Buying a car online can be the most freeing, cleansing purchase process of your life. Rather than waste your time, energy, and sanity sitting across the desk from a salesman in a stuffy showroom, you can easily navigate your car buying purchase from the comfort of your favorite chair. In your pajamas. This scenario has spurred more people to head online to purchase new and used cars than ever before. With each passing year, consumers feel safer with making online purchases, even large ones. When the first few online stores opened their virtual doors, Americans were skeptical of their security, and whether their credit card information was protected. Over the years, we have learned that for the most part, personal information is safe to share with secure websites.
In the beginning of web-based shopping, items that were unavailable to purchase from stores were bought online. Anything from a collector edition of a comic book on Ebay, to a new blouse from a boutique shop in Europe – Americans couldn’t get enough of the convenience of finding products and buying them online. Fast forward to 2016, and just about anything can be purchased through the web. Rather than buy items that can’t be found in stores, people are stocking their pantries with items like toilet paper, aluminum foil, rice, and paper towels via online marketplace websites like Amazon. The entire consumer landscape has changed, and that includes car buying. With so many great solutions available, car shoppers find themselves skipping over local dealerships like Kings Subaru, for more convenient options like online.cars.
Online Car Buying: Proceed with Caution
Rather than become the cautionary tale that your friends and family pass on to their co-workers and comrades, familiarize yourself with the online car buying marketplace. By completing a little bit of research, and putting in some elbow grease, you can safely secure your next new or used car online. Before you do, take a look at some points to keep in mind as you move forward. Five years ago, buying a car online might have seemed crazy. Today, it is a natural progression in consumer patterns that most American drivers have accepted with open arms. Discover some of the things you should keep in mind before you end up making one of the biggest purchases of your life on the world wide web.
- Use a Reputable Website: Finding a reputable website, or car buying service, can mean the difference between getting scammed, and getting an awesome car at a great deal. As convenient as online car shopping is, it can also leave you open and vulnerable to people with ill intentions. Head online to research different car buying avenues, or ask your friends and family which sites they have used in the past. If you live in the Cincinnati or Columbus area, online.cars is a highly reputable choice that is both convenient and easy. If you live elsewhere, research your market to see what is available. While it should be common sense, it is worth noting that Craigslist is NOT a reputable website! Sure, there have been a few successful car buying transactions on this classified website, but without any regulations in place, you are at the mercy of scammers. Keep your money safe, and avoid Craigslist at all costs!
- Avoid “Online” Dealerships: With so many people wanting to buy cars online, local car dealers are opening up “online” dealerships for their customers. While it may be more convenient to deal with a salesman over the internet, rather than in person, these setups are not considered web-based car buying services. Rather, they are a virtual storefront for their physical location. When you use this type of online dealership, you will still have to go back and forth with a salesman, finalize financing with the dealer’s finance department, and go into the dealership to wrap up paperwork. This process may save you a small amount of time, but it can lead to even bigger headaches than simply going down to the dealership, old school-style. True web-based car buying services allow drivers to go through the entire process virtually, up until the test drive and signing of the final paperwork. online.cars, for example, allows buyers to fill out a short online form, and the team completes the majority of the process without any back-and-forth exchanges. Prices are also more transparent, and are typically non-negotiable. For a true online car buying experience, skip local dealerships altogether.
- Test Drive BEFORE You Buy: There are a lot of web-based car buying services out there, and a staggering number of them won’t allow you to test drive a car prior to buying it. While this is hardly an issue if you are buying new, it poses a major problem for used car shoppers. It is easy enough to head into a local dealership and take a brand new 2017 Subaru Outback for a test ride before buying it online, but used vehicles have too many variables at stake. If an online car buying service wants you to buy a used car without first taking it for a spin around the block, consider looking elsewhere. This unpopular practice is what lead to the ultimate demise of Beepi’s online car sales platform, and is a major turnoff for drivers. With the reputable online.cars web-based car buying service, drivers have a chance to test drive the car they want to buy, prior to purchasing it, and without any financial obligation. Just another reason why Cincinnati area residents are turning to the newest online platform to buy both new and used cars.
- Don’t Send Money Without a Contract: One of the surest ways to be scammed out of your hard earned money, is to send it to someone promising to sell you a car in return. Unless the website you are using has phenomenal reviews from real customers, be wary of this type of practice. Anytime large amounts of money are exchanged online, there should be some form of a “paper trail.” If a website requests money from you, be sure to have something in writing detailing what the money is for, and what you are expected to get in return. If it is a refundable deposit, be sure that the language in your virtual contract clearly outlines this fact. A reputable online car buying service should never ask for your money, without some form of written agreement.
Rather than scour the internet for days seeking out a reputable online car sales platform, head over to the online.cars website and take it for a test drive of your very own. If you like what you see, great! With no obligation, you have nothing to lose, and a whole lot to gain.