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View Full Version : Selling a car - what to do if someone puts a deposit and backs out?


hoorah
11-01-2010, 12:16 PM
So I have a car I got to fix up and flip, a cheapie 1996 infiniti G20. Put it on craigslist for $1500 and the calls came flooding in. The first people that saw it offered 1250 and I accepted (the wife has wanted this thing out of the driveway for awhile now). They gave me a 250 deposit to hold the car until monday morning.

Monday morning comes and they're no shows (after making me late for work). I call them and they say they'll be by in the afternoon. I'm suspecting by the tone of their voice they don't have the rest of the money.

I've turned down a TON of people calling about the car. If they don't come by tuesday, I'm ready to call it quits with them and move on. My question - what is legal to do with the deposit, and what is ethical?

I don't really think $250 is fair for keeping the car off the market for 1 weekend. I'd probably offer to give them back $150 and keep $100. No paperwork was signed, no contracts written. They agreed to come purchase the rest of the car on a set day for a set price verbally, thats it.

The people I agreed to sell it to are caribbean islanders - they do business differently than you'd expect. Everything with them is based on trust ( 'legal' means nothing to them) so its unlikely they'd ever sue me in small claims court. Of course, I don't mean to be a d**k and take money that doesn't belong to me, but knowing these type of people they'd expect it all back and would be the most loud and obnoxious people you'd ever seen if they didn't. I really hate selling/showing cars to them :(

WWYD?

CurseTheSky
11-01-2010, 12:22 PM
If you had calls flooding in before, you can relist it and have calls flooding back in again.

I'd give them their money back, but charge $50-75 for the inconvenience. Talk it over with them before any money changes hands. If they threaten to take you to court, remind them that you lost time at work due to their promise to show up.

KeithP
11-01-2010, 01:40 PM
...The people I agreed to sell it to are caribbean islanders - they do business differently than you'd expect. Everything with them is based on trust...

And if they repeatedly tell you they are going to pay you by a certain date and don't, they have violated that trust.

Personally, I would keep the deposit and sell the car to someone else. If you wanted to be nice, you could return all or part of the money if you successfully sell the car to someone else.

-KeithP

Marlin1975
11-01-2010, 02:16 PM
Relist for $1900 and give them their money back. Not worth the headache to keep it.

Also add the line I always use...


"$XXXXdollars and first with cash gets it. No holding"

FDF12389
11-01-2010, 02:29 PM
Relist for $1900 and give them their money back. Not worth the headache to keep it.

Also add the line I always use...


"$XXXXdollars and first with cash gets it. No holding"

This

kornphlake
11-01-2010, 03:56 PM
Give them their money back, obviously the potential buyer is having financial trouble, taking $250 from them isn't going to help them improve their situation. If you were selling a $10,000 vehicle I might not be so kind, but really what has it cost you to hold the car a couple days? It sounds like you'll have no problem selling the car if this deal falls through.

MiataNC
11-01-2010, 06:00 PM
Give them their money back. Why pick a fight you don't need?

The car will sell.

If you feel like you need to be compensated for time lost, hold out for more from the next buyer.

twinrider1
11-01-2010, 06:48 PM
I think you are within your rights, legally and ethically, to keep the deposit. But ultimately it's probably just not with the hassle. I'd re-list and this time make it First Person With Cash.

MustangSVT
11-02-2010, 05:23 AM
talk to them.
ask what happened and also tell them what happened on your side.

reach an agreement on what is fair.
I dont think you have to be mean , but I also don't think you should help them out.

damn I sound like a jerk. :D

NutBucket
11-02-2010, 09:04 AM
This happened to me about 5 years ago.

Long story short, after I got a deposit I never heard from the guy again (he was in AZ). I attempted to contact him multiple times and got nothing. I had my then-gf contact him over AIM so I knew he wasn't dead at least. Anyway, being that he was completely non-responsive to me I kept the money and don't feel the least bit guilty about it.

Gillbot
11-02-2010, 09:26 AM
Relist for $1900 and give them their money back. Not worth the headache to keep it.

Also add the line I always use...


"$XXXXdollars and first with cash gets it. No holding"

This

yep

alkemyst
11-02-2010, 09:46 AM
I'd keep the deposit, but I only take a deposit letting the person know it's mine if they back out.

HarryLui
11-02-2010, 09:50 AM
If you have a LOT of calls, you don't have to short sale yourself by cutting your price, and definitely do NOT take payment or deposit non-sense.

HardcoreRobot
11-02-2010, 01:50 PM
why take a deposit at all if you just give it back no matter what?

Sukhoi
11-02-2010, 02:42 PM
why take a deposit at all if you just give it back no matter what?

yeah lol what's the point of the deposit? Personally I hate unreliable people so I'd keep the deposit. They should have called you in the morning when they weren't coming.

dud
11-02-2010, 05:31 PM
Come on ... the answer is obvious. Keep the deposit! That's what a deposit is for.

Spicedaddy
11-02-2010, 09:59 PM
Relist car and sell to someone else. If you got a bunch of calls, you know you can get more than 1250$.

Keep 100$ from the deposit, and next time make sure to tell the people leaving a deposit that you're keeping all of it if they don't end up buying the car.

dirtboy
11-02-2010, 11:39 PM
You don't have a contract that states you get to keep the money. Sell the car to someone else and return their deposit.