As the forum is a bit quiet I thought I'd share my latest experience with a PITA customer and ask for your advice. You might fall asleep reading as it's a long post so apologies in advance.
This guy emails for a Porsche 911 we have for sale asking about the service history and what kind of warranty we offer. We emailed him the service history and told him it's an in-house warranty and the car must be returned to us in case of a claim. He then offered £2k less to cover "any eventuality" as he is too far from us to take advantage of our warranty. We said no, go find a car from a local dealer. He then changes his mind saying he wants to proceed if we agree to put the car through a PPI with the main dealer. We said yes no problem, we know the car is sound so he books the car in for inspection. We dropped the car and later that day the OPC emailed us the report which had only minor recommendations. We called the OPC to discuss the report and to let them know we're coming to collect the car. They said they're still waiting for payment from the customer before they can release the car (at this point I'm thinking: lesson learned, going forward we'll only take a car for inspection if the PPI is paid upfront and either get a courtesy car or charge the client upfront transport fees). Anyway the guy pays, we collect the car and got an email from him saying that he's happy with the report but he wants some items sorted before he buys it. We said ok and ordered the parts (only a few hundred quid so no biggie on a car over £40k). He comes back with a date for coming down and collect the car so we naturally ask for a deposit and his driving licence details. He then asks for a copy of our warranty booklet and says he will arrange his own insurance so no need to send us his driving licence. By this point I'm thinking this guy is a pain but hey-ho we send him a copy of the warranty booklet. Still no deposit. Then he questioned some of the terms and conditions to which we said go ask Lawgistics, they're the legal experts who wrote the booklet. Then he came back saying that surely if something goes wrong with the car we can agree he can diagnose and fix it at a local specialist with us paying the bill as we would take the car to our local specialist anyway. I said no, not necessarily, we might fix it ourselves and the bottom line is that we offer an in-house warranty and he must bring the vehicle back to us at his expense as I mentioned in the beginning. We also insisted that if he wants to proceed and come down for a viewing he needs to pay a deposit which is refundable if for some reason the car is not as described ( by then we've already sent him all the additional close up photos and videos that he's asked for). He then got irritated saying that he doesn't understand why he has to pay a deposit as the fact that he paid for the PPI and bought a train ticket shows enough commitment from him as a buyer. Also he said that a 15-20 minutes test drive is not long enough for him to test the car so he pulled out of the sale.
In a way I'm happy we didn't sell him the car as I could tell he's trouble from the beginning but I'm a bit pissed off with myself for spending so much time on what I initially thought was a genuine buyer... or maybe he was but I scared him off? Who knows what would have followed next... perhaps he could have thrown a tantrum for not being able to pay for the car with a credit card??
None of the big boys would entertain someone like him (or would they?), but I thought being a small business and having just started, we need to go the extra mile. Some people are taking the piss though as I previously mentioned in a post about test driving ( by the way we sold that M3 just before Christmas to a guy who didn't hesitate to transfer 10% deposit, sent us his driving licence details, went on a 10 minutes test drive and paid the full price).
Please advise on what we could have done better in this situation and how do you guys approach the sale of a higher value car in terms of deposit, viewings, PPI etc.