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Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking

thedailybeast.com | Sep. 20, 2020.
The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more.
In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States.
Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000.
DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain.
While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO.
Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud.
On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams.
His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund.
Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity.
You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race?
I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned.
I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated.
Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well?
Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse.
Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump.
In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly?
Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.”
We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was.
You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business?
All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups.
were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that?
Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases.
Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case.
You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not?
Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn.
You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN?
I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles.
In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad?
I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses.
Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there?
My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information.
[Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”]
What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer? [Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.]
I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak?
I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored.
What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein?
I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality?
I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right?
[Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.]
Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy.
You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean?
“Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it.
I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice.
Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests?
I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I​ have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests.​ My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality.
Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that?
I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability.
[Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.]
You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that.
Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa.
I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people.
You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City?
I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future.
You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship?
No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions.
What do you think the investigation will find?
I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad.
[Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”]
But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details.
[Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.]
We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that?
I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert?
You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room.
Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here.
She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time?
Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job.
During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart?
I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans.
Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election?
Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention.
Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material?
Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.”
[Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.]
So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser.
Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is?
We all are Satoshi Nakamoto.
You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man?
I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend.
OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
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NYT article/The Weekly Episode on Epstein Hotlist

Just finished watching The Weekly (it’s kind of a Vice rip-off by the NYT) on Hulu where they went into detail about their story published this week about a « hacker » named Patrick Kessler who claimed to have tens of thousands of hours of Epstein’s private videos.
Turns out, Patrick did not released the videos and there is a lot of questions with his credibility, nonetheless, he clearly exposed two lawyers (Bois and Pottinger) for attempting to profit by offering to reach large settlements in which they would take 40%.
The article is here: Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail, and a Lucrative Hotlist
Even though it sounds like this guy Kessler is full of shit, I REALLY wish that he wasn’t and at some point these troves of photos and videos get released and a bunch of rich and powerful people get what they deserve for abusing these women.
For those who need access to NYT- it is a long article, but here’s the full text:
By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Emily Steel, Jacob Bernstein and David Enrich Nov. 30, 2019 Soon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers.
Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler — a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited.
He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein’s data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier’s communications and financial records — as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein’s properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world’s richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations — even in the act of rape.
Kessler said he wanted to expose these men. If he was telling the truth, his trove could answer one of the Epstein saga’s most baffling questions: How did a college dropout and high school math teacher amass a purported nine-figure fortune? One persistent but unproven theory was that he ran a sprawling blackmail operation. That would explain why moguls, scientists, political leaders and a royal stayed loyal to him, in some cases even after he first went to jail.
Kessler’s tale was enough to hook the two lawyers, the famed litigator David Boies and his friend John Stanley Pottinger. If Kessler was authentic, his videos would arm them with immense leverage over some very important people.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the “hot list.” He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers.
The possibilities were tantalizing — and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein.
In the end, there would be no damning videos, no funds pouring into a new foundation. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger would go from toasting Kessler as their “whistle-blower” and “informant” to torching him as a “fraudster” and a “spy.”
Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again.
Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as “rich man’s justice,” a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works.
7 men and a headless parrot
The man who called himself Kessler first contacted a Florida lawyer, Bradley J. Edwards, who was in the news for representing women with claims against Mr. Epstein. It was late August, about two weeks after the financier killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges.
Mr. Edwards, who did not respond to interview requests, had a law firm called Edwards Pottinger, and he soon referred Kessler to his New York partner. Silver-haired and 79, Mr. Pottinger had been a senior civil-rights official in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but he also dabbled in investment banking and wrote best-selling medical thrillers. He was perhaps best known for having dated Gloria Steinem and Kathie Lee Gifford.
Mr. Pottinger recalled that Mr. Edwards warned him about Kessler, saying that he was “endearing,” “spooky” and “loves to drink like a fish.”
After an initial discussion with Kessler in Washington, Mr. Pottinger briefed Mr. Boies — whose firm was also active in representing accusers in the Epstein case — about the sensational claims. He then invited Kessler to his Manhattan apartment. Kessler admired a wall-mounted frame containing a headless stuffed parrot; on TV, the Philadelphia Eagles were mounting a comeback against the Washington Redskins. Mr. Pottinger poured Kessler a glass of WhistlePig whiskey, and the informant began to talk.
In his conversations with Mr. Pottinger and, later, Mr. Boies, Kessler said his videos featured numerous powerful men who were already linked to Mr. Epstein: Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister; Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer; Prince Andrew; three billionaires; and a prominent chief executive.
All seven men, or their representatives, told The New York Times they never engaged in sexual activity on Mr. Epstein’s properties. The Times has no reason to believe Kessler’s supposed video footage is real.
In his apartment, Mr. Pottinger presented Kessler with a signed copy of “The Boss,” his 2005 novel. “One minute you’re bending the rules,” blares the cover of the paperback version. “The next minute you’re breaking the law.” On the title page, Mr. Pottinger wrote: “Here’s to the great work you are to do. Happy to be part of it.”
Mr. Pottinger also gave Kessler a draft contract to bring him on as a client, allowing him to use a fake name. “For reasons revealed to you, I prefer to proceed with this engagement under the name Patrick Kessler,” the agreement said.
Despite the enormities of the Epstein scandal, few of his accusers have gotten a sense of justice or resolution. Mr. Pottinger thought Kessler’s files could change everything. This strange man was theatrical and liked his alcohol, but if there was even a chance his claims were true, they were worth pursuing.
“Our clients are said to be liars and prostitutes,” Mr. Pottinger later said in an interview with The Times, “and we now have someone who says, ‘I can give you secret photographic proof of abuse that will completely change the entire fabric of your practice and get justice for these girls.’ And you think that we wouldn’t try to get that?”
A victim becomes a hacker
Mr. Pottinger and Mr. Boies have known each other for years, a friendship forged on bike trips in France and Italy. In legal circles, Mr. Boies was royalty: He was the one who fought for presidential candidate Al Gore before the Supreme Court, took on Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case, and helped obtain the right for gays and lesbians to get married in California.
But then Mr. Boies got involved with the blood-testing start-up Theranos. As the company was being revealed as a fraud, he tried to bully whistle-blowers into not speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was criticized for possible conflicts of interest when he joined the company’s board in 2015.
Two years later, Mr. Boies helped his longtime client Harvey Weinstein hire private investigators who intimidated sources and trailed reporters for The Times and The New Yorker — even though Mr. Boies’s firm had worked for The Times on other matters. (The Times fired his firm.)
By 2019, Mr. Boies, 78, was representing a number of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims. They got his services pro bono, and he got the chance to burnish his legacy. When Mr. Pottinger contacted him about Kessler, he was intrigued.
On Sept. 9, Mr. Boies greeted Kessler at the offices of his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, in a gleaming new skyscraper at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. Kessler unfurled a fantastic story, one he would embroider and alter in later weeks, that began with him growing up somewhere within a three-hour radius of Washington. Kessler said he had been molested as a boy by a Bible school teacher and sought solace on the internet, where he fell in with a group of victims turned hackers, who used their skills to combat pedophilia.
Kessler claimed that a technology executive had introduced him to Mr. Epstein, who in 2012 hired Kessler to set up encrypted servers to preserve his extensive digital archives. With Mr. Epstein dead, Kessler boasted to the lawyers, he had unfettered access to the material. He said the volume of videos was overwhelming: more than a decade of round-the-clock footage from dozens of cameras.
Kessler displayed some pixelated video stills on his phone. In one, a bearded man with his mouth open appears to be having sex with a naked woman. Kessler said the man was Mr. Barak. In another, a man with black-framed glasses is seen shirtless with a woman on his lap, her breasts exposed. Kessler said it was Mr. Dershowitz. He also said that some of the supposed videos appeared to have been edited and cataloged for the purpose of blackmail.
“This was explosive information if true, for lots and lots of people,” Mr. Boies said in an interview.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger had decades of legal experience and considered themselves experts at assessing witnesses’ credibility. While they couldn’t be sure, they thought Kessler was probably legit.
A chance to sway the Israeli election
Within hours of the Hudson Yards meeting, Mr. Pottinger sent Kessler a series of texts over the encrypted messaging app Signal.
According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. (“Total lie with no basis in reality,” Mr. Barak said when asked about the existence of such videos.)
“Can you review your visual evidence to be sure some or all is indisputably him? If so, we can make it work,” Mr. Pottinger wrote.
Kessler said he would do so. Mr. Pottinger sent a yellow smiley-face emoji with its tongue sticking out.
“Can you share your contact that would be purchasing,” Kessler asked.
“Sheldon Adelson,” Mr. Pottinger answered.
Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel’s largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images.
“Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?” Kessler asked the next morning.
Mr. Pottinger reassured him. “There is no question that Adelson has the capacity to air the truth about EB if he wants to,” he said, using Mr. Barak’s initials. He said he planned to discuss the matter with Mr. Boies that evening.
Mr. Boies confirmed that they discussed sharing the photo with Mr. Adelson but said the plan was never executed. Boaz Bismuth, the editor in chief of the newspaper, Israel Hayom, said its journalists were approached by an Israeli source who pitched them supposed images of Mr. Barak, but that “we were not interested.”
‘These are wealthy wrongdoers’
The men whom Kessler claimed to have on tape were together worth many billions. Some of their public relations teams had spent months trying to tamp down media coverage of their connections to Mr. Epstein. Imagine how much they might pay to make incriminating videos vanish.
You might think that lawyers representing abuse victims would want to publicly expose such information to bolster their clients’ claims. But that is not how the legal industry always works. Often, keeping things quiet is good business.
One of the revelations of the #MeToo era has been that victims’ lawyers often brokered secret deals in which alleged abusers paid to keep their accusers quiet and the allegations out of the public sphere. Lawyers can pocket at least a third of such settlements, profiting off a system that masks misconduct and allows men to abuse again.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger said in interviews that they were looking into creating a charity to help victims of sexual abuse. It would be bankrolled by private legal settlements with the men on the videos.
Mr. Boies acknowledged that Kessler might get paid. “If we were able to use this to help our victims recover money, we would treat him generously,” he said in September. He said that his firm would not get a cut of any settlements.
Such agreements would have made it less likely that videos involving the men became public. “Generally what settlements are about is getting peace,” Mr. Boies said.
Mr. Pottinger told Kessler that the charity he was setting up would be called the Astria Foundation — a name he later said his girlfriend came up with, in a nod to Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence and justice. “We need to get it funded by abusers,” Mr. Pottinger texted, noting in another message that “these are wealthy wrongdoers.”
Mr. Pottinger asked Kessler to start compiling incriminating materials on a specific group of men.
“I’m way ahead of you,” Kessler responded. He said he had asked his team of fellow hackers to search the files for the three billionaires, the C.E.O. and Prince Andrew.
“Yes, that’s exactly how to do this,” Mr. Pottinger said. “Videos for sure, but email traffic, too.”
“I call it our hot list,” he added.
Image The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan. The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan.Credit...Stephanie Diani for The New York Times A quiet table at the back of Grand Sichuan
In mid-September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger invited reporters from The Times to the Boies Schiller offices to meet Kessler. The threat of a major news organization writing about the videos — and confirming the existence of an extensive surveillance apparatus — could greatly enhance the lawyers’ leverage over the wealthy men.
Before the session, Mr. Pottinger encouraged Kessler to focus on certain men, like Mr. Barak, while avoiding others. Referring to the reporters, he added, “Let them drink from a fountain instead of a water hose. They and the readers will follow that better.”
The meeting took place on a cloudy Saturday morning. After agreeing to leave their phones and laptops outside, the reporters entered a 20th-floor conference room. Kessler was huge: more than 6 feet tall, pushing 300 pounds, balding, his temples speckled with gray. He told his story and presented images that he said were of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Barak and Mr. Dershowitz having sex with women.
Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.” That afternoon, they met at Grand Sichuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The lunch rush was over, and the trio sat at a quiet table in the back. A small group of women huddled nearby, speaking Mandarin and snipping the ends off string beans.
Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O.
Soup dumplings and Gui Zhou chicken arrived, and Kessler kept talking. He said he had found financial ledgers on Mr. Epstein’s servers that showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and diamonds. He presented no proof. But it is common for whistle-blowers to be erratic and slow to produce their evidence, and The Times thought it was worth investigating Kessler’s claims.
The conversation continued in a conference room at a Washington hotel five days later, after a text exchange in which Kessler noted his enthusiasm for Japanese whiskey. Both parties brought bottles to the hotel, and Kessler spent nearly eight hours downing glass after glass. He veered from telling tales about the dark web to professing love for “Little House on the Prairie.” He asserted that he had evidence Mr. Epstein had derived his wealth through illicit means. At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents.
Kessler said he had no idea who the women in the videos were or how the lawyers might go about identifying them to act on their behalf. From his perspective, he said, it seemed like Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were plotting to use his footage to demand huge sums from billionaires. He said it looked like blackmail — and that he could prove it.
‘We keep it. We keep everything’
Was Kessler’s story plausible? Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men?
Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room.
“I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’”
During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found.
Kessler claimed to have been an early investor in a North Carolina coffee company, whose sticker was affixed to his laptop. But its founder said no one matching Kessler’s description had ever been affiliated with the company. Kessler insisted that he invested in 2009, but the company wasn’t founded until 2011.
The contents of Kessler’s supposed C.I.A. documents turned out to be easily findable using Google. At one point, Kessler said that one of his associates had been missing and was found dead; later, Kessler said the man was alive and in the southern United States. He said that his mother had died when he was young — and that he had recently given her a hug. A photo he sent from what he said was a Washington-area hospital featured a distinctive blanket, but when The Times called local hospitals, they didn’t recognize the pattern.
After months of effort, The Times could not learn Kessler’s identity or confirm any element of his back story.
“I am very often being purposefully inconsistent,” Kessler said, when pressed.
A Weinstein cameo
On the last Friday in September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger sat on a blue leather couch in the corner of a members-only dining room at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. Antlered animal heads and oil paintings hung from the dark wooden walls.
The lawyers were there to make a deal with The Times. Tired of waiting for Kessler’s motherlode, Mr. Pottinger said they planned to send a team overseas to download the material from his servers. He said he had alerted the F.B.I. and a prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Mr. Boies told an editor for The Times that they would be willing to share everything, on one condition: They would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when. He explained that if compromising videos about particular men became public, that could torpedo litigation or attempts to negotiate settlements. The Times editor didn’t commit.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger later said those plans had hinged on verifying the videos’ authenticity and on having clients with legitimate legal claims against the men. Otherwise, legal experts said, it might have crossed the line into extortion.
The meeting was briefly interrupted when Bob Weinstein, the brother of Harvey Weinstein, bounded up to the table and plopped onto the couch next to Mr. Boies. The two men spent several minutes talking, laughing and slapping each other on the back.
While Mr. Boies and Mr. Weinstein chatted, Mr. Pottinger furtively displayed the black-and-white shot of a man in glasses having sex. Both lawyers said it looked like Mr. Dershowitz.
‘You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that’
One day in late September, Mr. Dershowitz’s secretary relayed a message: Someone named Patrick Kessler wanted to speak to him about Mr. Boies.
“The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally,” Kessler said. “They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.”
“Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked.
“There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.”
“Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?”
“Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.”
“And you don’t have anything on me, right?”
“I do not, no,” Kessler said.
“Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.”
What was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed?
Mr. Dershowitz said that he didn’t know why Kessler contacted him, and that the phone call was the only time the two men ever spoke. When The Times showed him one of Kessler’s photos, in which a bespectacled man resembling Mr. Dershowitz appears to be having sex, Mr. Dershowitz laughed and said the man wasn’t him. His wife, Carolyn Cohen, peeked at the photo, too.
“You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that,” she said.
Data set (supposedly) to self-destruct
In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3.
Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct.
Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage.
On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv.
Two hours later, Kessler was in touch with Mr. Pottinger and didn’t mention any emergency. Kessler said he hoped that the footage would help pry $1 billion in settlements out of their targets, and asked him to detail how the lawyers could extract the money. “Could you put together a hypothetical situation,” Kessler wrote, not something “set in stone but close to what your thinking.”
In one, which he called a “standard model” for legal settlements, Mr. Pottinger said the money would be split among his clients, the Astria Foundation, Kessler and the lawyers, who would get up to 40 percent.
In the second hypothetical, Mr. Pottinger wrote, the lawyers would approach the videotaped men. The men would then hire the lawyers, ensuring that they would not get sued, and “make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of the retainer.”
“No client is actually involved in this structure,” Mr. Pottinger said, noting that the arrangement would have to be “consistent with and subject to rules of ethics.”
“Thank you very much,” Kessler responded.
Mr. Pottinger later said that the scenario would have involved him representing a victim, settling a case and then representing the victim’s alleged abuser. He said it was within legal boundaries. (He also said he had meant to type “No client lawsuit is actually involved.”)
Such legal arrangements are not unheard-of. Lawyers representing a former Fox News producer who had accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment reached a settlement in which her lawyers agreed to work for Mr. O’Reilly after the dispute. But legal experts generally consider such setups to be unethical because they can create conflicts between the interests of the lawyers and their original clients.
‘I just pulled it out of my behind’
The lawyers held out hope of getting Kessler’s materials. But weeks passed, and nothing arrived. At one point, Mr. Pottinger volunteered to meet Kessler anywhere — including Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
“I still believe he is what he purported to be,” Mr. Boies wrote in an email on Nov. 7. “I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.” He added, “I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.”
Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines.
Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion?
Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.”
Then The Times showed Mr. Boies some of the text exchanges between Mr. Pottinger and Kessler. Mr. Boies showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time he was seeing them.
By the end of the nearly four-hour interview, Mr. Boies had concluded that Kessler was probably a con man: “I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up.” And he argued that Kessler had baited Mr. Pottinger into writing things that looked more nefarious than they really were. He acknowledged that Mr. Pottinger had used “loose language” in some of his messages that risked creating the impression that the lawyers were plotting to monetize evidence of abuse.
Several days later, Mr. Boies returned for another interview and was more critical of Mr. Pottinger, especially the hypothetical plans that he had described to Kessler. “Having looked at all that stuff in context, I would not have said that,” he said. How did Mr. Boies feel about Mr. Pottinger invoking his name in messages to Kessler? “I don’t like it,” he said.
But Mr. Boies stopped short of blaming Mr. Pottinger for the whole mess. “I’m being cautious not to throw him under the bus more than I believe is accurate,” he said. His longtime P.R. adviser, Dawn Schneider, who had been pushing for a more forceful denunciation, dropped her pen, threw up her arms and buried her head in her hands.
In a separate interview, The Times asked Mr. Pottinger about his correspondence with Kessler. The lawyer said that his messages shouldn’t be taken at face value because, in reality, he had been deceiving Kessler all along — “misleading him deliberately in order to get the servers.”
The draft retention agreement that Mr. Pottinger had given to Kessler in September was unsigned and never meant to be honored, Mr. Pottinger said. And he never intended to sell photos of Mr. Barak to Mr. Adelson. “I just pulled it out of my behind,” he said, describing it as an act to impress Kessler.
As for the two hypotheticals about how to get money out of the men on the list, Mr. Pottinger said, he never planned to do what he carefully articulated. “I didn’t owe Patrick honesty about this,” he said.
Mr. Pottinger said that he had only one regret — that “we did not get the information that this liar said he had.”
He added, “I’m building legal cases here. I’m trying not to engage too much in shenanigans. I wish I didn’t, but this guy was very unusual.”
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1/17 Wednesday's Stock Market Movers & News

Good morning traders of the StockMarket sub! Welcome to Wednesday! Here are your pre-market stock movers & news this morning-

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Frontrunning: January 17

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($BAC $C $UNH $IBM $GS $FAST $FRC $CMA $OZRK $MS $SLB $ASML $INFO $AA $USB $CSX $JBHT $AXP $MBWM $KEY $TSM $BK $IBKR$SCHW $STI $PPG $BBT $HOMB $MTB $SYF $FHN $PNFP $KSU $WNS $RF $CBSH $SASR $CFG $GATX)
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($BAC $GS $FAST $ASML $USB $CSX $SCHW $IBKR $PNFP $ADTN $RNST)
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EARNINGS RELEASES BEFORE THE OPEN TODAY:

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THIS MORNING'S MOST ACTIVE TRENDING DISCUSSIONS:

  • BTC.X
  • GS
  • JUNO
  • BAC
  • F
  • UVXY
  • NEO.X
  • ASML

THIS MORNING'S STOCK NEWS MOVERS:

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Goldman Sachs – Goldman reported adjusted quarterly profit of $5.68 per share compared to the $4.91 a share consensus estimate. Revenue also beat Wall Street forecasts. CEO Lloyd Blankfein noted the strong 2017 performance in the face of a "challenging" market-making environment.

STOCK SYMBOL: GS

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Bank of America – The bank reported adjusted quarterly profit of 47 cents per share, 3 cents a share above estimates, Revenue fell below forecasts. Bank of America took a charge related to the new tax law but expects to benefit from lower rates going forward.

STOCK SYMBOL: BAC

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Tiffany – The luxury goods retailer said holiday season comparable-store sales rose by 5 percent compared to a year earlier, with overall sales up 8 percent. Tiffany attributes the increase to stronger demand for higher end jewelry. Tiffany did say it expects full-year 2018 earnings to be flat to slightly lower compared to 2017.

STOCK SYMBOL: TIF

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IBM – Barclays upgraded IBM to "overweight" from "underweight," saying IBM's long revenue decline may soon end and that the current mainframe cycle will allow additional time for IBM's strategic moves to take hold.

STOCK SYMBOL: IBM

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Apple – The stock was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" at Longbow Research, which sees iPhone shipments coming in below consensus for fiscal 2018.

STOCK SYMBOL: AAPL

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Dollar General, Dollar Tree – Oppenheimer began coverage of both discount retailers with "outperform" ratings, citing attractive long-term growth prospects and a stronger lower-income consumer segment.

STOCK SYMBOL: DG

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STOCK SYMBOL: DLTR

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Ford Motor — The automaker issued 2018 financial guidance that fell short of expectations. Ford officials said higher input costs and currency volatility are among the factors weighing on the company's projected results.

STOCK SYMBOL: F

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CSX – CSX reported adjusted quarterly profit of 64 cents per share, 8 cents a share above estimates. The railroad operator's revenue was slightly shy of forecasts due to a drop in shipment volume. Its bottom line was helped by higher prices and better expense controls.

STOCK SYMBOL: CSX

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Boeing – Boeing formed a joint venture with Adient Aerospace to develop and manufacturer airplane seats. Each company is contributing $50 million to the project.

STOCK SYMBOL: BA

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Juno Therapeutics – Juno is in talks to be acquired by drugmaker Celgene, according to The Wall Street Journal. People familiar with the matter told the paper a deal could be announced within weeks.

STOCK SYMBOL: JUNO

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SandRidge Energy – SandRidge is planning to meet with its largest shareholder, investor Carl Icahn, to discuss his call to shake up the company's board of directors. Icahn had said last month that he was considering a proxy contest.

STOCK SYMBOL: SD

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Oracle – Oracle issued a security patch to fix flaws in Intel chips contained in some of the business software giant's products.

STOCK SYMBOL: ORCL

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Intercontinental Exchange – ICE will start another NYSE-branded market – named NYSE National – to be launched during the second quarter, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. The new market will only be a trading venture rather than a listing market.

STOCK SYMBOL: ICE

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Signet Jewelers – A U.S. judge overturned an arbitrator's ruling that had allowed 70,000 women to take part in a sex discrimination case against Signet unit Sterling Jewelers. That group had not originally opted to join the suit.

STOCK SYMBOL: SIG

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Rio Tinto – Rio Tinto called for the dismissal of an SEC case against the mining giant. The suit had accused Rio of overstating the value of coal assets in Mozambique that it had bought in 2011.

STOCK SYMBOL: RIO

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Papa John's – Papa John's Chief Financial Officer Lance Tucker will leave the pizza chain in March to take the same position at restaurant operator Jack In The Box.

STOCK SYMBOL: PZZA

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Sanderson Farms – The poultry producer said supplies of antibiotic-free chicken are exceeding demand, which could hit the profits of poultry processors like Sanderson and rival Tyson Foods.

STOCK SYMBOL: SAFM

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FULL DISCLOSURE:

bigbear0083 has no positions in any stocks mentioned. Reddit, moderators, and the author do not advise making investment decisions based on discussion in these posts. Analysis is not subject to validation and users take action at their own risk. bigbear0083 is an admin at the financial forums Stockaholics.net where this content was originally posted.

DISCUSS!

What is on everyone's radar for today's trading day ahead here at StockMarket?

I hope you all have an excellent trading day ahead today on this Wednesday, January 17th, 2018! :)

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[Table] IamA Owner of a used car dealership. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-01-16
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
What's the most expensive car you've had on the lot / sold? The most expensive car we have is a 2008 R8 that we just got in. It will be selling for $89,999.
What's your cost on something like that? I paid 80. Spent 3000$ of recondition already.
But this is my daily driver so I didn't buy it to sell it...if that makes sense, I would love to drive it for a year and sell it for what I paid. Drive and R8 for free :)
If you had to buy parts for a car like that, what would you do? Do you have any advantage over a regular guy? I happen to know someone who is an Audi service advisor and he showed me in their pricing system that R8 floor mats are $750. I do get dealer rate on parts (15% off retail)
How did Cash-4-Clunkers effect your business? Not that much, we don't sell many 2999 or less cars because they are too unpredictable and we don't want to sell anyone lemons. Not worth the headache and bad karma.
I bought a used car from a scumbag salesman two years ago. It was useless a year later. What's something I should ALWAYS look for in used cars? - 19 years old and I'm going on my 4th car :\ I'm not saying this is what you did...but generally a car thats 3gs or less is unpredictable.
Maybe for your first car you get something that might not be the prettiest but maybe reliable. Like an older pontiac vibe, they are great cars and won't break the bank...not the prettiest but will get you from point a - b.
There is no one thing to look at. sorry nothing sexy about that answer.
the Pontiac Vibe is Toyota where it counts, basically the Matrix I understand. Same thing with the Chevy Prizm/Toyota Corolla. Exactly...getting the Toyota without paying a premium for a badge.
I love my Vibe; I just wish it was called something else. When I was still shopping for it, I was pretty amazed that a Matrix would go for $1000 - $2000 more than Vibes of similar age and condition. It's the same damn car. EXACT same guts. You're just paying for the emblem.
Wow, it'd never clicked with me, despite lots of searching in that category, that a Vibe gets around the Toyota Tax. Matrix's are overpriced because Toyota. Vibes are the same damned car (more or less) but fewer people buy it cause toyota reliability. On the used market people know this and thats why they sell well.
People pay a premium for a Toyota badge? What I meant was even though matrix and vibe are basically the same car you can expect to pay 2gs more for the Toyota name.
Did the vibe have an awd option like the matrix did ? Yes it does. Both body styles do.
Have you ever found anything odd or weird in a car or about a car after you bought it from someone? Bought a cop car once and found a couple dime bags of week under the seat. I'm assuming the person who was arrested had some on them and hid it under their seat.
We found this super old log book it was from world war 1 and had a soldier's name and all these amazing stories of people he met and people who had died etc. We gave it to the police hoping they would find out who this man was (had his name DOB etc)...couple weeks later this old man comes in all teary eyed and told us it was his dad's book and he was so grateful we gave it to the police.
You told us what you did with the log book. What did you do with the weed? AHHAHAHAHAHAH.
I'm pretty sure the clean up shop "threw it out".
In your opinion, is it smarter to buy new or used vehicles? Why? Used,
If I win the lottery one day and want to buy a car, I would buy a newer car with the least amount of mileage. Someone else takes the hit of the new car and you can save 15-20% if its 6 months old and has a couple thousand kms on it.
But if it's newish and someone is selling it, wouldn't that indicate something might be wrong? No not at all, people change their minds or something comes up. I took a 2013 civic with 6000kms on trade for a minivan because the woman got pregnant unexpectedly with twins.
What if it's a car that people are known to drive hard and abuse? Unfortunately there is NO way of knowing, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.
Only car I wouldn't buy would be a mustang rental, that's a car you know who ever rented probably drove it hard.
I worked for a used car lot similar to yours, with only flat pay and very very small commission. we had a regional thing going, with about 15 lots over 3 states. We didnt sell for cash but owned a finance company as well. My question is How often do people try old sales tactics on you, or think they can just act tough to get a deal? and what is the 'toughest' customer you have had dealings with? But if we are selling a car for 5,999 you can't offer 3000 CASH out the door, there is no more margins like that, just doesn't exist! We explain why that's not possible and for the most part they get it...you still get the young kid with his grand-pa saying 3000 or we leave. To which we reply sorry we can't earn your business. Toughest customer was a 2006 Ram 2500 diesel we sold her. She drove it home, called us back saying she took it to her mechanic and it needs ball joints at a cost of 1200$ I asked her to bring the truck back so we can take a look at it and if it does need the work we will do it. She said she did not feel safe driving it back, and we offered to pick it up then she lost her mind and said we are crooks and assholes for selling a truck that would have never passed certification. I called her personally and told her if she felt she was taken advantage of I would come with a check in full and pay her back and take the truck home (she's had it for over a month now) Told me to F*ck off and she is going to sue us.
Wow that's pretty ridiculous of her. I respect your efforts I go to sleep at night knowing I've never screwed over a customer.
Word :) Btw do you consider yourself a car enthusiast? I read you have an R8 to putt around in, I myself drive a 91 Toyota MR2. I used to be a HUGE car enthusiast, then you realize that its a piece of metal with tires. That being said I do have some cars on my bucket list that I would love to own/drive...the usual lambo, ferrari etc.
Consider signing up for an HPDE in your area. That experience will change your mind. ;) What is that?
Oh word, cool. Thought I would ask, well, because R8 lol. R8 is one of my bucket list cars and It's been a dream to drive...only drove it 2 times...stupid snow.
High performance driving event. Think of it like a driving school but on a race track. You'll learn a lot about yourself and about driving at high (race) speed. They aren't racing schools. Those are separate. Ohhh yeah mosport has events like that.
I'm not sure how well Canada's track market is but you guys used to have the F1 grand prix so you might check out if they offer schools. I know Porsche and BMW race out of there.
All wheel drive + snow tires should fix that. I looked into it, just rather drive a car comfortably than be on pins and needles.
Have you ever lost a substantial amount of money on a car ? Of course! Its part of the game... worst one ever was a ford diesel. bought everything was normal, sold it, 2 weeks later customer complains about white smoke...long story short 6gs later.
We offered to give customers money back, he wanted the truck. Total deal ended up losing 4500$
But that customer has sent 3 customers into us, because the issue he had was not part of certification or anything, we could of said sorry not our problem it was ok when we sold. Rather we fixed it he was happy and in the grand scheme of things it was worth it.
The white smoke thing on a ford diesel happened to me too. It was basically part of the recirculation system (for emissions) melted and allowed water to enter the engine, hydrolocking the pistons. Had to have a ton of shit replaced. Ford Diesels after about 2003-4 have been garbage imo. I hate to say it but you're right. I won't buy a 2003 -2010 Ford Diesel. Supposedly the newer ones are better but I'm not sure.
7.3L powerstroke is bullet proof. The 6.0 is complete trash. For the most part yes.
I won't buy a 2003 -2010 Ford Diesel. Crazy part is I've had 2 traded in and both have problems..I think if they are running properly people just drive them into the ground.
How do you deal with those who try to trade one in? How do you explain it to them? I'd sure hate to disappoint them this way...\ NOT ALL have issues, I just try to shy away from them.
If you buy a 6.0, replace the head studs and gaskets, (honestly some people just replace the whole head), and delete the EGR. Those were the problems. I'm no mechanic but thank you for the heads up.
Would you ever or have you ever considered selling cars for bitcoins? I am dying to buy a car with bitcoin... I'd be to scared lol I run a very honest business and would never want to be red flagged.
Audi/BMW/Mercedes? All have good models and problematic models. ...but my dad who is a mechanic would say LEXUS!
I work for Lexus so obviously I like your dad. He's had an older LS for a while, over 400,000kms loves that thing more than me.
What's your view on a Lexus Isf 2011? Good all rounder? Great cars, nice sedan with a cool look.
How do you estimate the value of a car? and what if the car is a "classic? My valuation is simple... look at autotrader and try to be the bottom 10 cheapest. I work on volume not trying to "hit a homerun" on every car.
Classic cars are different complete different ball game, I will call some of the guys that deal with those types of cars and compare to autotrader. Overall I've only ever 3 classic cars traded in. 1973 Mustang, 1969 Mustang (they were pretty easy to get a valuation because a lot out there) and a 1952 MGB kit car. (much harder just took a gamble)
What is the average commission a salesman gets on a sale? Such as % 1) Our dealership has no comission, all flat with bonuses monthly/yearly so that there is NO pressure from my staff.
If something happens to someone's car past warranty (where it is not legally your problem), what do you do to help that person if anything? Of course! Its part of the game... worst one ever was a ford diesel. bought everything was normal, sold it, 2 weeks later customer complains about white smoke...long story short 6gs later. We offered to give customers money back, he wanted the truck. Total deal ended up losing 4500$ But that customer has sent 3 customers into us, because the issue he had was not part of certification or anything, we could of said sorry not our problem it was ok when we sold. Rather we fixed it he was happy and in the grand scheme of things it was worth it.
That sounds awesome. #2 is something so few dealerships understand (I used to work doing training for dealerships). They would much rather make $5000 off of one customer than make $1000 each off of 50 customers. So aggravating, everyone loses. Exactly man... Its easier to make 1$ off of a million people than $1,000,000 of one person.
I want to be here for the long haul.
All salespeople would say it's "no pressure". How are your online reviews? This is based on Google reviews.
Sam Besharati 4 months ago purchased a 2010 mazda 3 from tip top in april. I spent almost 4 months researching mazda 3's at different dealerships in the durham region and even a few in toronto. tip top was by far the easiest to deal with. they treated me like a friend and ...More Mark Morissette Mark Morissette 5 months ago My wife and I purchased a used Chrysler 300 from Tip Top auto several months back – the service we received was excellent, the sales people were very upfront and straightforward with the transaction from the moment we stepped on the property ...More Adam Hare Adam Hare 9 months ago Tip Top has the best prices by far! And even more importantly, the service is like no other. Zero pressure, no hassle, they truly give you first class care. My whole family have now bought vehicles from Tip Top and will continue to do so! A Google User A Google User 2 years ago Looked at over 30 cars of the same make and model elsewhere, and then decided to buy my car from here. Owned it for the better part of this year and couldn't be more satisfied with it. Will be looking here first when it's time to buy again. Would ...More.
Link to verify. OP probably didn't post it because it is their Google+ page and didn't want to self advertise. Thank you, thats a lot better to read lol.
Nice...you passed the test! There aren't many small dealers without bad reviews. Everyone gets bad reviews, its part of the business, but we just try our best to fix any problems before that.
Bought a 300 from a used car dealership, spent around 1500 in less than 6 months, suspension parts. Holy hell suspension parts, and we didn't put the car in a garage, did all the work ourselves. Except for a four way wheel alignment, that was done in the garage. 300s are known for front end work, but they have good transmissions and engines.
Your north carolina? Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.
$50k from dad? It takes money to make money! I guess that doesn't make you exactly a rags-to-riches tale, does it? My dad was retired at the time due to his cancer by trade he is a mechanic, thus I have been around cars alot.
What does/did your dad do? I am super lucky that my parents were supportive of me and wanted me to succeed. My father came to Canada with nothing and he has done well for himself.
I've been raised by mechanics and estimators and car sales men all of my life. I have always wanted to know, what is the rate of used cars you've had on sale that have to be repaired before they are sellable? Is there a limit to the damage of a car (like minor dents and scratches in the paint) where you cannot buy it or sell it? Totally,
Some dealers will buy the car even if EVERY panel needs paint and can still make a profit, for me I look at the headache vs payoff. I have no shortage of cars so I don't need to go that far. Rule of thumb is if you buy it cheap enough it can be worth it...I just don't waste my time with it.
Any point in buying a "certified" pre owned vehicle as opposed to a normal used car? Yes, We have to compete with the all the time. However for the most part it's not worth the added cost and they are not doing much more than a used car dealership will do...Only benefit is some manufactures will extend the factory warranty. BMW certified pre-owned will cost you 2-3gs more than buying from a used car lot, personally not worth it...However if you can get the price close to what a used car dealership is selling it for...go certified pre owned.
Are you saying that you'd feel ok owning a BMW out of warranty? Doesn't scare me!
I am looking for a new midsize sedan (torn between altima, sonata, or camry at the moment) any suggestions on the three? I am thinking ill go new though since ill drive it at least the next 7ish years. All three are great cars, I can't knock any of them.
Your best bet is go and test drive all three... you might hate the way one drives or be bothered by blind spots.
My CPO cost me 16 total, (granted, 2012 focus SEL hatch), but I have a 125k mile warranty w/ 100 dollar deductible, loaner cars, roadside, etc. Do i truly need it? Who knows, but it's my 6th car because I've never spent more than 1200 on a car before. Why not? If you paid close to what the car is worth in the retail market then you didn't go wrong. Remember cars are not investments and you want to be able to enjoy your car and if you have any issues you're covered so there is NO harm in getting a warranty.
Is there a strategy one can use to help them get a better deal on a vehicle without being a jerk? I'm not really all that great at negotiating prices in this regard. Some used car dealers had NO haggle pricing, we are pretty close to that too. We put our best price forward and go with volume.
If you come in and offer us 1000 below asking we just say we can't do that and explain why. If the total after taxes is like $10142.23 and you say I had a budget of 10gs all in. We will most probably do it.
The most important thing is treat your salesperson nicely and don't think they are out to get you. It will help you in the long run.
I heard a This American Life about a used car dealership. Is the reason you'd most likely do it because you are aiming for a quarterly/yearly/etc. volume target? So you eat the cost, effectively paying to sell the car, to get closer to that goal? We don't have any goals that MUST be reached. We have targets and expectations, but nothing set in stone.
What do you drive? Just picked up an Audi r8 for the spring but this is my first time buying a car for my self as a daily driver...right now I drove home a 2009 Civic.
I'll drive anything off the lot.
Talk about an upgrade! The 2009 Civic was just something I took off the lot, today I drove home a 2006 Golf Diesel.
What are the tell-tale signs that negotiations have reached their end, and that it's time for me to make a decision either way? Are we talking new or used vehicle?
What would the differences be? Used cars have less room to play, if the salesmen is letting you walk then you have truly reach the end point.
New cars are different, end of the month is the best time if they need to hit their quota (not the salesmen but dealership) they will sell it below cost in order to hit their goals (some manufactures will give the dealership a kickback based on number sold. So if X company reaches their goal of 50, the manufacture will kickback $1500 per unit (x50) so if you happen to buy the 50th car on the last day of their accounting month they will lose 3gs on that car in order to hit the big target of 50x1500= 75gs.
This American Life did a recent episode on car dealerships and went over this point. However, I would assume this strategy only works if they're below their goals. Thats the BEST way to get a great deal..but not all manufacturers do that and I personally think it lowers your brand value, because all you care about is putting cars over the curb.
What could i get from your shop for $ 3000? I probably would tell you nicely that I don't want to sell you car for $3000.
I'm worried about the long term reliability and don't want you to hate me if something happens.
Why would a business refuse cash? I've paid cash for my university tuition around 15K usd but I'm not in the states. I get charged to deposit cash...sounds crazy eh? With my bank plan I can deposit up to 20gs a month no charge after that it's something like 1.30$ /1000$ cash deposited.
Get a different account? A credit union, maybe? That's a ridiculously low amount... We don't do much cash, so not an issue yet.
What's the best make and model as far as used cars go? I currently have a 97 Nissan Altima that has treated me well. What other cars can last almost 20 years? Most cars will last that long if you do regular maintenance on them.
I've seen cobalts with 500,000Kms NO joke and civics with 200,000kms that have blown engines due to improper maintenance.
I'd recommend getting a car YOU like not what someone else thinks is best for you.
How does one acquire so many used cars? I'm lucky that I've made lots of connections with new car dealerships, so I get to buy off makes (i.e Gm will wholesale me a Ford on their lot). Local Auctions too (about 5000 cars for sale a week), but I don't frequent them as much any more.
Is this to suggest that if I were to look for a new car, I should sell my old one to a user car dealership instead of trading it in? In Ontario you get the tax savings. So if you trade in a car for 10,000 plus 13% tax you net 11,300. So basically you can to look at the market and see can you get more than 11,300 for your car to make it worth it.
Vice-versa, what are your thoughts on buying a used car from a used car dealership versus pre-owned certified at a (new car) dealership? Certified pre-owned (CPO) is 30% legit 70% rubbish. Before all the new car guys get mad at me, let me explain.
If it matters, and since you mentioned the R8, I have a 2007 A3 and I am eye-ing a pre-owned / used newer model Q5. So I'm looking at entry-level luxury cars (assuming that's not an oxymoron). When I bought my R8 I took it to the audi dealer paid 295$ and got a certified pre owned check list done, the car needed a couple things that they fixed. Therefore now I have a r8 that is CPO, now when I sell that car I can try and say its CPO but customers will tell me ONLY Audi can sell it as CPO and they will for a premium at that. Where the CPO does help some manufactures offer an extended warranty (2 years) for their CPO...basically compare the price of a regular certified one with extended warranty vs a CPO...if the prices are the same then go CPO if you can save a couple thousand then don't pay for CPO.
Does your dealership service the vehicles it sells? If not, where do you get it done prior to sale? We do not, that is something we are looking to add when the right opportunity comes up. because we are steady we work with 3 mechanics in our area and who ever can fit us in on that particular day gets the business.
Does a car dealership have any operating expenses outside of the norm that other business wouldn't have? ("normal" overhead I can think of include wages, rent, insurance, utilities) Advertising is my biggest expense. We sponsor local soccer and hockey teams. We have a pool for issues that arise after sale out of our control
I'm starting to personally buy and sell cars. Can you give me any advice in what to look for in a potential car to sell? I don't know where you're from, but if you are in Ontario you would be considered a Curbsider that could result in jail time and becareful for tax reasons.
Lastly I will buy ANY car on the money which means if you can buy it right, you can sell it.
But the generic answer would be honda/toyota.
How much capital was the initial investment for the dealership? Could you elaborate on its beginnings? Interested about entrepreneurship. 50gs Got a loan from my dad.
I used to work as a car salesman, learned the GOOD and BAD and decided I would use that to build my own company. Also used school smart and street smarts (selling in the past) to grow the business.
Wow, that's actually not a lot of capital! I thought starting a used car dealership would be at least a quarter mill. It was a very small operation, and it grew. Currently we have 600k in inventory
Convince me...what's the benefit of buying from a dealer vs. private party? Private party can tell you a history of the vehicle and at a cheaper price. What makes dealers so special? Dealer: (In Ontario) Has strict laws on what has to be disclosed, any accidents over 3gs, any 2 body panels replaced or repainted, any rental history, and frame damage etc... where private doesn't have to say anything! Private party can tell you anything unless they have receipts for any work done you'll never know. FOR the most part no different...let the best price win and in our area dealers generally have better price
Do you ever consider investing in some wacky inflatable flailing arm tube man to promote business? All my friends want me to, but I will stick to inflatable gorillas for now :) Kidding I don't have either.
But for a Promotion we did crush a couple cars with a hummer. Link to www.youtube.com
Haha, awesome. But now you have to crush the hummer with a bigger car... Might I suggest one of these: Link to youtu.be. I saw that video couple months ago.
I would love to drive The Marauder for a day, anything more than that would probably get annoying fast.
What's your best "used car salesman" joke? I'm going to be super boring and honestly say I don't have any.
Wait I just thought one Only person that call sell Snow to an Eskimo is a used car salesman.
How many prior owners did the dealership have before you bought it? Was it in good condition? I started it from scratch.
What's your best selling car? how are gas prices in Ontario? Because I am in GM town, we sell a lot of GM trucks and cobalts I can never keep enough Pontiac Vibes on the lot.
Gas is $1.20/liter.
Thanks for the input. Any reason why some dealers might prefer cash? My dad used to be one, but I can't remember his explanation. Before when there was a lot more margins you would take some cash to keep it off the books and not pay taxes.
Now the gov't can see I bought the car for 10, sold it for 12 If I took 3gs cash and sold it for 9 on paper. When/if I get audited how can I explain to the gov't that I'm in the business of selling cars cheaper than I buy them.
I see. His tactic was to offer full cash though. I guess if a dealer wants to risk getting audited it isn't really the buyers problem if the dealer avoids tax if they were just offering cash. Yeah I guess not... and bank financing has really been into play on the past 5 years with kick backs etc.
Do you have a 1990 honda crx? Its my favorite car and I cant find it under 3k. We don't but check Kijiji and craigslist.
What makes hold their value the best in the used markets? Honda/Toyota always seem to hold the best value.
I think wranglers also hold their values well. I bought my Unlimited in '06 for $28g. Unfortunately, it was totaled last month. It was valued at just shy of $19g. Edit: of course, their gas mileage is for shit. Lol. You are right Jeep wranglers hold their value pretty well and are in demand in the used market too.
My boyfriend also sells cars...mostly new cars but used ones too. December and so far January have been ridiculously slow not only for him but everyone at the dealership he works for - only one car out this month when he was averaging ten per month prior to this. I'm pretty worried about him. Is it normal to have such dry spells? And if so, how do you handle them? Very normal, Dec/Jan are typically the slowest months.
Where does he sell cars?
At Ford, in Montana. I would blame the weather but we're having an unusually warm month. Yeah,
Also all incentive programs start in Feb which gives a kick start to car sales.
How many cars do you sell a month? is your inventory financed or owned outright? how many cars on your lot? why tie up so much money in the R8? We do about 40~45 a month. Owned outright. We have about 60 retail pieces. Cause I've always wanted to own an R8. Lifes not all about money gotta enjoy some of your hard earned money sometimes.
Do you sell cars that have been in accidents? If so, how much can it affect the value of the car even though it's been completely repaired? Are there cartain cars or certain type of accidents making you decide to not touch a car under any circumstance? By law we have to disclose any damage over 3000$, however we disclose even a 1000$ accident customers are pretty understanding.
We don't buy and sell wrecked cars but we sold a lotus else with a 10g accident and repair at the time market price for the lotus was 50, and he bought it for 44...so he saved a little bit of money. On the flip side if it was a sunfire with a 10g carproof you can assume the car was pretty close to a write off.
I look at each car differently where on the vehicle was the accident was (a rear hit scares me less than a front hit)? When the accident was, if the car was 6 months old when the accident happened the insurance companies have to put new parts on it and if the car is now 5 years old, I would be content with that.
Overall we don't deal with alot of that market, but if a customer has a trade we will have to take it in.
How much concern do you have with Tesla trying to sell cars directly to the consumer? Doesn't bother me at all, I'm happy they are doing well and turning a profit.
But you sell used cars. Why would we believe anything you say? I'm trying to break the mould...but do your own research :)
How did watching Snake Plissken's "Used Cars" 1980 film make you feel? 1) Haven't seen it, will add to my list.
Last updated: 2014-01-20 15:17 UTC
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Article text: Web Pioneer Keeps Faith, and Cash, in Bitcoin

March 21, 2014 7:13 p.m. ET Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen is doubling down on bitcoin amid turbulence in the virtual-currency world, in a bet that widespread adoption of the currency will fuel the growth of new businesses and technologies.
Venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, where Mr. Andreessen is a co-founder and partner, has made about $50 million of investments in the area—believed to be more than any other firm—from a $1.5 billion fund, the firm says. The Palo Alto, Calif., firm plans to invest hundreds of millions of additional dollars over the next few years from other funds, people familiar with the firm say.
Bitcoin investor and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen. Bloomberg News
Mr. Andreessen says he is convinced of the bright outlook for digital currencies despite setbacks such as the collapse last month of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, one of the most prominent bitcoin exchanges, which said it lost hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency. "I'm completely unfazed and plan to invest more," he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
The move exposes Mr. Andreessen, best known for co-founding Netscape Communications more than two decades ago, and his investors to greater risks amid uncertainty over the future of bitcoin. The currency isn't backed by a government but recently has become popular among technology enthusiasts, trading at various times over the past year for less than $100 and more than $1,100. It traded Friday at around $580.
For all of Mr. Andreessen's enthusiasm, some bitcoin fans aren't thrilled with the interest by venture capitalists and worry about the encroachment of big business. Bitcoin allows users to transfer money—or other items, like legal contracts—without an intermediary such as a bank.
"You've got a bunch of bitcoiners and young libertarians who don't have enough confidence and life experience," says Cody Wilson, a founder of Dark Wallet, which seeks to enhance anonymity within digital-currency networks. "So they are being lulled into the [venture capitalist] set in California and New York. There's just not enough confidence to go against the grain and question the whole goddamn thing."
And there is skepticism among other investors.
"For 99% of people, bitcoin doesn't solve any problem they have," says Bradley Golding, a managing director at New York investment firm Christofferson, Robb & Co., which specializes in investing in financial companies and has decided not to invest in bitcoin-related companies. "Most people are comfortable going to their bank, making a deposit and using a credit card…It's a solution in search of a problem."
WSJD is the Journal's home for tech news, analysis and product reviews.
Turkey Wants Videos Off YouTube, Google Says No Only 11% of Twitter Users in 2012 Are Still Tweeting Turkey's President Joins in Breaching the Ban on Twitter White House May Case BlackBerry Aside Airbnb's Funding Talks Value It at $10 Billion Initially, Mr. Andreessen and his partners at Andreessen Horowitz were skeptical the world of virtual currencies held attractive investments. Even if they could discover ways to bet on the area, Mr. Andreessen figured it would be a challenge gaining the support of the firm's investors, including institutions such as Princeton University and the Ford Foundation.
Further muddying the picture for some conservative investors, many fans of these digital currencies were eager to replace governments and other institutions, and some proponents seemed to rely on digital currencies to enable unlawful activities.
By last April, however, Mr. Andreessen decided it was time to approach his firm's investors about bitcoin. He waited until the end of an annual meeting of Andreessen Horowitz's advisory board at the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel in Menlo Park, Calif., to broach the idea.
"At first blush, you're going to think we're out of our minds," Mr. Andreessen says he told the group of five investment firms on the Andreessen Horowitz advisory board, "but we're going to invest in a fake mathematical currency."
The comment met with stone-cold silence, before a brief discussion ensued. Some investors seemed intrigued, but many had little idea what bitcoin was.
Ultimately, Mr. Andreessen said investor resistance was less than he feared. Venture-capital firms have free rein to make almost any kind of investment. Their investors generally anticipate about half the investments will be losers, while some others will be home runs.
So far, Andreessen Horowitz has invested $25 million in Coinbase, which creates digital wallets, and a smaller amount in Ripple, a payment system, among other investments, according to Andreessen Horowitz.
Along the way, Mr. Andreessen has become one of bitcoin's leading evangelists, writing frequent articles and blog posts about the possibilities of digital currencies. This month, Mr. Andreessen sent Twitter messages calling bitcoin an "important tech breakthrough." He said that "the ideas stand on their own, the math stands on its own, the code stands on its own."
Bitcoin was developed in late 2008 by a person or group called Satoshi Nakamoto. It is an electronic currency that doesn't exist in a physical form. Bitcoin is created by "miners'' as payment for verifying bitcoin transactions using a complicated mathematical algorithm, a process that requires intense computing power.
Mr. Andreessen says bitcoin reminds him of the early days of the Internet.
"I'm having déjà vu," Mr. Andreessen says. Bitcoin is "weird and scary and nerdy, and it's full of scams and frauds, just like the Internet was."
Still, Mr. Andreessen says it took him years to appreciate the business possibilities.
He recalls reading an academic paper in 2009 about the launch of the bitcoin software, which seemed to improve on past related work, such as DigiCash, invented in 1990.
"I'm not a serious mathematician, but I know a lot of really good mathematicians and computer scientists and reached out to them," he says.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, Mr. Andreessen discussed bitcoin's development with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and others but still didn't think it was an appropriate investment.
Over time, Mr. Andreessen became convinced virtual currencies would enable a huge number of productive endeavors, raising intriguing investment possibilities that he and his colleagues hadn't considered. If an Internet user can transfer digital contracts, signatures, money or other property in a secure fashion, while avoiding the hefty fees of intermediaries such as banks and credit-card companies, bitcoin and other digital currencies will gain mainstream popularity, he says.
When Mr. Andreessen realized more participants would adopt virtual currencies, which in turn would lead to more acceptance, he decided his firm had to act.
"I realized it's a four-sided network effect—users, merchants, miners, developers," he says.
By last spring, it was time to approach Andreessen Horowitz's investors. Over lunch a few weeks after Mr. Andreessen's embrace of bitcoin at the Andreessen Horowitz meeting, Elizabeth Obershaw, a managing director at Horsley Bridge, a San Francisco firm that invests in Andreessen Horowitz, returned to the idea.
"Tell me about that little teaser," Mr. Obershaw, whose interest had been piqued, asked Mr. Andreessen.
Mr. Andreessen began explaining his firm's interest to Ms. Obershaw and other investors.
"I was skeptical," says Andrew Golden, president of the Princeton University Investment Company, which manages the university's endowment and invests in Andreessen Horowitz. But, he says, "This was a smart team telling us we need to look at it in a different way."
Like the Internet, bitcoin will emerge as an accepted technology, Mr. Andreessen argues, as it becomes more regulated and consumers and businesses become more comfortable with the idea of digital currencies. With those changes, he predicts, the subversive politics often associated with the currency will fade.
"We like fringe technologies but not fringe politics," he says.
—Michael J. Casey contributed to this article.
Write to Gregory Zuckerman at [email protected]
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[Table] IAmA: We sell cars at CarMax, ask us anything

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Date: 2014-05-21
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What would you suggest to a mid-20's person who still has their little student car (like a honda civic that'll never die) that wants to upgrade just a bit? Lots of factors for this question, starting with budget. If you want to trade in your car and have a few grand to put down, that would be an awesome downpayment on a ~$20k car. If you're wanting to use that amount to just straight up buy a car... Keep yours til it dies.
Personally, my car still runs just fine and there's no real issues, it's just a 1996 model and the paint's coming off the hood. I have a few thousand I could potentially spend plus whatever I get from my car trade in (I believe the Kelly Bluebook value is around $2800). What kind of cars should I be looking at to make a slight upgrade? But, in the ~20ish range, as previously mentioned I really like the Nissan Maxima. If you like American made the new Ford Fusion is very nice, especially in the titanium trim package. Hell, the higher trim package Honda Accords are very nice too. Lots of options in that range, but I'd have to know a lot more about you, your financial situation, and what you want to give you a good, customer focused recommendation
Do your salesmen smell like they have been marinating their forearms at the perfume counter at Bloomingdales for a month? Personally, all of us contributing don't usually wear cologne to work. We do have one consultant that will about make you pass out every time they walk past with the overpowering smell.
Are they wearing suits like someone's Aunt just died? No suits at Carmax, thank god. Polo and khakis/shorts for most of us. It would suck working summer in a suit.
On average, is the average salesman's hair oiled more or less than the average block-piston of one of your cars? Again, for the most part no products for us answering. But again, there are culprits, and it's not a good look.
When your salesmen make your customers grab their socks on a purchase, is it just a little bump, or do they bang the customers heads against the showroom ceiling until there are head-prints? As much as I sometimes wish that was the case, we actually try are absolute hardest NOT to screw people. CarMax, as pertaining to both consultants and as a company, makes very little off each car sale. We just make up for it in volume. Also, commission isn't based on a % of the vehicle, so I don't care if you buy a $7k or $70k car - I'm making the same amount. Tl;dr light tap at worst, usually just a longing gaze.
Regarding the no-haggle pricing. If there is a car I want to buy from my local Carmax for almost $12,000, and KBB says a fair value of the car is only $9500, does that mean I can just offer you guys $9500 and you'll accept it or does it mean that you'll only accept the $12,000 listed price? It will be $12,000. KBB is a great place to start, but is by no means accurate all the time on car values. Same with when people say their trade in is worth X amount according to KBB. Honestly, probably 75% of the time people don't enter their info into KBB accurately, which exacerbates the problem. Don't even get me started on NADA.
I would venture that KBB is much more 'accurate' in terms of the actual value of the car than the dealer mark up price. I would venture that KBB data can be months out of date, doesnt take into account conditions like season/location that can have a large impact on value, can be affected by things like a dealer offering more for a car because it was traded in (they get their data from dealers), and when it comes down to it, KBB is an estimation of what you might get for your car. We are giving you a written offer saying we'll hand you a bank draft for that amount, today.
The most reliable, sporty car that your money is worth? Reliable and still being sporty in what price range? I'm gonna say probably something like a Nissan Maxima for the average person. The SV trim package had a ton of options (leather, heated seats, back up camera, Bluetooth, satellite radio, sunroof, navigation, Bose speakers), and the v6 puts out 290hp. Pretty quick, and the paddle shifters are fun.
I have to disagree. After having worked on 05-06 Maximas that had a transmission made by, what I assume, was the lowest bidding glass manufacturing company in North Korea I just can never recommend a Maxima to anybody. And they make them in my home town too :( Let me rephrase: newer Maximas. Also they do have CVTs (continuously variable transmission), which requires trans fluid changes about every 30k miles as opposed to the 80-90k recommended for most vehicles.
"Regular" Dealerships that are near CarMax generally will say, "We have already lowered our prices to compete with CarMax, we cannot lower them anymore." What is your take on that? My take is that we sold 522,950 cars last year, and regular dealers can't compete with us. We have the market cornered on well maintained, newer, low mileage used cars.
That being said you can get good deals on used cars that are outside of what Carmax sells (older than 2003 or over 130k miles). I bought mine from a small mom and pop type place and got a great deal, just have to know what you're looking fohow to bargain. The larger dealers that sell used cars though don't stand a chance.
I was told that you guys make zero bonus on selling cars. You just have to meet some monthly quota. How true is that? Does the quota ever go up or down? Seriously, no bonuses? Nope, no quota. We all work on 100% commission, we don't get hourly or a salary. We make a flat commission per vehicle, doesn't matter what we sell. I really like that as a sales person, so that when I make a recommendation it's something I feel is beneficial to the customer, not just trying to up sell for the paycheck. We can make a higher (flat) commission if we maintain high selling numbers for several months at a time, but you have to maintain that. Pretty much the harder you work the more you make.
Isn't the carmax model to not be like regular dealers? We aren't like other dealers! I wouldn't say that's our entire business model, although we definitely do put the customer first and try and make the car buying experience as simple as possible so.. maybe it is haha.
What would you say is the ratio of people who look online and pick what they want and buy that vs people that come to the lot? I would say about 70% of my customers have at least done some kind of research online before they step foot in the store. And then of course we've got people that come in and just want to walk the lot/kick tires, since we don't force you to be accompanied by a sales consultant at all times like most dealers. Also all of our vehicles are unlocked so you can get in them and check em out without us there, which most people seem to love.
Do all the cars have a sticker price? Yes, all vehicles have the year, make, model, mileage, features, and price clearly printed on the sticker.
Is there any way to get below sticker? No way to get below sticker unless you work here ;)
Are you familiar with Doug DeMuro's reviews of CarMax's warranty program on Jalopnik? Is so, what are your thoughts on his reviews? Do you find the warranty to be a good value? Great question. I hadn't heard of his reviews until just now actually and went and read them.
In my opinion, maxcare is the best extended service plan in the business, period. It covers more, costs less, and is extremely up front about what is and is not covered. Personally I sell maxcare at about an 80% clip, but even company average is over 60%. You'd be hard pressed to find people buying another extended service plan at that frequency. When my next vehicle comes from Carmax, I will definitely be purchasing it.
My concern is the constant fight with the dealer about what is a "wearable part". That makes me never want to buy into a warranty. What's the point if you aren't going to fix it? Maxcare is very clear cut on what it does and does not cover. As in, lists exactly what it doesn't cover, and anything not listed will be covered, period. It's extremely easy to understand
True that when you buy a car to be re-sold, one of the first things you do is put new tires on it and sell the old on the used-tire market, even if they're almost new? Good question, definitely not true. The state requirement for tread depth varies; in our state it is 2/32nds of an inch. CarMax doubles that to 4, and it is RARE to see tires that worn on cars we plan to retail. We will only replace tires if it doesn't meet standards; I've sold a car that's tread was right at 6/32nds before.
Do all CarMax's have ridiculous quantities of Porsche Panameras or is it just my local one? Just the local one. We have a lot of... Fiestas? :/
Sounds like a festive work environment. But seriously, at least 15 Panameras on site. I'm gonna guess you either live in California or Florida
Any idea why there isn't a carmax store in New Jersey? No idea. But Carmax expands every year, maybe soon! Us worker bees aren't usually privy to that type of info until it's imminent.
Also would it be difficult to buy a car from you guys out of state and then register it here? (New Jersey) Not hard at all! You will simply pay your state sales tax at time of purchase, which may differ from the one you purchase it in.
Lastly, how is the extended warranty price determined? Our extended service plan, maxcare, is priced entirely by the vehicle it is covering. Simply put, a newer, lower mileage vehicle will be less expensive to cover than a comparable older one. Further the cost of fixing the vehicle is taken into account (BMW is more expensive to fix than a Honda), and what kind of reputation the vehicle has for needing repairs. The best deal is usually on Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Kia, Hyundai. The absolute worst? SmartCar. We sell them for around 10k and the service plan is something like 5-6k, because they do not have a great rep and they're expensive to fix a lot of the time.
That what I was hoping for. You guys sell warranties for some silly silly cars. I'm going to take advantage of that when my lease is up. [edit: and by silly cars I mean things along the lines of BMW //M5 and Audi RS anything. ] Honestly, even on those cars I would take maxcare if I was the one buying it. I have owned an m3, and I have paid to fix it. Literally use the plan once or twice and it's already paid for itself. Good luck finding a car after the lease is up!
What car would you recommand as a pussy magnet? C63 AMG. Big fan. Link to www.carmax.com
I need something with AWD though. Currently I have a g35x. It fairs well. I got you. Porsche 911 turbo: Link to www.carmax.com
Or Audi S5: Link to www.carmax.com
It's kind of offensive that they had to stick the CarMax logo on the rear decklid. It's on every one of our vehicles. It's really easy to remove though!
What's your worst type of customer? From a fellow consultant: Typically, when that shiny, clean, 2011 Ford F250 Superduty pulls onto the lot we all cringe. Truck clients have gained a stigma for being the most unrealistic customer that steps foot into our dealerships. "I want a 2013 Silverado 1500 with no more than 20k miles for under $15000"... Yeah, so do we all. Take a hike champ.
Couple answers. First, people that come in having done (bad) research on what their car is worth, and blast me when they don't like the realistic value of what their car is worth. Again, NADA is the worst.
Next, people that come in really wanting to bargain and get offended when I tell them we have no haggle pricing - we advertise the heck out of it, you'd think they'd already know.
Finally, people that are extremely unrealistic about pricing. They want a car under 10,000 miles, newer than 2013, with leather and a sunroof, and it needs to be under $10,000. Sorry dude, we sell used cars not unicorns. Those are also the ones that will call back after the fact to tell me they found that at billy bobs used cars, only to later find out it has frame damage.
How would you recommend people keep from rolling debt from one car into the next? Would you say that the best option is too buy a car with cash in hand and drive it for as long as possible before trading it in? Pay it off before you sell it. Or at the very least, pay enough such that your car is worth more than the payoff. Rolling negative equity isn't the worst ever, but make sure whatever you roll it into will be something you want to keep long enough to pay off. And get GAP insurance for sure if you are rolling negative.
Okay. Just want to make sure that I am on the right track now. I rolled negative equity through multiple cars and ended up with a 35K brand new GTI (10K over sticker, dumb i know). Well I have paid off the car and the extra debt and now I have a 2012 GTI with a lil work into it. I assume the best thing to do at this point (financially) is drive it until the wheels fall off? Financially, yep. Definitely.
What demo are you currently driving? Demos are only for managers and sales consultants that are selling at the highest level/have been with the company a pretty long time. I'm not a new hire, but I definitely haven't been here long enough to qualify for a demo :/ My manager was rocking a Cadillac CTS4 earlier.
Sad...I was disappointed by the choice in demo of my recent CarMax sales guy...a Buick Enclave. Not that it's bad, but so many better choices. Yeah, enclaves are nice enough on the inside I guess, but definitely not what id pick. They do have price constraints on what they can demo though, so you won't see anyone working at Carmax demoing something insanely expensive haha.
Is there anything you can suggest doing last minute to a car before bringing it in to sell? Sure. I'm not an appraiser, we actually have a separate department for that, but I entepresent appraisals to customers so I'll give you what tips I can.
We tell customers that as long as there's no damage/nothing wrong that the appearance of the vehicle doesn't matter, and maybe sometimes it doesn't. But in my experience if you get all your crap out of the car and give it a wash, you might get a little extra (think hundreds, not thousands). You wouldn't belief the disgusting vehicles people bring in - it's always nice appraising something that doesn't look like a family of hoarders uses as their trash bin. Also, our appraisers will drive the vehicle a short distance to make sure the tranny/engine are ok, and putting them in a grossed out or bad mood from all your crap will not help your cause.
Tips on bargaining on a car? Absolutely! The best tip I have: don't bargain. Come to CarMax, we do no haggle pricing on vehicles so you always know what the lowest price is up front ;)
Edit: just to be clear, we just don't bargain. Most customers hate that part of car buying and never know if they could've gotten a better deal. Since we eliminate that and are extremely transparent in all of our associated car buying costs, customers can know exactly what they're getting for exactly how much up front
I never knew carmax had the no haggle policy. Next time I am looking for a car I will definitely check them out. I hate the negotiating part and if I can get the same deal or pay even a little bit more not to deal with it at carmax I would buy from you. Yep that's how it works! We have a gigantic sign inside that says "the way car buying should be," and it's true!
A few months ago I was looking to buy a car from Car Max "No haggle" the obviously let me walk because i wanted to talk it for lower. I ended up going to an official dealer and getting the same type of car 2 years newer and less miles for about 3k cheaper. Do you really think the "no haggle" thing is worth it? Unequivocally yes. We get a lot more customers than we lose off of no haggle pricing. And yeah, we won't ever haggle with you. If we haggle with one person, we're just lying to everyone else, and then what else would we lie about?
Thoughts on the 2013/2014 Kia Optimas? I'm thinking they're my best "next car" after having my '98 Toyota Tacoma for the past 12 years. (2nd owner). What are some best alternatives? I think the Optimas are AWESOME. Kia and Hyundai give you a lot of car for what you pay vs a lot of other brands. Satellite radio, bluetooth, and heated seats are very common options even on base models. Especially at carmax - hell, we had a 2013 with 9k miles, hybrid, good options, for 19k. Hell of a price. Equivalent to the Optima, check out the Hyundai Sonata (Kia and Hyundai are the same company). Other than that, you're probably looking at paying a little bit more for an Accord, Camry, or Maxima.
On a different tangent, maybe look at the Ford Fusion or Chevy Malibu. The newer American made cars are much nicer than people are giving them credit for, and because of the American auto industry's poor rep the past few years they are also selling cars at less than they probably could be. I would feel comfortable buying either vehicle.
How can your company sell a used 2010 Ford Ranger for $19,000 with say, 30k on the odometer, all the while knowing that the consumer can walk across the street and get a brand new Toyota Tacoma for $18,000. Do car companies realize this is frustrating for the consumer? Kind of hard to reply appropriately without actually seeing the comparison, but a quick search on the Toyota website and Carmax.com shows me that if you're getting a Tacoma for 18k, it is absolutely base model, 2 door, 2 wheel drive, and that Rangers in that price range tend to be crew cab 4wd. So that's an apples to oranges comparison.
But also, like I said, you can get good deals at other places sometimes, we aren't always the best. You also have to live with the fact that when buying new, you lose about 15% of what you just paid as soon as you drive off the lot.
How often are you the best? I don't know if I could give a really accurate percentage, but I would very confidently say more often than not. Personally I'm just not an advocate of buying new, and will always buy used (I thought this way before working with cars/at Carmax). As mentioned before you just lose too much after driving off the lot, and it's a lesser amount buying used. Plus you can get more car for the same amount of money. It's just a win-win.
What do you know about what they do when they buy a car? If something happens to a car that you sell does it come back? How often does that happen? So actually, one of the really awesome things CarMax does that I'm not aware of anyone else doing - you have 5 days to bring back the car for any reason whatsoever. Hell, you don't have to have a reason, bring it back within 5 days and you get all your moneydollars back. After that, we also give you a 30 day limited warranty which will cover anything wrong with it in that time period, and obviously if there's factory warranty or you purchased maxcare that goes into effect after. I've only probably had 3 returns in the past 3 years, and 2 of them were old people that their children forced them to stop driving haha.
Say I'm looking for a decently specific truck and having a hard time finding one. What options do I have in regards to finding one from you guys? Talk to your local sales consultant and tell them exactly what you want. Chances are we can find it for you; we have 42,000 vehicles in our inventory. If we don't have it currently we get new vehicles in daily, we can build a vehicle search and continually look until it's found. I just spent 2 months finding a guy an almost new SRT8 Challenger in Plum Crazy Purple. Was the only one in the country we had when it popped up, and we had it shipped up here. Depending where the one they find is, you may not even have to pay to transfer it!
What's your pick for a good entry-level luxury sedan, both used and new? Entry level? Probably something like a BMW 328 or Acura TSX. Next step up just go to the 335, or Mercedes C300. For even more affordable, the VW CC Lux is pretty nice
I have not had a great experience with TSX. I think Acura sacrifices a lot of quality for that particular model. Plus frequent brakes issues are apparently a known problem in recent years. The MDX and TL are different stories. Actually I'm glad you said this. I was thinking TL and typed TSX. Yeah, I'd also go with the TL.
We have the 04 TL. I hate the way the newer gen TLs look. What's your opinion on the 04-08 TL vs new gen TL looks? I like all of em :/ the newer ones are different but still really nice, and fun to drive.
Is there any interest in selling things that are not cars? Tanks, helicopters, warthogs, etc. Any interest personally? Sure why not. Sales is sales, doesn't really matter what it is. Now that you mention it.. I'll sell the hell out of airplanes or yachts, that sounds awesome! Tanks too.
Did you guys go out? Nooope. She was... how to put it delicately... Larger. And had a kid that was like 8. Easily one of the most awkward conversations I've ever had.
Can you guys leave us the f*ck alone when we go in there? You have the store designed to make it impossible for someone to just go in and browse. I ended up buying my car somewhere else because your salesman wouldn't let me just take 10 mins to look around. That's pretty weird. I mean yeah, we have the store set up such that you need to walk through it to get to the lot, but we let people browse all the time. The only reason we do that is so that everyone gets talked to so we can at least ask if they do want help. I can't tell you how many people will go hop the gate, and then come inside angry because nobody came outside to chase them down. But personally, and I can speak for all of us contributing - if a customer wants to browse, we'll definitely let them. We'll just check in every 10-15 mins to see if we can help out. Sorry you had that experience, but congrats on the new ride!
Glad you guys are here. Great ad pitch for you, and I learned about a possible way to get my next car. Looking for a fun SUV in the 35-45k range with low miles. I am currently looking at GC or 4Runner. Thoughts? Well... you're talking to a guy that drives a 4Runner, and I am hugely biased. So go buy a 4Runner.
Seriously though, 4Runners are AWESOME vehicles. They're pretty much indestructible, get fantastic MPG for a vehicle that size, are extremely off road capable even bare bones stock (you are getting 4wd, ARENT YOU?), and they have a party mode button. Whats that you ask? A "party mode" button you say? Yes dear friend, I said party mode button. The newer 4Runners have a button, clearly labled with PARTY MODE that turns on the amp/sub and makes your speakers sounds better. Total gimmick, and I love it.
In actual mechanical sense, Toyota knows how to make a truck/suv. They make great cars too, but especially trucks and SUVs. Anecdotal evidence: we appraised a 2007 Toyota Tacoma with 950,000 miles. ON THE ORIGINAL ENGINE. Yeah, apparently all this person did was drive, but seriously - almost a MILLION miles on one engine. If that isn't a testament to quality, I'm not sure what is.
If you have any other specific questions about 4Runners/Tacomas I'll be happy to answer!
950,000 miles on an 07?! WTF did he get for it? $0.99? We told them to take to it Toyota because that had to be some kind of record haha.
I think Toyota might use that person's story and car as a marketing ploy and perhaps give him a new Toyota for free. That's what we said, and I sincerely hope so!
What do you all like to do for your free time? In the state I live, I go hiking in the mountains and take pretty frequent beach trips. But I mean other than that, normal stuff I guess? Haha I play league of legends with buddies, and we go out together pretty frequently to toss a few back. Some days it's a necessity after certain interactions haha. After a good pay period we will go hard.
But the reality is that CarMax still needs to make a profit/commission for every car sale so with the "no haggle" the cars aren't really priced at the lowest possibility because CarMax still needs to make money which is fine but without the haggle how can a buyer really be getting the "BEST" deal? Best deal as compared to the competition. You aren't buying a car from a dealer at cost, no matter how good you are at haggling. Also, Carmax makes a smaller profit margin than most dealers, but we make up for it by selling a LOT of vehicles. Both as a company and as individual consultants, we make our money in volume of sales, not big margins on each sale.
Can I buy a car from you using Bitcoin? Oh man I hope so. Never heard that question. I'm not at work but I'll find out
I'm test driving what my become my first car purchase on Saturday. No CarMax near me, I'm afraid. The Carfax report indicates that this vehicle was involved in a minor accident some time ago, and (apparently) as a result, the dealer is offering it for $17k instead of the KBB value of ~$25k for the same car in pristine order. This dealer has a good reputation, but even so, what can I do to make sure that the damage has been properly repaired? If you have a mechanic friend I would take them along to look at the vehicle, or ask the dealer if you could take the vehicle to an independent mechanic for inspection. That sounds a little fishy to me.
Usually a price drop that drastic would indicate frame damage to me, aka damage to the skeleton of the vehicle, which will greatly impact the value of the car. Unfortunately, carfax doesnt report everything, and while autocheck (what we use, very similar) reports twice the incidents carfax does, its not foolproof either. Definitely take along someone that knows what they're looking at. If you don't know anyone, try and get under the car and look for spots along the frame lines that appear to have been welded. Don't forget to open up the hood and trunk and check those frame rails too.
Let's say I'm looking to sell/trade-in a 2001 Lexus IS 300 at the end of the year to get a new car. It looks great and runs fine, but the catalytic converter needs to be replaced. How much lower would the value of it drop? Or would you not even consider purchasing it? Would I be better off trying to sell it myself, selling it to Carmax, or trading it in with the dealer I'm buying the car from? Go get a quote from the dealer you want to buy a car from, then go to carmax and see what you get. If it's better, take it, if not, then go back to the dealer.
This is the first I've heard of CarMax. Is there a different process for selling to Canadians? Or are you even allowed to sell to your brothers north of the border? I am 100% sure you could come to the US and purchase a vehicle, although I'm not sure how sales tax/registering the vehicle would work. I was fairly certain we had some CarMax stores north of the border, but I may be mistaken on that one.
Plans for carmax Canada? Please? I thought we had CarMax in Ontario = maybe I'm wrong, I'm a pretty long ways from Canada so I may be ill informed
Is it true you get paid on fixed commission? Does this also mean you have a fixed gross margin? Yes we do get paid on a fixed commission. Lots of positives in that, for both the salesperson and the customer.
As far as I can tell, there isn't. Just dealerships using the Car Max as their name. Doh. Sorry guys. Hopefully soon!
Why buy an used car when i can lease new car + get a new one for free every few years? Because when you lease a car it's never really yours. You don't own that vehicle. That's like asking why buy a house when you can just rent the rest of your life? As someone with a paid off vehicle that doesn't have monthly car payments to deal with, it's a really nice feeling! And even better knowing that when I want something new, I have a few thousand of positive equity to work with.
People tell me that selling a car to Carmax is the easiest thing in the world since you guys literally buy anything and give pretty good money for it. What's the policy on cars with mechanical problems (in my case, coolant issues that I don't want to drop any more $$$ on getting it fixed)? We will buy literally any car. If it has mechanical problems, if you come in and we can identify it or you have documentation showing whats wrong, our buyers will look at the vehicle, assess what the price would be fully operational, and then subtract our cost of fixing it, pretty straightforward.
I recently had a 2003 Honda Odyssey appraised and apparently the drivers side door was not the original and we never had an accident. How do you guys find that out? For a door its pretty simple, they will have a VIN number matching the vehicle's VIN, and apparently your door didnt match. also, the appraiser will check for rough paint (evidence of recently painted, overspray) and things like that to tip them off
Just wondering, do you mind taking someone for a test drive, even if they no intent on buying the vehicle anytime soon? I am very curious about a certain car, but cannot afford it anytime soon... thanks... Nope not usually, unless the person is particularly strange or wastes a ton of time. Even if you're not planning to buy for awhile I'm usually very happy to help in any way I can.
Strangest customer interaction, GO. From a fellow consultant: we constantly deal with oddball situations. However, one that is fresh in my mind is a gentleman who claimed we had driven his car "too hard" on a test drive. In full biker gear he stormed back in the next day and made random threats at our staff... Fairly intense day.
For mine, I've worked at a couple different stores. The worst was definitely being on a test drive with someone that was currently on meth. Yep, that happened. Also, there was a time a (much older) woman waited an hour while i was with another customer so that she could ask me out.
Billy Bob's has terrible cars. Jimmy John's is where it's at. I heard their cars are freaky fast... Imsosorry.
I had a great experience when I sold my vehicle at CarMax, but it would've been even greater if my representative was an informed citizen of the internet. Glad to hear it! You might be surprised how many of us are. After all, when it's a slow day we spend lots of time sitting around if we aren't doing follow up haha. A lot of us spend that time on reddit.
Last updated: 2014-05-25 23:05 UTC
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