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Experience buying vehicles via eBay?
Old 09-08-2007, 02:34 PM   #1
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Experience buying vehicles via eBay?

Several posters on other threads have mentioned less than favorable experiences buying vehicles through eBay. I have considered buying a car that way and would like to know the pitfalls, the benefits (if any) and your experience in general. Please share....

Thanks!
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Old 09-08-2007, 07:10 PM   #2
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Several posters on other threads have mentioned less than favorable experiences buying vehicles through eBay. I have considered buying a car that way and would like to know the pitfalls, the benefits (if any) and your experience in general. Please share....
If the seller is legit then they'll provide the VIN, and CarFax will tell you far more about that car than many owners will.

If you haven't selected a specific vehicle yet, have you considered Craigslist? That's much more popular in Hawaii due to the geographic constraints.

Your eBay/PayPal protection is limited, although you can achieve more financial payment protection (for a fee) through the use of eBay Motors' escrow services. Whenever I use PayPal I force the website to take the payment from my credit card instead of my (verified) checking account. If the eBay deal goes bad then I can get a chargeback from my credit card. Of course for a car purchase this may be impacted by a card limit.
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Old 09-08-2007, 07:12 PM   #3
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I have to agree with Nords - we're starting to really like Craigslist. We sold a pickup truck, a guitar, and a Fender amp within the last few months. We like dealing locally, and so far we have not had any problems with weirdos.

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Old 09-08-2007, 07:29 PM   #4
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My So and several friends have all bought cars from Ebay and no problems at all .They were all cars from dealers but at much lower prices not sure how they do that .Our car is a Dodge durango 1999 fully loaded with leather ,8 cylinder ,ABS , extra seat ,towing package ,etc. bought four years ago on ebay for $8,000.00.
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Old 09-08-2007, 07:38 PM   #5
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No experience with Ebay but second Craigslist, unless you are looking for something very special.
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:00 PM   #6
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I hadn't considered Craigslist, but just checked the listings in my area -- pretty impressive! And thanks for the reminder about CarFax -- I read about the numbers of cars that were flooded out in Katrina but somehow got new titles and were re-sold throughout the Midwest. The story mentioned CarFax as a way to check on this kind of issue as well.
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Old 09-09-2007, 06:38 PM   #7
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If the seller is legit then they'll provide the VIN, and CarFax will tell you far more about that car than many owners will.
Carfax is totally worthless. I have now inspected several cars that came up clean on carfax that had major dammage. I've also checked on cars I knew were in accidents that came up as being clean.


I would not buy another car from E-bay. My one purchase was from a Toyotal dealer in Texas. When I got to Dallas the car was not as promised.

1. It HAD been in an accident despite having a clean carfax
2. The windshield had a crack in it.
3. The car did not have matching tires.

Thankfully I had asked for a written and signed copy of the details of the listing and was able to get it all worked out. I will never be buying another car from e-bay.
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Old 09-09-2007, 06:57 PM   #8
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Ouch. Maybe buying local is the best after all. Anyone have any success getting a seller to allow you to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before you buy?
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Why Ebay?
Old 09-09-2007, 08:48 PM   #9
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Why Ebay?

I shopped ebay for several months for a classic car and came to the conclusion the risks and pitfalls were not worth it. Its totally different if you are buying from a DEALER on ebay, but those cars are not exclusively available through ebay.
There are too many pitfalls to mention, but to sum it up in a few words, its an AUCTION among unknown, unqualified buyers and sellers transacting business without seeing the goods. My opinion of Ebay's enfrorcement policies is very low, so its the wild wild west. Lots of folks spend lots of time finding the soft spots in the bid system, so unless you use Ebay with great regularity, you might not spot the problems. There are lots of things you can do to mitigate the risk, but it basically boils down to an inspection before you buy........unless you think the purchase is trivial.


In my case, I ended up doing a search on cars.com and similar websites and found three cars within 1 hr drive and ended up buying the one I liked best....it happened to be at a dealer.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:55 PM   #10
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Ouch. Maybe buying local is the best after all. Anyone have any success getting a seller to allow you to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before you buy?
You should be able to do that...otherwise, its a good sign to stay away. You can just ask the seller a question before you bid. I believe there is an inspection service that is available, but that would probably only ferret out major issues. The problem is by the time you pay the extra cost for inspection and transportation, the car is no longer a deal.....Buy local whether its ebay or otherwise.
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Old 09-09-2007, 09:42 PM   #11
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I have a friend who bought a car on Ebay a few years ago from another individual and had no problems. It was nearby enough that they went in person to pay for it and pick it up.
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Old 09-09-2007, 09:56 PM   #12
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I suspect it is pretty much a crap shoot regarding quality, honesty and reliability of vehicle listings on Ebay. Any potential savings would not be worth the risk of getting junk to me. If I cannot see it, smell it, touch it and kick the tires, I ain't buying it.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:40 PM   #13
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Carfax is totally worthless. I have now inspected several cars that came up clean on carfax that had major dammage. I've also checked on cars I knew were in accidents that came up as being clean.
I'm no CarFax shill, but I don't think CarFax can defend against those situations. It can tell if a vehicle's title has been salvaged (major damage, flooding) and it can tell the history of the car (rental fleet, numerous owners), and it can tell you if the seller is actually the owner.

If a driver doesn't report an accident to an insurance company, and if the insurance company doesn't "total" the car, then the title won't show any accidents/damage.

We're those kinds of drivers-- our '97 Altima spun out, rear-ended up a guardrail, and screeched to a halt on top (three wheels off the ground) with major damage to the rear strut and possibly the alignment. We fixed the worst of the damage and we've been driving the car for 26 trouble-free months since then, but we never filed a claim and it's never been officially reported. Of course we'd disclose all that and show a buyer what repairs need to be done, but I'd doubt that anyone would buy the car with the damaged fender & bumper. IMO the car has zero resale value but maybe a buyer will want it for parts.

We've used CarFax to check cars that seemed perfectly reasonable when we saw them in the parking lot and drove them. One had been salvaged (owner claimed ignorance), another had started life as a rental in Massachusetts and had five previous owners before coming to Hawaii (owner claimed ignorance) and another seller told us "Eh, brah, I wen take care of the car fo' my cuz make parole, yah?"

$19.95 for 30 days of unlimited searches seemed worth it.

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I would not buy another car from E-bay. My one purchase was from a Toyotal dealer in Texas. When I got to Dallas the car was not as promised.
1. It HAD been in an accident despite having a clean carfax
2. The windshield had a crack in it.
3. The car did not have matching tires.
Thankfully I had asked for a written and signed copy of the details of the listing and was able to get it all worked out. I will never be buying another car from e-bay.
Ouch. A couple of those experiences should put a dealer out of business, but I guess if the transaction wasn't completed then you couldn't give negative feedback. Hawaii car sellers seem to use Craigslist more than eBay, so I'm not sure we'll ever find out for ourselves.
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:01 PM   #14
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I have bought two vehicles on Ebay. The advantages were that I got the cars for a VERY good price, and that I didn't have to deal with any car dealers.

My recommendations to help you not get ripped off -
1) Use CarFax - it may not find everything but it's better than nothing
2) Buy from a dealer that has an impeccable rating
3) Have a local mechanic (easy to find on the internet) go check the car out for you and provide an extensive report to you before you transfer the money. This will also be your proof of any damage from the the transporters (assuming you have the car shipped)
4) You could also ask the seller to provide you the name of the previous owner so you can call and ask them about any issues with the car.
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:29 PM   #15
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We recently bought a used truck using the Minneapolis Craig's list. Got a good deal. The funny thing was that when we went to go check it out (150 miles from home), the seller knew who I was and knew one of my coworkers well.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:03 AM   #16
 
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I bought a car on e-bay. The only reason I did it was because the person lived near where I did. I like the car and was willing to buy it if I could take it to my mechanic to check it out. I did and it passed with flying colors. I paid half of the blue book price. I was satisfied with the car and my son now owns it.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:56 PM   #17
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I sold a car on ebay a few years ago. Was simply amazed at how fast it went, and that someone would buy my quite old car, sight unseen, and then drive up to pick it up. A smooth transaction though.

- John
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:40 PM   #18
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Thanks all for the input. As with any transaction, I guess it's important to do your homework!
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:01 AM   #19
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For a car purchase, I would want to inspect the car and drive it before the purchase. That would restrict me to a local purchase.
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:29 AM   #20
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I bought two cars that I saw on eBay. The first was a 1979 Chrysler New Yorker. Not exactly a hot collectors item, but I've always liked them. I had a '79 Newport, which is just a cheaper version of the same car, and for some strange reason, I missed it once I got rid of it. Anyway, I bid on the car and ended up being the high bidder, at a whopping $703.00. However, that didn't meet the seller's reserve. I emailed the seller, and found out he was a used car dealer that had a small lot in West Va, about 150 miles away. We talked on the phone, and agreed on a price of $900. However, this was really an off-eBay transaction. We agreed that he'd hold onto the car until I could get out there to look at it, which would just be in a few days. If I liked it I'd buy it. If not, no big deal, as it's not like someone's coming by 3 times a day to lust after a pimpy '79 Chrysler!

Well, I saw it, liked it, and bought it. It was reliable enough to make the 155 mile trip back home. I still have it, and have been happy with it. This past May though, while up in Carlisle PA for a car show, I saw another '79 Chrysler New Yorker at a gas station. I have a friend who lives nearby up there, and he said he's seen it there for awhile. He called the gas station for me and found out the guy was interested in selling the car. I ended up getting it for $500. It's in better shape overall than the $900 Chrysler, so maybe I overpaid for that one! still, I guess with cars that are that cheap to begin with, what's a few hundred bucks!

The other car I bought off eBay was a 1976 Pontiac Grand LeMans coupe that was in Cincinnatti, about 500 miles away. This was another situation where I was the high bidder, at around $2500, but didn't meet the seller's reserve. The seller sent me some extremely detailed pictures that pointed out just about every flaw in the car. We agreed on $3000. I mailed the guy a deposit check for $500, which I guess was taking a chance. But everything worked out fine. I had a friend ride out with me in my car, and then he drove it back while I drove the LeMans. I did get sort of a sinking, foreboding feeling after the deal was done thinking here I am, 500 miles from home, with a car that left the showroom when I was 6 years old...was this really very intelligent after all? Oh well, if nothing else, I had unlimited towing with AAA! And the car did make it back, no troubles at all. Not even that vapor lock that cars from that era can be famous for, where you turn them off for a moment at a gas station or rest stop after driving for awhile, and when you try to start it back up, it refuses.

Now if the car were some high-dollar collectible, like a GTO, Corvette, 300C (the REAL 300C, not this blingy badge-engineered Benz with the fake Hemi they sell nowadays), etc, then I'd DEFINITELY want to see the thing in person before just blindly agreeing to buy it!
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