With my car tagged and bagged, I have a few experiences to share about selling a car specifically in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and specifically using Mudah.com.my.
I’m not sure if this is specific to Sabah though, or whether it happens everywhere in Malaysia, but here are the people who will call to buy, or not, the car you’re selling.
Apparently posting your car on Mudah.com.my attracts an automatic scam email and / or SMS, which goes a little something like this:
From NorsiahAhmad: am interested in your vehicle on mudah, get back to me with the price and condition by email…Mudah Scammer
The wording is a big red flag for a scam, because
- the info they ask for is already in the Mudah ad, and
- WTF do you SMS me to ask me to email you back when there’s an email form right above where you found my phone number in the first place?
Nevertheless, perpetually-nice me replied to the SMS the first time to say “condition and price as per Mudah“. Not unexpectedly, there was no reply to that. And then, not reading a very similar email properly, I missed similar flags and replied, to which I quickly (too quickly) received a reply back…
In the email a person claimed to be satisfied with the condition of the car – without having seen it – said they will arrange shipping (shipping!!) and asked that I send my address, and bank account number. Presumably, when they have these details they will somehow relieve you of your money; perhaps by stealing your identify, or perhaps by signing up for a few choice direct debits from your account.
At one point I wanted to boost my ad, and paid Mudah to renew it daily. I then got a similar message, every day, after each renewal, so it’s obviously some automated script that sends them out. These were the numbers, names and email addresses involved:
email@example.comMore Mudah Scammers
NorsiahAhmad – firstname.lastname@example.org
NorsiahAhmad – email@example.com
AbelAhmad – firstname.lastname@example.org
Needless to say: no need to even reply.
2. Tyre Kickers
I received a few calls and text messages from people who it appears exclusively call to ask for a discount – maybe as a sport or hobby? I never outright said no to these requests, and was open to negotiation, but I wanted them to come and look at the car first before doing so.
All but 3 of the people who called, and asked for discount, didn’t bother to take it further than that, so I’d say no need to get too excited by a phone call only.
3. Wheeler Dealers
Most interesting contact I had was from a guy who was very eager to come and look at the car. He asked for discount, I said come have a look.
He said no problem, but he’s not the buyer, his uncle is, and can I please give him a discount so that he can mark it up when he tells his uncle, because, he said, “I also have to earn my commission.” In hindsight, maybe that’s what the Tyre Kickers were doing, just with more tact?
Anyway, from him I asked “You want to earn a commission from telling your uncle about a car?”. “Yes”, he replied as if that’s perfectly normal. I hung up hoping not to hear from him again, but he texted me soon afterwards. “I called u just now regarding the MyVi. If the uncle is OK, just plus 2k into ur price ok? Thanks.”
RM2,000 for telling somebody about a car!? Holy shit.
I replied to him and said I would prefer not to do dealings like that, and perhaps it’s better that he doesn’t buy my car.
Karma is a bitch, and who wants to fuck with Karma? AmIrite?
4. Almost Buyers
These are people who are genuinely interested and honestly wants to buy the car, but alas, you know their loans are unlikely to be approved.
First they ask if the car is still under your loan, which, I imagine, they plan to take over? I wouldn’t entertain that anyway, as the risk of them not completing the payments are too high, and in my name. I’m not sure how that would work, and if you’d ever trust a total stranger like that, unless you yourself are super desperate.
I was neither desperate (not for the money), and my car had been paid off for a year already, so that option was never even considered.
Then they ask for 100% finance. Of course, I don’t deal with loans, and I’m not sure if any banks still give 100% loans these days, so there were a few disappointed faces once that reality dawned on them.
The one guy only got a loan approved for RM22k and he couldn’t get the rest in cash. Didn’t stop him from pitching it to me as a discount offer though. I thought if I get desperate (for time), at the last minute I would go back and offer the car to him at that price. Rather him than a car dealer.
The second set of people who needed a loan, was a couple with 2 kids. They went for the loan application, and was quite confident they would get it. They asked me to wait for them and not sell the car. Unfotunately they got outright rejected, and then didn’t bother to call me to let me know, like they said they would.
Luckily I didn’t really pause my efforts and continued advertising and looking for a buyer why I “waited”, so it was a minor blip, but a valuable lesson.
5. The Best Buyer Ever
Then, finally an uncle came to look. Quiet, confident, cautiously eager – it’s a poker game you see: be interested, but not too interested otherwise no room to negotiate. I also suspected this uncle, who himself is active on Mudah as a watch seller, had sat watching me drop the price for several weeks – so he was a very well informed buyer.
In spite of knowing that, softy that I am, I settled on RM26k with him – down from the RM28k advertised and the RM32k from my dreams. But a sale is a sale, not like I had months to work with.
He actually took the car for a test drive – the first and only person to do so. And he paid me a RM100 deposit as a token gesture of intent. That was a heavy blow to my conscience, which then realised the sale is likely to go ahead, and that would mean I would have to book that flight ticket, which means I would be out of here by the end of my visa.
The uncle, who eventually became the buyer, helped me through almost the entire process, but up until I had the money in the bank, I was forever weary – South African, you see, trust no one until the deed is done.