It’s inevitable: following Christmas dinner every year, when I’m vegetating on the sofa in a stuffing-induced stupor, I’ll end up browsing the used car classifieds. For me, it’s just as much a tradition as the bad cracker jokes and brussel sprouts. Actually, scratch that last one, sprouts are the work of the devil.
Anyway, during 2017’s Christmas Day classifieds binge, I stumbled upon an incredible advert for an early Porsche Boxster. It had the full spec list. A detailed run-through of all the less-good bits. The dates and mileages for every single service the car’s ever had. The make and model of the tyres it’s currently wearing. Even the kind of oil it had at the last service.
It made me want to call the seller immediately to arrange a test drive. It made the car stand out against all the other low-priced Boxsters out there. And it also made me mad.
Why? Because used car adverts like this are a rarity: few sellers will go far beyond listing some of the spec, the mileage and some very vague description of the condition and service history. It’s shockingly common to see car adverts that are only a handful of words long, and if you venture in the dark world of Facebook ‘For Sale’ pages, it won’t take you long to find someone flogging a car without even saying what model it is or what kind of fuel it uses.
Most bizarre is when a car has been subjected to drastic modifications, but with no detail given by the seller as to what exactly has been done. What parts have been fitted? Who did the work?
It’s perhaps the most irksome when you see dealers only providing a short description of a car, followed by a load of copy/pasted text about how great said dealership is. It is literally their job to sell cars, and yet many suck at it.
Aside from your house, your car is likely to be the most expensive thing you’ll ever sell. So why can’t people put more effort into the adverts? The standard of English doesn’t even matter that much, so long as key details are there like comprehensive service information, when it last had new tyres and what they were, a description of the condition that goes beyond a single word like ‘good’ - you get the idea.
It’s not hard, and it’s not that time consuming, and yet I know that within seconds of firing up the classifieds, I’m going to get annoyed by crap adverts again. Anyone else feel this way?