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Calling the Car Seller
Prepare a list of questions before you phone and make sure you stick to them. If you phone three or four adverts you will soon begin to forget which car had what options. Always look for the letter ‘T’ at the end of the advert. ‘T’ means trade; it may be a franchised dealer, a small garage or a one-man band that does some trading. Either way expects to pay more money than if you dealt with a Private seller. Even if no ‘T’ appears I always open the call by saying I am phoning about the car for sale, if the response is ‘which one?’ then it’s a pretty sure sign that it is a trader.
Ask why the car is for sale and what they are replacing it with. If the new car is being delivered next day it puts you in a strong negotiating position.
Check to see if the car is taxed and has an MOT. No tax could mean it has been stood unused for a while – if its surplus to requirements the seller may take a silly offer. No MOT hints that it failed the test and needs money spent on it to pass.
Sellers often fail to mention items that would make the car undesirable, for example if the advert for the E-class Mercedes Benz says nothing about the gearbox then chances are it is a manual. No mention of service history often means there is none.
Ask how long they have owned the car and how many previous owners it has had. Lots of owners can seriously devalue the car or be a sign that it has other problems.
If you like what you see in the advert and the telephone call gives you all the right answers then its time to make an appointment to look at the car.