Currently for sale on eBay is a black 2013 Tesla Model S 85 with just 7,000 miles for only $55,950. Is that a bargain? Let’s take a closer look.
According to the Tesla website, the starting price for this car is $81,070. After all incentives (which vary according to state), that number can be as low as $73,570. Bear in mind that there are no tax credits or state incentives on used electric cars. So you can save approximately $18,000 over what the original owner paid for this car. That’s a discount of about $2.50 per mile. Pretty good so far, right?
Now take a look at the ad again. The seller is listed as Wrecked Cars For Sale. Should that cause you any concern? There are about a bazillion photos of the car but only the last one shows what looks like minor damage to the rear bumper. The ad says the damage has been repaired and the car is “Like New!” You will have to make up your own mind as to how the phrase “like new” pertains to a car that has a history of body damage.
Also bear in mind that not many Tesla’s have been repaired as of yet, but there are reports suggesting that when damage does occurs, it can be otherworldly expensive to fix. So the first question a potential buyer should ask is, who did the work? Were they a licensed and experienced repair facility or some guy with can of Bondo and a rattle can? $55, 950 may be a bargain to some, but it’s still a fair chunk of change. If the repair was done poorly, the new owner may be faced with a very significant repair bill to make the car right.
The bidder should also be aware that this car has a salvage title. Ever seen one of those? It has the word SALVAGE stamped across the face of it in big, red letters. In the used car world, a car with a salvage title is usually worth precisely half its normal fair market value. A car is deemed to be a salvage item if an insurance company has declared it a total loss for whatever reason. A concerned buyer might want to know a little more about how the car came to be designated as such.
So, how much is this car worth? In the marketplace, every item for sale is worth precisely what someone is willing to pay for it, not a penny more and not a penny less. The seller has a pretty good eBay customer satisfaction rating, so that’s somewhat reassuring. The bottom line is, no one has ever come up with better advice for would-be buyers than caveat emptor. Bid wisely.