Thursday, February 12, 2009

How To NOT Avoid The Repo Man

At 4:00am Sunday morning, a guy in a 3/4 ton pickup truck with dark tinted glass idles his ride down the street. He stops at the end of the block and turns around. The truck pulls in front of a silver Taurus and you see a pair of beat-up arms snake under the front tires. Suddenly the Taurus lifts off the ground, a guy jumps out, straps it down, tosses a pair of red utility lights on the trunk, jumps back in, and stands on the gas, as another guy in a bathrobe starts yelling from an upstairs window.

As sneaky as that was, that was not grand theft auto. You just witnessed a repossession. Only some states license people in the business, but you'll find them anywhere. Sometimes they don't even use a tow truck, they cut their own keys with codes provided by the lender, and use little programmer's boxes to get around electronic key chips. Cars can be taken from ANYWHERE. From the street in front of your house. From your mama's house. From the bar or club you frequent. Even from work or school. Make your payments, or you don't drive!

So other than the small amount of repo agent experience I have, what does it have to do with Cheap Ass Cars?

That would be this:

2000 Dodge Durango. KBB Book Value $4550. We paid $1820 for it. You do the math.

When a car gets repossessed, the finance company or bank that had the loan on it doesn't want the vehicle. They want the MONEY. So they have to liquidate it somehow. Most end up going to dealer-only auctions, as this one did. The dealer who bought it listed it on eBay, and we bought it from him. Some end up for sale in classified ads, or sitting on the lot of the bank who loaned the money. Sometimes they sell them directly on eBay or other auction sites.

A few other examples of repos sold by some eBay sellers:

2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, front bumper damage but air bags good, runs and drives, $3650
2000 Ford Mustang GT, no damage, runs and drives, $2711
1996 Chrysler Sebring convertible, no damage, runs and drives, only had 55K on it, $1525

There are thousands more selling every week. Go look for them. Don't fall for scam artists like Repo Joe or other fake "repo auctions" as propagated by car dealerships trying to get rid of excess inventory. Some of those cars may be repos but you'll pay close to if not MORE than retail. Repo auctions are NEVER held at car lots. Maybe bankruptcy liquidation these days, but never repos.

Speaking of car lots going out of business, how many lots near you have closed? I'm looking at Forrest Chevy and Buick-Pontiac-GMC up in Cleburne, TX, they are having a liquidation and are down to maybe 60 cars on both lots. It's hard to sell these days, when people have no money, when cars cost so much money, but if you could buy a $38000 Tahoe for $24000, and it's still brand new and under warranty, would you?

I wouldn't, but I'm cheap. See $1820 Durango above. That truck would have been $5995 on a dealer lot, and financed with interest for thousands more. Even after replacing the engine we're a thousand under book. And I'm keeping the bad engine, rebuilding it, and I'll find a nice 70's Chrysler wagon to drop it in. That's just a fun personal project for me, though. I have my work cut out for me, couple of melted pistons, warped heads, etc...