But a growing number of used-car buyers are finding attractive deals online, which sometimes means committing to buy a vehicle before you’ve even seen it.
The Internet has made it possible and practical to expand your used-car shopping to nationwide dimensions. And shopping online offers unmatched convenience, selection and value – all without pressure to make your decision on the spot in the dealership.
Buying a used car online, however, is a lot different than the online purchase of books, music or movies. The process involves far more variables. Here are seven secrets to successful online used-car shopping:
Learn the vehicle’s history
When you buy a used vehicle from online sites such as eBay Motors, Yahoo! Autos or AutoTrader.com, you probably won’t get to see and drive the vehicle before you commit to the purchase. A vehicle history report such as AutoCheck, offered by Experian Automotive, can help provide information critical to making a smart decision. Log on to www.autocheck.com to learn more.
Complete transactions through the purchase site
If you find a used car online, be sure to start and finish your transaction through the website. Doing so will afford you all the protections and assurances offered by the site.
Know what you’re buying
In addition to reviewing a vehicle history report, ask for additional photos of details such as the odometer reading, vehicle identification number and scratches or blemishes if they’re not already revealed in the listing. Ask a third party to inspect the vehicle for mechanical or safety problems.
Check out the seller
What kind of feedback does the seller get on the marketplace site? Read the seller’s ratings and comments.
Review the vehicle title
If it appears to have been altered in any way, reconsider your decision to buy.
Keep your feet on the ground
If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Common sense and patience can be two of your best buying tools.
Know your legal options
If you encounter fraud during the process of shopping for a used car, consider filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at <a href="http://www.ic3.gov">www.ic3.gov</a>.
Shopping for a car isn’t unlike shopping for clothing, a vacation package – or even a house. Take reasonable precautions to ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate seller, and take advantage of the secure processes offered by trustworthy and reputable online marketplaces.
– Courtesy of ARA Content