Buying or researching a car online has been firmly established with sites like TrueCar, Autotrader, CarMax, Edmunds, and even eBay Motors. Now that more and more people are becoming comfortable with buying big ticket items online, a new wave of car buying — and selling — sites have popped on the Internet and are growing at a healthy rate. How are the new breed of automotive e-commerce sites different from the established players and how does that benefit the buyer?
For many who have experienced the old-fashion method of walking into a dealership to purchase a car — new or used, the process is tiring and time consuming. Sales people are either inattentive or too persistent, setting up financing is a chore, and the time spent negotiating a fair pair price is an exercise in frustration.
Today there are alternatives to buying a car without the time suck and aggravation of playing by car dealership rules. The new crop of online car-buying sites, who also happen to be more consumer friendly, are more open about the details involved with the buying/selling process and the condition of the product. In the case where a pre-owned car is being purchased, it’s always a good idea to get a free VIN report from an independent source such as VehicleHistory.com.
If you are willing to venture buying a car on the Internet from an established business, take a look at some of the websites below who aim to make the car buying process simple, transparent, and free of hassles.
Roadster Express – an online auto broker that works in cooperation with car dealers. They can complete the entire car buying process online in minutes, without any phone or email communication, and without you having to visit any car dealership. Also offered is a concierge service that means less work for you.
- Configure the car and instantly see the entire deal online, including fees and taxes
- Fill out an online credit application and schedule home delivery of the car
- Sell the trade-in car to the highest bidder within Roadster Express’ network of dealers and professional buyers
- Complete transaction paperwork online in 10 minutes or less
- A personal concierge is available to answer questions, address concerns, and to find a unique combination of trims and features not readily available
- Service is currently limited to California
- Inventory covers the most popular trim levels and colors, which are in high supply
- Cost of service $295 plus additional fees if the personal concierge service is used
Beepi uses a peer-to-peer format to connect buyers with sellers in a safe environment. Buyers describe exactly the type of car and features they are seeking, and Beepi searches its network of sellers to find the best match. All cars sold through the network must pass an 185-point inspection by Beepi. Once the right car is settled upon, Beepi will personally deliver the car with a free three-month/3,000-mile warranty and 10-day money back guarantee.
Costs associated with buying a car on Beepi include a delivery charge, and registration and processing fee that may be applicable.
Sellers who use Beepi’s services must have their car pass the 185-point inspection mentioned above. In return, Beepi promises to sell the car within 30 days or buy the car from you. The cost of selling your car on Beepi is free.
Beepi is currently set up to offer its full set of services in nine states with the ability to do a full walk-through by a Beepi inspector and prepare all the paperwork ready to sign upon delivery in six nearby states. Visit the website to see the coverage area map since the business is extending to new areas.
Carvana features a 360-degree view of the car that reveals its visual condition and cosmetic flaws. Prices listed for cars sold by Carvana can be compared with Kelly Blue Book for reference. Filling out the virtual paperwork and getting financing setup takes about 30 minutes. Once everything is approved, simply choose a delivery or pick up time, submit the down payment, and you’re done.
Most cars are delivered the next day, with a 7-day window to test drive. Every car sold by Carvana is certified with a 100-day/4,189 mile “worry free guarantee” and a 7-day “no questions asked” money back guarantee.
The online company keeps its physical inventory in Atlanta. Delivery charges increase with the distance to the delivery point. If a visit to Atlanta is planned, you can pick up the car from the automated “vending” machine
Vroom is a digital car store that wants to change the customer buying and selling experience. Their inventory is used cars but they are reconditioned to a stringent standard and they have current 2016 models with low miles.
The company allows people to buy pre-owned cars from their website, with no-haggle prices, no pushy salespeople, free delivery anywhere within the continental U.S., and seven days or 250 miles to drive their new-to-them cars — or return it for a full refund if not fully satisfied. Each car in their inventory must pass a 126-point inspection and are reconditioned to drive as close to new as possible. Additionally, every car in Vroom’s inventory must be accident-free according to a report by Experian. The report can be verified by a free VehicleHistory.com report by running the car’s VIN.
In addition to the no-haggle price of the car, buyers should be prepared to pay applicable state fees such as sales tax, title, and registration, plus a $125 documentation fee. The specific fees are itemized upon checkout and based upon the user’s zip code.
Since buying a car online is sometimes a leap of faith, Vroom offers a complimentary 3 month/6,000 mile limited warranty and one year of 24-hour roadside assistance. Most of the cars sold by Vroom are still under the manufacturer’s warranty, but they want to be sure the customer is buying with confidence.