"There's no fool like an old fool" as the saying goes. I "accidently" bought a van on eBay. It had been described as "runs and drives good" and "clear title in hand". From the looks, it appears very straight. I had been watching it, mostly to see what it would sell for and get an idea of the market value. I entered a $10 bid above the current bid, assuming that the current bidder had a little in reserve and that there would be others. I don't need any Monday morning quarterbacking on the stupidity of that move, thereís plenty other things to chew on here. A client had just called with an emergency so I wasn't properly focused. Should have done my vehicle check before bidding at all.
If I had, I would have found out that... It went through a coastal hurricane in 2003, it was not registered in 2004 and failed its smog test in 2005. And I wonder if because it was unregistered in 2005 that it went through hurricane Rita without that being noted. I wrote the owner expressing my concerns and he answered incompletely, noting that" We have had it here for awhile just running it around occasionally and it does run and drive good". He also noted that it had been repossessed.(Though I didnít see a Christmas tree air freshener in any of the pics.)
So really, I now have a van that has not passed its smog test and has been out of registration for 3 years. This has not exactly given me confidence in it.
For the past three years I have been living pretty much "car-free". Itís been working pretty well. The only places where that life-style has chaffed was that there were a few times where I wanted to go to professional meetings downtown and where rain interfered or the time needed to get there seemed inconvenient. And perhaps it would be nice to use to take my chopper-bicycle downtown so I could ride it in a parade. I'm just barely getting back into dating, so that hasn't been a problem.
I actually have a station wagon already parked in the parking lot. I hadn't driven it in three years to recover my finances from the divorce. I just hadn't thought it was a good use of money yet.
So I guess the question comes down to a trio of choices.
A Refuse it.
I don't think it was quite up to its description really. From "runs and drives good" and "clear title in hand" I would expect it to pass a smog test and be registered. I've already paid a 50% deposit, and suspect that I might not get that back. Iím not sure if I have enough of a complaint to refuse to complete the deal. In any case it wouldn't be worth my time to try to take him to court in Houston.
B. Keep it.
If I keep it, I have to assume that I will be looking at some significant engine work in the next little while. Fortunately, the Van is in Texas now and I live in Arkansas. Arkansas does not have a smog testing program, and I'm hoping that because I am bringing it into the state, I will not have to deal with settling up old unpaid registration fees. Also, I prefer my dates on the large side and from that respect, a station wagon is much better than a van. Beyond that it seemed like a pretty good bike hauler.
C Dump it.
Doing this, then I want to recover as much of what I have paid as possible. Part of me thinks that the easiest thing to do is just to give it to a charity in Houston. That would be the cheapest. I lose the thousand I paid for the van. But it's easy. Just an expensive lesson. Or I could see if the local sustainability network wants it, and drive it back, but that would cost me more. But any appreciation would be more palpable.
Or I could sell it. Either have the original seller sell it on consignment for me or bring it home to Arkansas and sell it myself. I'm not expecting to get as much back as I paid for it, because I'd have to be a little more honest about the condition. However, in Arkansas, the smog question might not a problem, and I could photograph it better.
That's about the point that I've gotten things too. What are your thoughts?