I remember my first time. It was so easy. So thrilling. And I walked away with a couple thousand bucks in my pocket.
It happened after the summer flooding in Alberta and southeastern B.C. Basements filled, streets were running with water, and cars were left to float and sink.
One day, I walked past a private home and saw, what I thought, was a relatively normal car for sale cheap.
Apart from a couple of scratches and damp seats, it seemed road worthy. I asked about the car. It was found full of flood water. It wasn’t insured at the time of the flood. And the owner wanted nothing to do with it.
I bought the car for a few hundred bucks. Originally, I had no intent to do what I did. I planned to sell the car for parts. But it must have dried out as it sat. The engine still ran.
Suddenly, I had an idea. Since the car looked fine, no one had to know its history. I was a genius.
*What is a Curber? – An individual posing as a private seller, but selling vehicles for profit as a business. A curber often misrepresents the history and condition of a vehicle. Curbers offer none of the protections the law provides for purchases from a Vehicle Sales Authority licensed dealer.
(Check it out online: WatchOutForWalt.com)
After a night in the garage with a heater and a little scrubbing, I posted an ad on Craigslist:
“Car for sale. Bought new car – no room in garage. Need to sell ASAP!!! Scratches, but in great condition. Call cell and we’ll talk price.”
Minutes later I got a call from a sixteen-year old kid – a little younger than my son. I told him to meet me at the local mall at 6:00 p.m.
I arrived at 6:20, telling him I was in a hurry to pick up my son from soccer practice. Turns out he played, too. After some soccer gossip, we got down to business.
I knew a kid his age just wanted a ride to show off to his friends, so we spent very little time on the details. I just told him the car was in perfect condition and was never in any accidents.
“No problems as far as I know,” I said.
The kid was sold. He trusted me. I never gave him my full name, and he never gave me his. He gave me the cash, I gave him the car. I had never registered it in my name. Smart. All was good.
Later, I learned about flood vehicles. Flooding can damage the computer system, which control things like the brakes, and rots the vehicle from inside out. And flood vehicles don’t qualify for on-road licensing or use in B.C. or anywhere in Canada. Who knew?
My mind went to the kid I sold the vehicle to. I felt a twinge of guilt. I hoped it wouldn’t fail while he was driving. Then my eyes darted to my stash of cash…
Check it out online: WatchOutForWalt.com