With the ever growing online retail market, it is no surprise that car buying is moving online as well. There are a ton of companies online running virtual auto dealerships. Some of them are simply listing sites. That means a local dealership will pay an online company to list its inventory. You go on these websites, find a car you want to buy at your local dealership and make arrangements to go to that dealership to look at the car. Gone are the days of spending an entire morning and afternoon driving to different dealerships looking for the car you want to buy. Now, you can do it from the comfort of your couch. Then, all you need to do is go straight to the dealership that has your next car. This isn’t a terrible process as long as you follow the advice on our other pages and blog posts on what to look for when you are buying a used car: 7 Questions to Ask Before Buying A Used Car
Taking it a step further are the websites where you are able to completely purchase a car and have it delivered to your home. Talk about super convenience. No humans to hassle you, no long drawn out process of buying, you don’t even have to leave your home. These websites work by listing their available cars for you to inspect. You find a car you like, sign all of the necessary paperwork electronically, and set up a time and place for delivery. This is not a car buying process we recommend. That’s because you have no chance to review the vehicle before purchase. We can only hope that the advertised inspection process outlines on the websites actually happens. We are willing to bet that it does not. Sure, the online dealership provides you with a vehicle history report. However, give us a call sometime and ask how many used vehicles have issues that are never reported on the history report. Ask us how many vehicle have been in an accident that never showed up on the report until years later.
Some of the websites also give you a money back guarantee. You might see something like, “7 day, no questions asked, full return policy.” Again, while we hope it is that easy, we hardly doubt it is. Even local dealerships don’t make it that easy. Do you really think an online dealership, based in another state, who never has to see you is really going to make it that easy? We are skeptical.
What about their inspection process. Many of these cites say some of their vehicle are “Certified Pre-Owned.” Unfortunately, as we explained on our page about Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, that phrase doesn’t mean a lot: Certified Pre-Owned. For example, there is no standard certification process. Secondly, many vehicles are certified by dealerships when they won’t actually pass any multi point inspection.
Bottom line, we don’t recommend this kind of car buying. The old school process takes longer, but it is the best way to guarantee that you buy a good used car. And yes, there are good used cars. Online retail purchasing is really convenient, but not when you are paying tens of thousands of dollars. Take your time, inspect the vehicle, talk with a human, follow our 7 Questions, and you give yourself that best chance of avoiding a legal issue.
As always, if you are reading this article after your bought your used car, and you think you have a legal issue, give us a call for a free consultation.