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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I'm close to buying a 2006 E60 M5 on Ebay. I'm trying my hardest to do my due diligence so I don't get screwed.

I live in Houston and the car is in Orlando. The car is listed as being a single owner, but when I talked to the seller he said he's actually the 2nd owner. He said he listed it as 1st owner because he hasn't registered it yet locally. He bought it recently and has only put a few hundred miles on it but now has to sell it. (It's a story that's got me raising my eyebrows a bit.) I've looked up the VIN on CarFax and it kinda confirms what he is telling me. The car was purchased 01/10/06 and sold in an auction on 01/29/08 with 10715 miles. The car currently has 10983 miles.

The seller has given me his name and address. Doing some Columbo work I was able to confirm that he does live at the address he stated (tax records) and in a million dollar house (makes me feel a little better). He's agreed to take it to the place of my choice for PPI. I've chosen Eurotech Cars based on a recommendation by a fellow board member.

I plan to fly to Orlando and pay for the car and get the title. He says it has a clear title. But a title is just a piece of paper so I'm worried about walking away with a useless piece of paper and having some bank chase me down later. Is there a way for me to verify that he really has the title for this car? Is there some Auction House record or something that automatically goes into a database somewhere when he buys it, even if he doesn't register the car?

Sorry if this sounds paranoid but I've never bought used before and add on top that this is through Ebay and I'm pretty nervous.
Thanks for reading and for any advice you can give.
 

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I'd be more concerned with the vehicle condition than the seller/title. I mean titles are pretty defined documents, with state seals, water markings, and a slew of other "security" features.

The real question is why is he selling it... why did he put 200 miles on it, and why was it auctioned?

Did he buy it, realize it had been wrecked and fixed, then decided he didn't want it? The vehicle condition will tell you a lot. Inspect that car like no tomorrow. Get under it, check the engine and body panels. Look for any sign of paint variance. Always check the door sills or anywhere that the body has a sharp edge or curve (on the inner linings) it's very difficult for an auto body shop to reproduce the paint line of a manufacturer. Some are excellent, some are blatently obvious, but you can almost always tell. Use a flashlight and shine it on the paint that will reveal blemishes better than sunlight will. Any fluorescent light will also show paint variances pretty easy. (Like lights in a parking garage for example)

Then again, you could be dealing with a genuine individual (which is probably the case)... I'm a perfect example... I did something similar, bought a brand new 335i, loved the car, put some miles on it, never wrecked it, then the wife finally gave me the blessing to buy an M5 under the condition that I sold the 335i. So of course.. naturally I wasn't pleased with the hit I was going to take financially by selling a brand new car so soon, but I've been waiting 7 years for her to crack and allow me to finally pull the trigger on an M5, and if she is finally "ok" with spending the money, then I couldn't sell the 335 fast enough (and it did sell fast, 2 days...). So maybe he's like me .. just a guy who bought something only to realize he really wanted something else all along and so he's selling it.

Of course explore all avenues, use your judgment, if he seems shady or his answers seem suspicious, they probably are... go with your gut, if even the slightest thing makes you doubt ANYTHING he has said... walk away. There are over 100,000 M5's produced... I'm sure you'll find another one that gives you a better feel.

No matter what, it's your money.. and you don't want to regret your purchase. So if you're not sure for any reason, just walk away.

-F
 

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Just be very careful. I was about to buy an M5 from a guy (on ebay) who had all the papers. Everything looked the goods until I started to phone around. It turned out the guy had a criminal record and it wasn't his car. All documents were forged.

Becareful of everything and donot trust anybody, it doen't matter how wealthy or honest they appear.

I am talking from experience, fortunately this person met the cops on the second test drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I appreciate the responses.
The pre-purchase inspection is getting done tomorrow morning so I will know at that time. The shop said they will use a spectrometer (or whatever it's called) to check for paint work. They mentioned that they will check the brakes and take the wheels off to do so, emphasizing they will do a thorough test. They said it will take 2 hours, so hopefully that's enough time for a good go over.
As for the guy, he said upfront it's a financial issue. He has some business opportunity and needs to liquidate his assets. I'm not sure what to make of that. I'm not sure how else to check on him to make sure he's legit. If I knew where the car was auctioned maybe I could find out if he legitimately bought it, etc, but I don't. I only knew about the auction from CarFax.
I'll be meeting the guy in person to pick up the car (assuming it passes PPI). Anything I can do prior and at that moment to make sure all is good? I'm going to ask him to fax me his driver's license and car title, but if it's forged I'm up the creek? I'm not FBI and no idea what to do if I can't trust a title or driver's license to be real.
 

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You can also call the DMV in the state it is registered in...they have been VERY helpful to me in the past....while they wouldn't "Give" me the name of who was on the title once...they would "Confirm" it was the name of the guy selling it when I told them AND they will confirm it's has no lien and isn't stolen or salvaged......

Chris

I appreciate the responses.
The pre-purchase inspection is getting done tomorrow morning so I will know at that time. The shop said they will use a spectrometer (or whatever it's called) to check for paint work. They mentioned that they will check the brakes and take the wheels off to do so, emphasizing they will do a thorough test. They said it will take 2 hours, so hopefully that's enough time for a good go over.
As for the guy, he said upfront it's a financial issue. He has some business opportunity and needs to liquidate his assets. I'm not sure what to make of that. I'm not sure how else to check on him to make sure he's legit. If I knew where the car was auctioned maybe I could find out if he legitimately bought it, etc, but I don't. I only knew about the auction from CarFax.
I'll be meeting the guy in person to pick up the car (assuming it passes PPI). Anything I can do prior and at that moment to make sure all is good? I'm going to ask him to fax me his driver's license and car title, but if it's forged I'm up the creek? I'm not FBI and no idea what to do if I can't trust a title or driver's license to be real.
 
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One more thing that might help, I was able to get the service history from BMW of the car I own now (Prior to me buying it). This information also included the previous owner of the car. I am not to sure if BMW would hand this info out normally, due to privacy laws.
Also, enter a search for th guys name on the internet. When I was investigating my potential buy i entered the persons name in google to find out he was arrested last year trying to escape from the Cops. Apparently they found a couple of bags of the good stuff hidden in the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, I did do that. I found that he and his wife applied for a home association permit to extend his boat dock on his house last year. That's what made me feel a bit better about things, because at least I knew the home address he gave me was real.
But I want to make sure things with the car is on the up and up. If he's drowning due to overextending himself on his mortgage, I don't want to be the one paying for it.
I've already ran the VIN # through the Florida DMV and it doesn't show. He did tell me he never registered it so maybe that's why. Not sure if getting sold in at an auction in Florida would be enough for the DMV there to know about it. So I will probably call California DMV too and see.
I ran the VIN # through both Carfax.com and Autocheck.com. Autocheck shows a lien from when the car was bought by the original owner back in Jan 2006. It doesn't show if the lien is clear now though. Can you finance a car sold bought at an auction? Just trying to figure out if there is still a lien on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Unregistered car

Well, the shop called me and said the car is in very good condition. Only problem is it has 800 miles more on it than the Ebay listing said... and also is missing two key options - ventilated seats and rear sunshade. Other than that it's loaded.
My main concern however is that the seller said he bought the car from his cousin who is a dealer. He has never registered the car with Florida however.
Should I ask him to register the car first before he sells it to me? Not sure how important that part is. What can happen if he sells it to me unregistered?
 

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I've never used e-bay. All I do know is a friend bought an 06 M5 off it from the east coast and a few months later found out at the local stealer that it had been in accident (rebuilt engine, if i remember correctly) . This was followed by month in the shop with SMG pump problems, though i think that was stealer incompetence why it took so long.

I found this out second hand as he's always been too embarrassed to tell me. Oh well, his car runs and looks great now so he's okay.;)

I'm just an old before my years codger though so my views on e-bay etc are particularly unfavorable. If buying second hand I would recommend buying from a stealer. They're a re a few on the lots in cali, guess from people who leased
 
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If he doesn't have good title to the vehicle, he can't pass good title to you (yes I'm an attorney). I bought my O6 off ebay in April 07 from a Houston based dealer (they only sell over ebay). I followed all the advice listed above, (Carfax, having my dealer run the VIN to discover any problem history-the car only had 2400 miles) before flying to Houston to pick up the car. The only problem I encountered was the 3 months it took the dealer to get me the title to the vehicle (they were apparently delayed in getting the title and registration docs from the original owner since the dealer I purchased from didn't pay for and acquire clear title when they got the car--a common occurrence with a dealership). But this is a much bigger concern with an individual seller. At least I knew where to go if they couldn't provide the title and had recourse through the state of Texas, district attorney, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I got some further clarification of the situation. The 'cousin' is actually a long time friend of the family. This guy owns a dealership called All State Motors in Winterpark, FL. He bought the car from BMW Financial Services and has the Certificate of Title (he faxed it to me). The information on there matches what I saw on Carfax. Apparently they are good friends and buy a lot of cars from him so he lets them use the car and then if they decide to keep it they will register/title it, or if not they return it back to him.
He said I would actually be buying it from him since he holds the title. He said he's bonded, etc, and said that it would be better for me.
The state of California DMV verified that the car is still registered in their state. I guess a dealer can hold on to title and not register it until sold, unlike an individual.
 

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I purchased my last car off of ebay, but it was in houston and I'm from Dallas. My advice would be to take some time to fly out there and check it out. Always look around locally if you can find something similar. It is ALWAYS best to be able to see the used car BEFORE you buy it. Any minor details might get noticed that you can never see in the pictures.

What if there was a small ding that just was in a place that bugged the hell out of you. Little things like that are things you can catch in person. What if for some reason the car drives a little wierd. It would be worth the 250-300 dollar ticket to check out the car yourself. If the car happens to have something wrong with it that you caught you may have wasted a couple hundred bux, but it saved you thousands.
 

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I thought Ebay Motors offered an escrow arrangement where the purchase price goe into escrow, you take the car and have it inspected and if all is well, the money gets released from escrow to the seller. Maybe this does not exist anymore -- or maybe to much glue has destroyed my brain. In any event, I would check that out.
 

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I got some further clarification of the situation. The 'cousin' is actually a long time friend of the family. This guy owns a dealership called All State Motors in Winterpark, FL. He bought the car from BMW Financial Services and has the Certificate of Title (he faxed it to me). The information on there matches what I saw on Carfax. Apparently they are good friends and buy a lot of cars from him so he lets them use the car and then if they decide to keep it they will register/title it, or if not they return it back to him.
He said I would actually be buying it from him since he holds the title. He said he's bonded, etc, and said that it would be better for me.
The state of California DMV verified that the car is still registered in their state. I guess a dealer can hold on to title and not register it until sold, unlike an individual.
Yep on the dealer, they can hold typically with a title from the previous state (assuming not titled in the same state). Key will be that the previous owner (BMW Financial Services) transfered title correctly to the dealer. You should be able to tell by looking at the faxed title. Buying from the title owner (you need to make sure the title and the dealer are the same organization) makes it a slam dunk.

I bought my 2006 on EBay. Did CarFax, DMV, dealer record check, etc. He is an exotic dealer in Miami (the M5 was the cheapest <10 year old car at the dealer other than a Z06) and it all worked out. Sounds like you are doing all the right things.
 
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks, Groov. After all the horror stories you hear about, you have to be a little paranoid when doing online transactions this big. But now that I know I'm buying from a bonded car dealership, I feel a lot better about things. The name of the dealership (All Star Motors, Inc) is indeed the on the title. The mileage and dates also match what I found on Carfax. So it seems like it's on the up on up.

One last question, the dealer has offered to get the car shipped to me. He goes to auctions weekly and he said he will talk to the people there about shipping it via the inter-auction routes or something. Basically, I will go to the local Houston Auction site and pick it up from there. I told him I wanted to ensure it was an enclosed container, etc. Wasn't sure if anyone has any opinions or experience with this?

I called both DAS and Intercity and they estimate 3-4 weeks before delivery. I'd rather fly there and drive it back if it's that long.
 

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I have to say that the last several posts make me a little uneasy. If the seller was just "trying out" the car and could return it to his "cousin" (who, it turns out is not his cousin but a "very close friend") if he didn't like it, why is he selling the car on Ebay and not just returning it to the dealership? Why isn't the dealership selling it on ebay. Wasn't his previous story that he needed to liquidate his assets so that he could make an investment? If he hasn't bought it, it isn't his asset and there is no value. If he did indeed buy it while he was "trying it out", why not just return it as they claim is their arrangement? Wouldn't that be the fastest, easiest way to liquidate the asset with no loss.

I am adding 2 plus 2 here and somehow getting something that might be less than 4. I know you have been looking for a while and have had at least one other car fall through, but make sure this decision is coming from you head and not your heart (or roght foot in this case).
 
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Just be very careful. I was about to buy an M5 from a guy (on ebay) who had all the papers. Everything looked the goods until I started to phone around. It turned out the guy had a criminal record and it wasn't his car. All documents were forged.

Becareful of everything and donot trust anybody, it doen't matter how wealthy or honest they appear.

I am talking from experience, fortunately this person met the cops on the second test drive.
that is CRAZY :applause:
 

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Find a deal in your area. If the deal is too good to be true (or pass up) it probably is too good to be true, if not then you'll find a deal in your area. There is a ton of this type of fraud on e-bay... Others here seem to have had legit deals, though. Too risky for me...
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I have to say that the last several posts make me a little uneasy. If the seller was just "trying out" the car and could return it to his "cousin" (who, it turns out is not his cousin but a "very close friend") if he didn't like it, why is he selling the car on Ebay and not just returning it to the dealership? Why isn't the dealership selling it on ebay. Wasn't his previous story that he needed to liquidate his assets so that he could make an investment? If he hasn't bought it, it isn't his asset and there is no value. If he did indeed buy it while he was "trying it out", why not just return it as they claim is their arrangement? Wouldn't that be the fastest, easiest way to liquidate the asset with no loss.

I am adding 2 plus 2 here and somehow getting something that might be less than 4. I know you have been looking for a while and have had at least one other car fall through, but make sure this decision is coming from you head and not your heart (or roght foot in this case).
Yeah, you're right. It would seem giving it back to his cousin/friend would have been the easiest way. His explanation was that he bought the car out right with cash. So in his mind it is his and he would handle reselling it. The reason why they didn't register/change the title was because he wasn't sure if he was going to keep the car. And wanted to keep it this way to keep the 1-owner status of the car so it it would look better on resale. Which doesn't quite make since if I know it's a 2-owner car now.

So as weird as the answers are, since the title is under the name of an actual dealership and the car passed PPI, does it matter? Am I trying too hard to make it 'No' when it should be 'Yes' or at least 'Maybe'?
 

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Never, I repeat NEVER buy a car sight unseen and have it shipped to you.....you HAVE to go pick it up in person....and it is SO much fun to drive home....I have bought ALL my last 6 cars online and out of state...why don't you pm you phone number and I will call you tomorrow...I can give you a couple of addl tips.....

Chris
 
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