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Buying a car off Craigslist

The Subaru was the 5th car that I checked out on Craigslist. It started off the same as all the others. I texted and asked if they were a dealer. I don’t mind buying from a dealer, I just want to know up front. Then I asked if the car was still for sale and when I can I see it. I missed out on a sweet Mustang GT because I was working and couldn’t get out to see it.

Illustration for article titled Buying a car off Craigslistem/em

So I met a young college student in a parking lot and we took the Subaru on a short test drive. After that I spent about 20 minutes checking the car over and making note of everything that was wrong. He was asking $3,500, I offered $3,000, he countered with $3,100 and it was a deal. And this is where our problems began.

He said the car is not in his name. His dad’s friend is a dealer and he bought the car for him but he doesn’t like driving a manual. So he didn’t transfer the title. I’m thinking this sounds fishy but it gets a little worse. He shows me the Colorado title and it has a brand: REPO. Nope. Not interested. He insists it’s meaningless and asks me to talk to the dealer. I still tell him no, but the title has a cover page and I take a look at it.


It has the bank information, legal stuff, and at the bottom it has the loan amount. $9,000. Whoever walked away from this Subaru owed roughly 3 times what the car was worth. I was worried about the previous owner having some legal claim to this car, but not with that loan amount. Nobody’s coming back for this car. But still the title is branded.

We go to the dealer’s house and he puts me a little bit at ease. We talk for a long time and go over just what the REPO brand means. It basically just shows that the bank took back the vehicle and it disappears with the next title transfer. Of course, I don’t believe it. We come to an agreement, $1,000 now, I take the car, and if the title comes back clean I pay the rest. I know this still sounds super shady, and maybe it was, but I went ahead with it.


The truth is a REPO brand does drop off the title with the transfer. I got my clean Florida title a week after taking the car, paid the rest, and that was it.

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