My experience with Shift

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t60
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:19 pm

My experience with Shift

Post by t60 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:26 pm

This is just my personal experience that I wanted to share about Shift. I think it’s a great concept, but wasn't for me.

For those unaware, Shift is essentially a consignment shop that comes to you and helps you buy or sell a car.

I have a car that I was thinking about selling and got a quote from Carmax, which was too low IMO (4k). I asked Shift to check it out and posting my experience.

IMO, based on Craigslist postings my car would: Sell for 6.5k quickly, 7k normally, 7.5k if I put work in it (detail, minor repairs etc..)

Shift originally offered me 6-7k on the online form. I thought this was fair, even if they gave me 6k since I wouldn't have to do anything. I let Shift check out the car and they confirm the 6-7k estimate, even saying my car is "immaculate" for it's age, aside from a few dings and interior cleaning. What concerned me is I had to provide them with a power of attorney for the DMV and a pre-signed title slip (in case they found a buyer), but I took the risk as they've been around for a few years now.

Shift drove the car to their facility and took a few days to inspect the car. They sent me a detailed repair listing, a few things which made sense, but others that were excessive IMO. I had brand new tires (<100 miles) and a new battery in the car (<1 month old), but they didn't take it into account, they just noted it was in good condition. I thought they would at least add a bit to my estimate given I just purchased them, so this was pretty one-sided.

Other repairs included:
* ~$200 for interior detail (a bit high, but not terribly overpriced)
* ~$275 for front brakes/rotors (a bit high I thought since it was just the front)
* ~$70 to replace cabin air filter -- this one got me angry because it's a $15 part, and $55 for labor. They had taken the old one out, snapped a photo of it and put it back in..replacing it with a new one should have been minimal labor.
* ~$80 oil change

I thought Shift would have been a bit more fair on the repair prices given they were doing all the work in-house and it was communicated to me that we were basically partners in the sales process (i.e., I provide the car, they do some value-add, sell it, then we take our shares).

Shift makes money off of the bonus structure they have in place. I don't know if they make money off of repairs, but I'd guess that they do. They guaranteed me ~$5k on the car (25% more than Carmax, in my case), but were planning to list the car for $8k. The "bonus" is $3k, and they pocket half for profit ($1.5k). The repairs were about $800, and they would actually take that from my guaranteed amount:

5,000 guaranteed - 800 repairs = 4,200 guaranteed
1,500 Shift fee
1,500 profit to me
5,700 in my pocket

I had issues with this because they aren't as motivated as I'd like to sell my car IMO. They could just leave it listed at 8k, never get a buyer, pay me my guaranteed amount, then auction it off for the same amount and take all the profit. Not saying they'd do this, but it's possible, especially if the local market starts to go down.

I declined the repairs and wanted my car back. If you accept the repairs (or accept by not saying anything), then they do the repairs. If you cancel after this, they charge an additional $1k.

They emailed me back immediately and gave me an updated quote with reduced repair costs:

4,950 guaranteed - 650 repairs = 4,300 guaranteed
1,500 Shift fee
1,500 profit to me
5,800 in my pocket

If you notice, they took a hit on the repairs, but I also took a hit on the guaranteed price, in case the car never sells. I still wanted my car back as I decided to do the work and sell on my own. Their cut (and my guaranteed amount) was just not worth it in my case.

It took two days for them to call me to schedule return of my vehicle, and I was pretty darn worried that entire time. I got the car back and it was actually lightly vacuumed and even washed with tire dressing. Mileage was what I expected and everything was fine.

I think Shift would probably work for folks that have excellent condition, high-demand vehicles, and don't want to deal with fixing their car at all. I consider myself mechanically inclined and was prepared to take less than market for my car this time around for the convenience, but IMO Shift was taking too much of the pie. I thought the repair amounts being taken away from my guaranteed amount was not fair; they should have split the repairs through my guaranteed amount and their bonus instead.

It also didn't help that they would add repair fees on everything wrong with my car, but with my brand new tires and brand new battery, they didn't add any money for that, which is also unfair IMO.

Just my two cents.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 5768
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: My experience with Shift

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:35 pm

$200 for an interior detail. Laughable.

I sold an Audi years ago with a company like this who marketed to Boston College foreign students whose parents were loaded but they had no credit. Their entire detail/repair fee was a fixed $100. That's reasonable. It sounds to me like these guys make their money doing high priced repairs, then who cares if it sells. Cabin filter......tell that one again!
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

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celia
Posts: 7099
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: My experience with Shift

Post by celia » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:40 pm

So, it looks like no money changed hands and you got your car back after a few days, cleaner than it was previously.

Devil's advocate: Now, look at it from their perspective. They have not only the cost of finding a buyer and doing the sales paperwork, but they have to maintain a location, have tools, and employees. They would also have to carry insurance, have internet, do advertising. I think they lost more on this potential deal than you did.

researcher
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: My experience with Shift

Post by researcher » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:06 pm

This is exactly why I suggested you shouldn't be so eager to proclaim Shift's superiority over CarMax in your previous post...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=203121&p=3520857&h ... t#p3520857

You could have immediately walked away with $4000 after your first interaction with CarMax.
Yet with Shift, you are only guaranteed $200 more. And you are required to...
- Complete an online quote form
- Schedule & attend an in-person inspection
- Provide a POA and pre-signed title
- Have vehicle taken hostage while they perform ANOTHER inspection at their facility
- Pay excessive rates for unneeded repairs/cleaning
- Be without your vehicle for weeks or months while they attempt to sell it

The fact that they didn't tell you about the repair costs at the FIRST inspection indicates some shady business practices. Everything except maybe the brakes/rotors would have been obvious at the initial inspection. Then they somehow magically reduce the repair costs when you balk?

You mention that they "took a few days to inspect the car" and "It took two days for them to call me to schedule return of my vehicle."
How long did this entire process take, and how long were you without your car?

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DaftInvestor
Posts: 3125
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: My experience with Shift

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:12 pm

What was the Blue-Book value of your car? (Retail and Trade-in values?)
I sold my car once as I decided to try to get retail price on it versus the trade-in value. I will never do it again. Tons of time, efffort, and aggravation which is completely worth the $1000-$2000 premium the car dealership I trade it into is getting. Sounds like with the $1500 fee Shift charges plus all the fixes they charged you for (never had the dealer add a dime) I'll continue to negotiate with the dealer where I'm buying a new car.
Thanks for sharing this experience - its good for us all to understand what our choices are when its time to dump a vehicle.

t60
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: My experience with Shift

Post by t60 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:37 pm

researcher wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:06 pm
This is exactly why I suggested you shouldn't be so eager to proclaim Shift's superiority over CarMax in your previous post...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=203121&p=3520857&h ... t#p3520857

You could have immediately walked away with $4000 after your first interaction with CarMax.
Yet with Shift, you are only guaranteed $200 more. And you are required to...
- Complete an online quote form
- Schedule & attend an in-person inspection
- Provide a POA and pre-signed title
- Have vehicle taken hostage while they perform ANOTHER inspection at their facility
- Pay excessive rates for unneeded repairs/cleaning
- Be without your vehicle for weeks or months while they attempt to sell it

The fact that they didn't tell you about the repair costs at the FIRST inspection indicates some shady business practices. Everything except maybe the brakes/rotors would have been obvious at the initial inspection. Then they somehow magically reduce the repair costs when you balk?

You mention that they "took a few days to inspect the car" and "It took two days for them to call me to schedule return of my vehicle."
How long did this entire process take, and how long were you without your car?
They are not as bad as it sounds. If I was forced to use Carmax or Shift, I'd use Shift. Carmax required me to drive out there, and I sat in their office for an hour and a half waiting for them to complete their inspection. With Shift, it took 30 seconds to fill out their online form, they showed up at my house the next day, and when I wanted it back, it came back to my home washed (maybe waxed too) and interior was vacuumed. Overall time spent with Carmax was 2+ hours (including my own transit time), and with Shift it was about 15 minutes. Sure, I didn't have my car for a week, but most people don't need their cars when they decide to sell them.

Their guaranteed offer was still higher than Carmax, and there was even more upside assuming they would actively try to sell the car. So no, I don't regret going to Shift.

Everything here is YMMV, of course.

t60
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: My experience with Shift

Post by t60 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:39 pm

celia wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:40 pm
So, it looks like no money changed hands and you got your car back after a few days, cleaner than it was previously.

Devil's advocate: Now, look at it from their perspective. They have not only the cost of finding a buyer and doing the sales paperwork, but they have to maintain a location, have tools, and employees. They would also have to carry insurance, have internet, do advertising. I think they lost more on this potential deal than you did.
No need to be the Devil's advocate, I fully understand they took a hit on trying to sell my car. IMO it's just the cost of doing business, and there is a wide spectrum on how much money they decide to make over the whole ordeal, and they were just taking too much in my case. Had the numbers been a bit more on my side then they would have had a deal.

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