Consumers buy everything online, from make-up to mattresses, and usually, they’ve only seen a photo or video of the item.
Buying ‘unseen’ is fine for smaller and new purchases but when it comes to big-ticket items, especially something that’s pre-owned you’re taking a big risk. Most would agree that some things are best bought in-person and a used car is definitely one of them. Here are 4 reasons not to buy a used car online.
1. You don’t know what you’re getting
Buying a new car online is a different ball game than buying used. New cars roll off the assembly line in pristine condition so there’s no need to worry about possible issues; the cars are identical (except for the colors and extra features) and it can be delivered to your local dealership for you to pick up.
With a new vehicle you know what you’re getting into, there’s recourse if something is not right with your purchase and you’ll also get a warranty. There are no such reassurances when buying used online and you really don’t know for sure what you’re going to get because you haven’t seen it in person. You may well end up being lumbered with a lemon. Why take such a chance –buying a used car is already risky enough as it is.
2. Shopping and buying used cars online is vastly different
By all means, do all your research and window-shopping online, everybody does this when they’re looking fora vehicle nowadays. Check out all the dealers in your area and see what they have to offer. Google your preferred make and model and see what results show up. Check out Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Visit sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to check on used car pricing.
But when you’re ready to make an offer, make arrangements to go and see the car so you can thoroughly look it over yourself, get it checked out by a mechanic, and take a test drive. There’s really no online or virtual substitute for your personal inspection of used cars. If you buy it blind online it could prove to be a very disappointing and costly purchase.
3. You don’t get to meet the seller face to face
Our intuition is a great asset, when you meet people you often just get a feeling or a vibe about them, and sometimes you can just pick up on whether or not they’re trustworthy. A face-to-face meeting with a seller is therefore a huge part of the car buying process. You can’t tell what a seller is like online, you probably won’t even find out what they look like unless they agree to ‘meet’ you on FaceTime and they offer to give you a virtual tour of the car.
4. Delivery can take longer and shipping is expensive
If you purchase a car online and haven’t viewed it in person, chances are it’s coming from out of town or out of state, so it may take some time to be delivered and you’ll be paying high shipping costs. You must decide if the extra cost is worth it, whether you’re comfortable not seeing or test-driving the car, and if you’re happy to wait for it to be shipped. If it’s coming from another state regulations could differ and paperwork could be tricky, so these are also possible complications to consider.
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