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is damagedcars.com a scam?
November 9, 2008 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Am I about to be fleeced? I'm looking to sell my car through damagedcars.com and i want to make sure they're a real and reputable company before i go faxing my title and ID to them.

I'm selling a 2001 jetta that's been in a couple wrecks (causing only body damage) and had it's compressor go out (turning on the A/C is like a kill switch for the car) - it's sat stationary for a while so now it doesn't start.

damagedcars.com (who i found out through a whois search is also college auto sales of miami) has offered me $800 for it. i can't seem to scare up any reviews or stories of people who have actually sold them their car.

i'm mainly concerned with the deal going through and happening in a timely manner. i'm in denton, tx if it matters (or if you have any better solutions to selling the car)
posted by nadawi to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know anything about these guys but another option could be donating the car to a charity. My neighbour did it and got a tax receipt for the value of the car.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:54 AM on November 9, 2008


donating sounds great, but the car doesn't run so most places won't take it as a donation and i also sort of need the cash. i'm all about helping the kids, but i want to make sure i have a roof over my head first.
posted by nadawi at 9:56 AM on November 9, 2008


I can't imagine that there wouldn't be a better option for selling the car rather than dealing with a shady internet company...

Have you tried advertising it locally in either the newspaper or on Craig's List? A 2001 Jetta, even with the problems you describe should be worth several thousand dollars - lots of shade tree mechanics and independent shops would probably love to get the car, fix it up, and sell it for a good profit.

When it doubt checkout some of the various VW discussion forums - they usually have advertising sections and are loaded with mechanically inclined enthusiasts looking for cars like yours.

Hell, if I had the space, time, and inclination, I might give you $800 for it...
posted by wfrgms at 10:32 AM on November 9, 2008


Depending on how long "awhile" is, the reason it doesn't start might simply be that the battery is dead. Give it a jump and, if it starts, drive it around for half an hour or so to get it charged. Next day, try to start it again. If it doesn't, replace the battery ($50-$75; jump it, take it to an auto parts store, swap batteries there; they will probably help you, even). Now you have a running car with body damage and a shot AC compressor. It's worth a lot more than a non-running one. Sell it on Craigslist for $1k-$3k.
posted by autojack at 10:45 AM on November 9, 2008


SPCA took my car which didn't run. They towed it away. I got a good tax break.

Sell locally. You should easily be able to sell it on Craigslist or ebay (local).

I would just have a red flag up about anyone wanting to buy a car from so far away.
posted by Vaike at 11:07 AM on November 9, 2008


Seconding the sell it locally or via craigslist option. $800 is a mega-steal for an '01 Jetta, even with the compressor and dings. Hell, you could part the thing out and make at least a couple grand, without breaking a sweat. Probably more.

I have to imagine there's a sizable VW street scene around DFW. Those kids would swarm all over the car. You haven't mentioned which engine is in it. A 1.8t, TDi or VR6 would sell quickly.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:37 AM on November 9, 2008


Is it legit? Well, it has very low traffic and very limited inbound links (per Alexa & Archive.org) and may even have been offline between 2006 and sometime this year, but also seems to have had the same address and phone since 1999 and claims that they're affiliated/listed with the local BBB and Chamber of Commerce. You may want to look into that angle; it will at least tell you if anyone has filed a complaint.

I agree there are probably better local businesses you can find that can equal or improve on the offer. In my quasi-rural city there's a place within 40 miles that will come pick it up and give you a check. My brother sold them a DOA 15-year-old Blazer for $500.
posted by dhartung at 2:50 PM on November 9, 2008


Nthing craigslist - there's more than enough entrepreneurs and people who see an opportunity / good price when they see one. If a mechanic friend can fix it on credit until you sell it (or maybe THEY would know someone who could part it out / sell it). Get the word out - you never know what you'll find.

Nothing against the internet company I've never heard of - those are a dime a dozen. If you have any fears of identity theft though, you'll be faxing everything some unknown person needs to convince a court that the car is theirs and send a repo man to reclaim it at some ungodly hour. Sell it on craigslist, go down to the DMV, and register a change of owners - pretty quick and painless IMHO.
posted by chrisinseoul at 4:02 AM on November 10, 2008


Hello all, My name is Scott Westmoreland. As the General Manager of DamagedCars.com, I would recommend you check us out through the Better Business Bureau. The DamagedCars.com website is relatively new but the parent company has been in business since 1985. Our ability to purchase on a national level should speak for our credibility as well as the extent of our partner network. Checking out local options or having an unknown party from craigslist come to your door is an alternative but I would like to personally assure the folks who have questions that we are an established and reliable option. If you have further questions I can be reached at 877-877-7911.

Thanks

Scott
posted by HSW at 9:01 AM on November 25, 2008


i got the year of the car wrong and damagedcars wasn't interested once i corrected that, but they were very nice to me the entire time. i ended up selling the car on craigslist.

thanks for answering in here, scott.
posted by nadawi at 3:52 PM on December 20, 2008


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