding I don’t like them and would rather have the space than another kayak. It is always the same… I get like 100x contacts that are complete idiots, scammers, or whatever and only 1-2x decent people. It will usually sell to the 1st or 2nd person that calls and is actually legit, not some crazy lunatic or whatever.
I mean there will be a picture of the kayak and a detailed description, then they ask “What color is this?”, “How long is the kayak?”, “What is the brand and model?” I mean the ad reads “Perception Pescador 10ft kayak in black cherry marble” and people don’t get it??? Then I have a whole bunch of other information including that the price is firm, etc. but then you get the $25 offer for an $800 kayak. Seriously??? I put in my ads that I block anyone who doesn’t read the ad right at the top and still get these questions so I block like 100x people each time I try to sell something.
I used to sell used computers in my IT business but NO MORE!!! I would deal with the same nonsense, people calling and threatening me when it broke a year or more later, etc. Again, I had multiple instances where I came very close to taking drastic actions to protect myself, had to involve law enforcement, etc. The last straw was when some meth head threatened to kill me because I found and replaced a $35 part that was broken and only charged him $35 extra for the part as I was already inside the device and replacement took me only about 30 seconds longer. Anyway, he told me I was ripping him off and threatened to kill me. I tore off, about running the guy over with my car in the process and had the guy’s computer because he was unwilling to pay and became threatening.
I was getting pretty busy before the pandemic hit but my workload has skyrocketed. I raised my rates and can also pick and choose who I want as a customer if I get a bad vibe from them. I am also more focusing on commercial and governmental clients because they always pay and don’t bring me drama. So making $800 from a customer who is more than happy to pay is way better than getting a death threat from a crackhead that is pissed about $35. I deal with residential customers but make sure they understand I charge the same for them as a business. Most of my customers are just happy to have someone show up and do the job correctly. That seems to be a lost art these days…
I thought Craigslist was bad but I actually have WAY BETTER luck there than Facebook although not as many people seem to use it. I still get calls about people wanting a used computer so let them know I will charge them more for a used computer with no guarantee than I would for a brand new one with the latest technology and security support because I simply do not want to deal with this and don’t need to. I give used computers that are repairable or good for parts to the local school district for their IT tech program and to give to students that can’t afford a computer or the local foster care agency. Hopefully they can use these to get an education and not become their crazy lunatic parents on drugs that I have had to deal with!
Stuff that is too old or junk just gets piled up until I have a truckload and it goes to the scrap yard. That was my plan for the Geo Metro if it brought me drama but it luckily didn’t.