Sell/Purchase your car over the Internet or go the standard route by visiting a dealership? With one of the highest internet searches being from car shoppers, and with the success of eBay Motors and Amazon, the online auto shopping war roars on. Today there are many companies trying to win car shoppers online with promise of lower cost, quicker turnaround times, and better finance options than going to the dealerships. Purchasing online will avoid pushy salespeople aggressively trying to sell you a car that isn’t necessarily the best choice for you, and difficulties of traveling between dealers to compare cars and prices.
When buying a car online, there are three ways: direct online sales, dealership aggregators, or car vending machine.
- Several dealerships now have online sales departments. The entire purpose of these teams is to sell cars to their website visitors. To take advantage of this service, simply ask the dealership for a quote on the car you are interested in buying directly from their website. The dealership will e-mail you back with its offer. Some dealership websites even offer live chats with online salespeople. You can also ask for the dealership to list out all the fees so you can get an exact sense of the total cost of the car. Go through this process with multiple dealers and you will be able to see who offers the best price without ever leaving your home.
- Most of the big name online car marketplaces are considered dealership aggregators. Dealerships throughout the country use such sites to list their inventory. Through these sites—such as autotrader.com—you can search for the car you want and find several results within your vicinity, or even throughout the country. With so many results at your disposal, comparing prices can be exceptionally easy. So the Cons… With Out-of-state dealerships, buying a car out-of-state isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should keep in mind that the car registration and titling process can be more complicated than if you were buying in your home state. Then there’s the question of if the dealer is too far for a trip, are you comfortable taking the risk of never having driven the car?
- Then theres the car vending machine method… With companies like Carvana and vroom.com, online-only used car dealer that allows customers to shop, finance, and trade in cars through their website. They usually offer free pick and delivery. We have heard many pros and cons with this method. For instance, with vroom.com, there’s reports of customers filling out online application forms and then waiting to get a call from the sales team when the paperwork is reviewed. Only to later, after getting approved, having to go through over two weeks of overnighting paperwork back and forth. But then there are wins like Carvana being reported to take only about 30 minutes for the entire process with no contracts being sent back and forth and no phone calls. Customers are allowed to drive the car around the block before the delivery truck leaves and Carvana gives care packages that includes items like interior wipes, a travel coffee mug, a phone mount for the air vent, etc.
Dec 4, 2018, CarMax announced that they are coming out with a “new customer-driven buying experience”. Launching first in Atlanta, Ga., with plans to scale nationwide, this will give CarMax customers the choice of buying a car from them using the car vending machine method. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: Source
The truth of the matter is buying online or at a dealership is going to depend on your shopping preference. Each has its pros and cons. Keep in mind that though going to the dealership could equal pushy salespeople aggressively trying to sell you a car that isn’t necessarily the best choice for you, we must be careful of online car-buying escrow fraud. For instance, a too-good-to-be-true ad on a site where private parties buy and sell cars, including such places as Craigslist or carsforsale.com… Don’t Be a Victim!