Private Party Sale/Buyer Beware?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by ravelation, Jul 25, 2003.

  1. ravelation

    ravelation Guest

    I'd like to hear some feedback on the situation I'm faced with. We just
    bought a '99 Honda Civic EX Coupe, black, 62,000 miles, for $7,500.
    Obvious needs at the time were a new windshield and a good cleaning,
    floor mats and a remote (original keys were said to be lost by the
    daughter who drove the car). The car has typical kid use damage.
    Included were 17" wheels and new tires up front, newer in back. JVC cd
    player, I want to say 200 watts (yikes!) with an amp in the trunk, Sony
    speakers in the back.

    Sounds like a great deal, huh? It might be, and I'm just being hyper
    sensitive. That's where you come in. The plot thickens.

    Once the car is home, we realize it's been in an accident. It looks like
    airbags could've deployed as the cover for the dash bag looks newer than
    the dash.
    The front end driver's side was repaired.
    New light, bumper and grill, and left front fender. They used '98 parts
    and I've now been informed that '99 year is slightly different in size.
    That explains why the bumper and fender are off by about an inch on the
    driver's side... also explains gaps around the '99 light that was used
    to replace the damaged one (have had to buy new light for passenger side
    as it's a '98 and doesn't match the '99's style on the driver's side.)
    Now, to look at the car from the front, you'd say, "nice car." It's good
    from afar, but far from good. Well, sorta. The fit and finish are less
    than perfect.

    The back lights are of the '96-98 model year. Causes me much angst until
    I realize the original's had been replaced and they weren't '99 model
    year. This is not a huge biggie, as my son has already ordered new back
    lights. But still. I had to run around finding the right size bolts (one
    had only one bolt holding it in place!) as Honda was out of them.
    Metric.... :(

    Had it to the mechanic. Hank says car is in good shape mechanically.
    Needed new front brakes, tranny flush, radiator flush (almost all water
    in rad.), tune up, lights replaced in taillights, battery holder. No
    frame damage visible. Trunk rides up on driver side and back bumper
    looks to have been pushed forward a bit. Not super noticeable, but I'm
    picky. :)

    California law states any damage over $750. be reported. This car came
    back unreported which tells me daughter got in a fender bender and they
    bought aftermarket parts of the wrong year to replace some of them and
    repaired the damage without a report to the state. (I'm guessing the
    bumper and grill are the two '98 parts.)

    Do I contemplate some action, done very easily as there's lawyers in
    immediate family, or do I suck up the experience and realize my son's
    got a really nice looking and now mechanically sound car for a decent
    price? ($7500, + $600 in maintenance/repair, $160. taillight, $50.
    mats. = $8300.)

    Oh, they didn't give us the smog certificate that's required by law,
    Novices that we are, failed to ask for it too. (-$68.)

    Buyer beware? Or grounds for reimbursement to right the car with '99
    parts, a bumper and grill? I'm looking for an ethical perspective before
    talking to legal.

    Thanks to all who respond.
    ravelation, Jul 25, 2003
  2. ravelation

    SoCalMike Guest

    dealer, or private party?
    might wanna pull up the cover, and see if theres an airbag under there. id
    be surprised if there was.
    they had a reason to sell it for $7500, especially if its missing a $1000
    airbag module, or 2.
    SoCalMike, Jul 25, 2003
  3. ravelation

    ravelation Guest

    Like the topic says, Private party. :^)
    My mechanic felt that if they weren't in there, the dash light, which
    comes on when the car starts and then goes out when appropriate, would
    reflect a lack of bag.
    Oh, if they're missing, there's no doubt I'm going to go after them,
    because that *is* the law. I'll take it to Honda and get their opinion
    as well. Like you, I'm skeptical...
    ravelation, Jul 25, 2003
  4. ravelation

    DrPimpDadi Guest

    California law states any damage over $750. be reported.

    You are required to report the accident to DMV if the accident caused $500 or
    more in damage. So, even if your car suffered zero damage, you must still
    report it if the other party suffers $500 in damages.

    As far as I know, DMV does not keep record of damages to each car and how much.
    They do keep track of your accidents and who was at fault for insurance and
    other purposes.

    This car came
    Could've been one of those "lets keep this between us" accidents, where they
    don't report it to keep insurance costs down.
    You have a case, if you asked "was it in an accident?" and they flat out lied.
    If you didn't ask, then it's your fault.
    Well, in CA, everytime you transfer title, the new owner is REQUIRED to get it
    smogged again. Doesn't matter if the previous owner had it smogged only few
    months ago.

    You do not need a smog "certificate" to register the car, since its done
    electronically and DMV has a record whenever its smogged.
    Obviously, it looked OK before you handed them your money, so why are you
    making a big stink about it now. $7500 is a pretty good price for the car with
    such low mileage. Now, if the frame is bent or a catastrophe happens due to the
    less than professional body work, then you have a case.

    Just to be safe, check If there are any red flags on there, I'd
    ask for my money back.

    I smell....

    ..... therefore, you stink.
    DrPimpDadi, Jul 25, 2003
  5. ravelation

    ravelation Guest

    I think it went up in '03 to $750.
    The reason for this car purchase and its hastiness was my 16 year old
    son was involved in an accident and the other party wanted to do just
    that, keep the cops out of it. We're very glad we waited (1-12 hours!)
    for them to arrive and file the report. The other guy was written
    up/cited for failure to yield. He's certain it's my son's fault so it's
    good to have the cop's take on the accident. It was a classic "some of
    the lanes stopped and waved the guy through" only to have my son in an
    open lane and they collided as the guy turned in front of him.
    There would be no stink if the right year parts were used for the
    repair. I'd suck up and "buyer beware."
    We felt like it was a good price too. I'm just bummed about the improper
    fix job.
    We used the service that's tied to Auto Trader, with Experian. No red
    flags at all.
    "This car checks out!!" it tells us.
    ravelation, Jul 25, 2003
  6. ravelation

    starboy869 Guest

    no one forced you to buy the car

    starboy869, Jul 26, 2003
  7. <leaped before looked>

    Sounds like a case of buyers remorse.
    If you were so concerned, you should have
    had it brought to your mechanic first.


    "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
    Gene S. Berkowitz, Jul 26, 2003
  8. ravelation

    Tracy Guest

    Huh? The chance of the airbag deployment totalling the car depends on
    the value of the car, not whether it was purchased new or used. If I
    bought an '01 Mercedes and wrecked it tomorrow, you can be sure it
    would be less likely to be totalled than an '01 Neon or Kia you may
    have bought new.
    Tracy, Jul 28, 2003
  9. ravelation

    a Guest

    the only worry i would have about it would be how the idiot got a 98 bumper
    on a 99 and thought it was the right one.

    the grill opening is wider in 99 and the distance between the wheelwell and
    light are different.

    taillights aren't a big deal, except for the bulbs. I have 99 taillights on
    my 96.
    a, Jul 29, 2003
  10. ravelation

    SoCalMike Guest

    sounds to me they took what they could find, slapped it on, and sold it.
    SoCalMike, Jul 29, 2003
  11. ravelation

    ravelation Guest

    Yup. I haven't had a chance to take it to a dealer for confirmation of
    which parts are wrong, but my conclusion from looking at the car tells
    me you're correct.

    As I said in my earlier post, "It's good from afar, but far from good."
    In looking at the glass half full, my son loves the car, he doesn't have
    to worry about "being careful" of every scratch and ding, and only a
    trained eye would catch the crappy repair job from the wreck. The engine
    is in good shape and it'll be a fun project car for my son and me. In
    the '70's, my dad and I would buy '60's models Mustangs, Camaros and
    Firebirds and clean them up and sell them for a profit. To this day, I
    still love cars and (almost) everything about them. I say "almost"
    because I was out trying to change the headlamp assembly (to no avail)
    with my manicured nails only to have black gunk on my fingers 5 days
    later! *That* I can live without!

    Now, the back lights were a different story. I was able to accomplish
    chipped nail overlooked... :)
    ravelation, Jul 29, 2003
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