How insulting was this buyer?

My sister had a used truck for sale and she offered me a 25% commission if I handled all the details. I examined the truck, set a price of $500 O.B.O. and posted it for sale. I told my sister that I would accept the first $300 offer that came through the door and she approved. Two days later, I meet with a potential buyer, the truck is examined again, we haggle a bit, agree on a price, shake hands, cash paid, receipt, title and bill-of-sale all signed - deal done as far as I was concerned.

At this point the buyer asked “What was your real minimum price? How low could I have gotten you down if I had been a bit better negotiator and a bit more persistent?”

Honestly, IMHO, that’s kind of a rude question and none of the buyer’s business. I replied in a non-committal way but I honestly don’t think I owed him an answer to that question. How far out of line was this person?

The correct reply comes from the movie The Road to Perdition, where the father and son have a similar negotiation, and the son asks his father the same question. The father answers “well, we’ll never know, will we,” thus teaching his son not to bother asking that question.

I’d say your buyer was more clumsy and poorly socialized than insulting, unless of course he asked in a contemptuous manner.

You didn’t owe him an answer, but he wasn’t out of line for asking. I actually find it a bit odd that you would perceive it as a rude question, and the idea that it’s none of his business is decidedly weird.

He paid you money for an item, by most peoples’ standards a lot of money, and you haggled over it. Of course it’s his business what your actual minimum was. The entire point of haggling is for the buyer to get as close to the seller’s minimum as possible while the seller tries to get as close to the buyer’s maximum as possible.

After you close the deal, of course, you have no need or incentive to tell him what your minimum was, and really you have an incentive not to. It might be very upsetting to him if your actual minimum was much lower than your agreed price, and in turn that might make him make the rest of the process unpleasant for you, or even to walk away from the handshake. And you have no way of knowing beforehand what he might consider “much lower.”

But there’s absolutely nothing wrong, as far as I can see, with him simply asking the question. If nothing else, it gives him some useful feedback on his self-perception of his own bargaining skills and his ability to read the other party in a haggling situation.

What about it did you find “insulting”?

I wouldn’t say that was rude, but I gotta wonder what they guy hoped to gain from that information.

“Well, given sufficiently strong negotiation tactics, you could have gotten it for free. Actually you could probably have gotten me to pay you, if you released my family unharmed.”

That’s my take as well. It wasn’t rude, and you not answering wouldn’t be rude either.

It just seemed a step over the line to me. Maybe I’m over reacting but the question felt wrong. In any negotiation, it is assumed that neither party shows all their cards and that neither party gets everything they want. Treating someone honestly doesn’t automatically mean telling them everything.

It’s kind of the same as asking the poker player what he was holding after you already folded. If they actually tell you, it’s good info for your next hand (or negotiation, in your case).

But it’s also a rookie move. No decent poker player would ever tell you, and because of that, any decent player would know not to ask. It’s not a rude question, just more of a “come on, get a clue” question.

I see absolutely no problem whatsoever.

Did you sell it at $500 or $300? If $500, then he can get negotiating lessons somewhere else. If $300, it’s no skin off your nose to tell him that.

If you’re buying cars in that price range, either you’re a very skilled mechanic, or you probably have frequent opportunities over time to do so. So the more often you know what you could have talked the other person down to, the more accurate a sense you’ll develop of how far to push things in such a negotiation.

ETA: That still doesn’t place any obligation on the OP to share the information, but that’s why I’d ask if I were that guy.

This may go against your grain, but to me, it’s one of those moments for which a little white lie is well employed. What good can come of answering the question honestly? It would have put you in an awkward position and made him feel bad about his negotiating skills. It’s not a rude question, just one fraught with minor peril. As was pointed out, who knows where the discussion would have gone if you had answered honestly? Obviously I am assuming he paid you more than $300 but less than $500.

I would have said, “My goodness, you got me down to it!” and left it at that. He might have suspected you were lying, but that’s what he gets for asking a pointless question.

You did better than I. My gf bought a new “farm truck” and wanted rid of her old farm truck. I’ve sold other things for her before, and we’ve always just split the cash 50/50.

Blue book on her truck was between $3,000 and $3,500 depending on what condition the truck (an 04) was thought to be. I took pictures, placed ads, and placed the truck at my business with a “For Sale” sign on it.

I set up a few appointments with interested buyers for next weekend. Then her brother heard via the family grapevine that the truck was for sale. He texted me and asked what we wanted and I told him $3,500. He agreed to that price (he knows the truck) and we arranged for him to drive over and visit the notary. I messaged the other potential buyers and told them the truck sold.

When my gf heard her brother wanted the truck, she messaged him and dropped the price to “gift”. I am now due 50% of $0. Oh well.

Rude. He was trying to reopen negotiations, even *after *the handshake, to beat the price down further. You could have told him to screw if he persisted, but politely cutting it off and going ahead with the close was the better option.

That’s not the case here. It was more than just a handshake deal. I had his cash in my pocket and he had the signed paperwork. The deal was finished and he couldn’t re-open it except at gunpoint.

There were no more negotiations. It was bought and transferred. Unless you’re implying that his next step was to demand $50 back, he was just asking to see what the other side of the game board looked like after it’s done.

Agreed with people who think you don’t owe him an answer but he’s not rude for asking either.

This is a good point, and making the buyer feel good about the purchase could be useful if something goes wrong with the truck a few days after he bought it. “Actually, my bottom limit was originally $400, but I decided your $380 offer was close enough.”

Maybe if he feels he got a steal, he won’t be as likely to complain if something breaks on day 2. (Not that you’d have to do anything in that case, but at least you avoid an unpleasant conversation.)

Okay. Not rude then, but not requiring an answer.

It would seem strange to me to assume there’s any consistency whatsoever in what private sellers are willing to part with their vehicles with. Certainly knowing the market value of a product is useful when you’re trying to buy something, but with privately sold used vehicles like this I very much doubt that there is a post-negotiation market value.

Not rude or insulting. I actually admire the guy for asking. Most people don’t of course, but there’s no harm in knowing if you could have done better.

I don’t know how you answered, but if it were me, I’d have said something like, “I had another $x wiggle room, but would have held out a few more days for the best offer. By the way, what was your max price?”

I would say something like, “I actually wanted $50 more than you paid, but you wore me down.”

Whether you say it with a straight face, a knowing wink, or dripping with sarcasm is up to you.