Sold Pending Inspection - Torrens 415

By: Glenn Torrens

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Nothing is sold until the money changes hands and the bits are in your boot, reckons Glenn Torrens

SOLD PENDING INSPECTION! Those words seem to be popping up a lot lately with people selling cars and stuff on Facebook pages. But there’s something of a problem: usually it’s not the seller that’s writing ‘sold’ and sometimes that makes it difficult to determine if something is still available.

When I was growing up in the 1980s, The Trading Post was the place to buy and sell just about anything. Before the internet, this weekly classifieds newspaper came out each Wednesday (or was it Thursday?) and was filled with mostly private ads for anything from the then-new high-tech microwave ovens to BMX bikes to furniture and cars to – of course, as immortalised in the classic Aussie movie The Castle – jousting sticks!

Back then, I was a paperboy so I spent hours with my arse planted in my paper trolley, flicking through The Trading Post and dreaming about when I would be old enough to get my P-plates and buy a car: "TORANA LC sedan. Great condition. One owner. Green. 173ci six-cylinder manual. Radio/cassette. Long rego. $750" with a suburb and a phone number. To make searching for a car – or whatever – easier, items were listed by price: For cars I think it was ‘Under $500’, ‘$500-$1500’, ‘$1500-$3000’, etc and in alphabetical order. And in comparison to today’s on-line sales sites or Facebook there were no moronic comments under a Trading Post ad!

If you wanted to buy something, you’d find a phone booth and call – no mobile phones back then - and if you were lucky, whatever it was you were chasing wouldn’t have yet been sold. So you’d organise an inspection time that afternoon or evening, grab an address, consult your street directory and go for a look.

If you liked what you saw, you bought it right there – that’s how I bought my 27-inch bike. Or, if the seller agreed, you’d leave a deposit so you could come back on the weekend with the remainder of the cash (before auto-teller machines, you had to actually go to a bank during business hours to get cash) and collect your new toy. That’s how I bought one or two cars.

Of course if you left a deposit (as now) there was an element of trust: the seller wouldn’t let the bargain go to someone else, or steal your deposit… but knowing where the seller lived usually reduced that risk, if you know what I mean!

So for many of us these days, sold pending inspection doesn’t really work… either when buying or selling. I’ve found parts – even a car – for sale just minutes away from home yet the seller has informed me: "I’m holding it so the first responder can have a look on the weekend. I’ll let you know…" The weekend has arrived, and the potential buyer has been a smart-arse, offering far less than what the seller is asking, so no sale. Then the seller has to let all the interested potential buyers know and/or re-list whatever it is he’s selling and cope with a barrage of "hey wasn’t this for sale last week?" comments.

Meanwhile, I’ve bought the bits I’ve needed somewhere else…


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