It’s a fact of modern life: more and more people are buying used cars online. Given the ease, convenience, and low pressure environment of buying online, this comes as no big surprise. Still, there is a lot of potential for fraud and deception in the online used car market, so it’s important to do your homework and buy smart. If you are considering buying a used car online, here are some things to consider.
First and foremost, you have to be sure that you are buying a real car and not some sort of scam. In order to do this, it is extremely important that you buy only from trusted, secure, and reputable online dealers. Many used car sales websites offer buyer protections that protect you from unsavory types seeking to take advantage of the anonymity of the online forum. Buying from a trusted website like drivetime.com ensures that you are getting what you see online.
You won’t be there to kick the tires before deciding whether the used car is right for you, which can be a big problem. Getting the car inspected by a mechanic is vital for a lot of used car buyers, and it can be stressful to buy without the comfort of that professional recommendation. Once again, reputation is key here. Buying a used car online is a good way to get a great deal, but you have to be very trusting of the seller, and only sellers with a proven reputation should be trusted in this way.
Used cars bought online are unlikely to come with any warranty, which can mean you are stuck if the car turns out to be a lemon. Some reputable dealers will offer warranties for online used car purchases, so try to seek those dealers out if you want the added protection that a warranty offers.
Some people think that the art of negotiation is impossible in an online setting, while others see it as an even more level playing field for consumers to haggle. Armed with all the knowledge of the internet at your fingertips, you are in a great place to know exactly what the advertised car is worth based on blue book value and other factors. In this sense, buying a used car online is a great advantage, saving you from having to walk onto a used car lot and onto the salesman’s turf.
Skeptics may say that there is no incentive to be honest about your dealings online, and so many used car salesmen will simply lie about the condition of the car or even its model and year. Certainly some unsavory types are always going to be there trying to take advantage of the system, but overall, used car dealers want to maintain a great reputation online to attract more shoppers. Doing your homework and picking a reputable dealer all but guarantees a great experience buying a used car online.
Have you purchased a vehicle online? How did your experience go?