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Hagerty Employee

Selling on BaT? Pack your patience | Hagerty Media

Let me just say it: I'm not a fan of Bring A Trailer (BaT) in it's current form. Don't get me wrong-it isn't bad. I just thought it was a lot more fun in its prior, scrappier incarnation when, like, it reposted ads for interesting cars from Craigslist and eBay.
Advanced Driver

Thanks for the insightful post, Rob. I've been buying and selling on eBay since just after they opened, but mostly vintage radio equipment and stuff for my Supra, never a whole car.

BaT is fun to read and follow some listings, like Tom Cotter's Ford station wagon, but I don't spend much time there, and had no idea how they conduct business.

Good luck with your next sale!

- Jim
Intermediate Driver

As a multi-lister on BaT, I can attest to everything Rob says in this article. Supremely frustrating how they write in bland, passive voice and make so many errors in describing their ice cream cones as "this cold, pointy consumbable is reported to taste like chocolate."

Hey @drjim, any chance you repair older Japanese factory car stereos? I have a pretty rare, unmodified, and low mileage 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R and the factory head unit doesn't power on. Would appreciate any advice/assistance on getting it fixed. Thanks.
Advanced Driver

Hi, dough


I've fixed more than few. Mostly scratchy volume/tone controls and old, dried-out electrolytic capacitors, but I've fixed dead ones before. Could be anything from a broken wire/cracked circuit board foil to a blown part.


I'm assuming you've checked the basics? Fuses good? Connections solid? Is there power at the OEM connector in the harness? Do the indicator lights come on with the car lights?


And an important one - *did it _ever_ work*?


- Jim


Excellent article, very informative and helpful! Thx!
Intermediate Driver

Enjoyed the article. The explanation of the selling process very informative. The thing I don’t get about BAT is how do people pay mid 5 figures and up for vehicles they have never seen. Cars always look better in photos vs real life especially now with so many ways a photo can be manipulated. The verbiage is lengthy but what is not being said worries me. Let’s face it you extensive disclosure is an an exception not the norm. Unlike you I do like looking at the ads (I call it car porn) and the comments are interesting for their knowledge and ignorance. I do wonder if some comments are shills for the seller. Would be great to see an article on buyer satisfaction and listing/BAT integrity. Obviously I am skeptical.
Intermediate Driver

Great article Rob! I’m a frequent BaT reader and commenter. I do think that the “nitpicking” can get out of hand but what gets my blood boiling are those people that think the only opinion or comments that matter are from those who have bid on said auctions before. Those who put in bids that are ridiculously low also. I try to keep my opinions to, “I really like the car” and any mechanical/safety issues that I see. I only own one classic car and if the day comes to sell I would still consider BaT even though the peanut gallery and all their nitpicks comes with the experience. Thanks again for shedding some light on how the whole BaT thing works.
Advanced Driver

Tried BAT last summer. Submitted lengthy description with warts and all on a one-owner always-garaged 1980 Prelude owned by my mother. Over 260 photos uploaded (of course, 200 is the limit). Two weeks later, "not accepted". I'm sure those folks in the Bay Area were not wanting to waste their time and money on car that might bring in a couple hundred dollars to them. I suppose that's reasonable. So me wasting their time is not okay, but them wasting mine is acceptable.
Then tried eBay with the "premium" auction. 24 photo limit with a link to photos elsewhere. 2 bids that met the reserve ($2500), and neither "winning bidder" or second chance bidder felt like buying. Then you discover that even though you thought a "bid is a contract", that is out the window for real estate and vehicles. More wasted time and money.
Finally sold with Hemmings, but 4 weeks from submittal to ad going on the site due to slow response times from ad rep at Hemmings, with only 3 or 4 back-and-forth clarifications.
From the first weekend in July spent washing, cleaning, cataloging service records, and describing car, to a sale finally mid-October. Not a fun process.
New Driver

Great article. Have considered selling some of my flip cars on BAT but didn't want to deal with the peanut gallery. Also wondered how much influence / pressure BAT puts on you regarding reserve. Obviously it doesn't make sense to have a ridiculous reserve, but do they pressure you to make it too low?

100% agree on the stupid "voice" used in the BAT vehicle descriptions. It sounds like someone trying to be authoritative, but as you point out, ends up instead sounding like someone trying to dodge accountability. They need to hire knowledgeable, professional automotive writers then end every description with a simple disclaimer that all information is provided by the seller who bears sole responsibility for its accuracy.
New Driver

Great post. I've been lurking on bat for a 2002. I'd love to talk about your car you are thinking of selling. I live in CA,looking for a car I drive maybe 1 or 2x a week. Thanks!
Intermediate Driver

Great article. My experience exactly. BAT description was so boring. Also, the glamor picture for main one was not good. Got correct picture and some changes over a number of emails. I quickly used comments section to make key points about the car. Mine was not a car people knew about so it was important to tell more about the car. Overall the comments I got were thoughtful.
Great site for me but not easy to get pictures and videos right to tech challenged guy.
New Driver

Is it just me or has BAT become nothing but a gigantic machine that exists only for the benefit of “Dealers” to screw buyers through gross misrepresentation. My last three “wins” have been total train wreaks. You might rightly ask, so why do you keep using it? Great question. And who are these non buyers offering up fantastic reviews of cars they do not ever buy? Then there are the dealers congratulating each other on how honest they are. My last purchase of a range rover had a pic of the trunk area strategically omitting the large blood stain. Of course this much congratulated”dealer” knew nothing about it…must have happened in transit but an easy fix by staining the stain. This car has been in service for nearly a month trying to diagnose the check engine light that came on 10 miles after it arrived.
New Driver

I actually found my way to this post via a Google search of "inane stupid Bring-a-Trailer comments", so you can guess where this comment is going. Out of frustration, I was looking to see if others out here on the interwebs are finding that the level of inanity (we'll just leave it at that) in BaT comments has gotten to nearly the melting point.


I agree with all that Rob is saying in his article about the poor quality and low information content of BaT's own seller descriptions. I've about had it with descriptions that describe things like "mudflaps" and "manual windows" as "amenities" on 240-series Volvos (sure, let's list "round wheels" there while we're at it...). But sellers are always able to augment and support their listings as Rob suggests...and increasingly, I see responsible sellers doing just that. Those who do not, well, they're less responsible; and therein lies the problem.


I would hope that the fall-back mechanism against poor seller and BaT-provided information would be knowledgeable commenters. In the past, this seemed to be the case on BaT, but what I'm actually finding is a pretty stead and rapid decline in the quality of BaT comments. Lately - at least in the auctions I've followed (admittedly a tiny number relative to the hundreds available at any time) the comments have so-often just been total nonsense. People reiterating stereotypes about cars (that often have absolutely nothing to do with the merits of the actual car or brand being auctioned) or general pablum such as "Well Bought!" when the buyer has clearly spent about 3 times what a similar car could have sold for outside of BaT. Overall, these comments are about as intelligent as people congratulating baseball pitchers at "batting a good touchdown". I mean, are these even real humans? (I only ask that somewhat fatuously)


Oh, and what's with the faux-Brit-speak that so many commenters adopt? "Good show!" is simply not a helpful comment; and unless you're handing me a jar of Grey Poupon from your Rolls, just give it a break, ok? 


Anyhow, just wondering whether others have noticed an overall and relatively rapid decline in the value of BaT in terms of gathering useful info about cars and their values. It seems that the whole thing has become a sort of theater.