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Carvana v CarMax v Vroom
Old 12-07-2023, 07:51 AM   #1
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Carvana v CarMax v Vroom

I just sold a car a couple weeks ago, and thought I’d share my experience for anyone else so inclined.

To cut to the chase Vroom offered me $28.7K, CarMax $29.0K and Carvana $30.4K so obviously I went with the latter. The entire process including all the paperwork was done online with Carvana (Vroom too), whereas I had to go to CarMax for my appraisal price. I only went to Carvana to drop off the car, they want to confirm the cars condition, when all was said and done. It couldn’t have been more painless.

I’m sure their offers vary, so it’s probably a good idea to get a quote from several. I have sold a car to CarMax in the past.

Carvana put my car on their site for $4.5K more than they paid me, but I knew that would be the case, they are a for profit business. I’m not interested in risking a disgruntled buyer coming to my house after a private sale, YMMV.
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Old 12-07-2023, 08:27 AM   #2
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The entire process including all the paperwork was done online with Carvana (Vroom too), whereas I had to go to CarMax for my appraisal price. I only went to Carvana to drop off the car, they want to confirm the cars condition, when all was said and done. It couldn’t have been more painless.
Good to know. Carmax is good but sitting there for an hour or two - yuck. I would never want to drive around and do that at 3 of them. I'm a few years away from my next car, but I will always prefer to use one of these vs. trade with the dealer (they are never this good) or go private sale.
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Old 12-07-2023, 08:43 AM   #3
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I had a much better experience with CarMax than the others.

We took our 2018 Van to CarMax in 2022 and sold it for $32,000, more than we paid for it new and it took all of 45 minutes to get a check in hand. Vroom only wanted to give us $24,000.
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Old 12-07-2023, 08:46 AM   #4
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I sold a sweet old pickup truck to CarMax about 1 yr ago. I got the online appraisal and drove it to the lot which was across the street from the dealer that I purchased my new truck from. It did take over an hour for them to complete the deal. They drove it around the lot and cut me a check. I should've just left it and come back to pick up the check. I do like the CarMax setup as far as providing a quasi new car experience for used vehicles, but I am very thick skinned when it comes to dealing with car dealerships.

There are many car guys online that think Carvana has a broken business model and it seems they consistently pay more than the others. One guy reported he dropped his vehicle off and they did not bother to inspect it. They have been in trouble for not providing legit titles for vehicles.
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Old 12-07-2023, 08:47 AM   #5
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Good to know. Carmax is good but sitting there for an hour or two - yuck. I would never want to drive around and do that at 3 of them. I'm a few years away from my next car, but I will always prefer to use one of these vs. trade with the dealer (they are never this good) or go private sale.
Agreed, I did sit at CarMax for over an hour. I saw the appraiser go out to my car to look it over, she wasn't there for more than a few minutes and never drove it. I kept my eye on the car the whole time I was there. So I have to assume most of their evaluation was conducted using online sources.

CarMax insists on seeing the car before making an offer. Carvana makes on offer using online and seller info, with the caveat that if the car is not what it was represented as when you drop it off, you won't get the agreed on amount. That's way more seller friendly. And it discourages sellers from misrepresenting their vehicle.

Interesting there were 3-4 dozen employees on the floor at CarMax plus others in the back, I only saw 2 at Carvana. CarMax is a lot like going to a car dealer with the salesperson's shtick etc. (yuck). There is none of that at Carvana or Vroom.
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Old 12-07-2023, 08:54 AM   #6
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CarMax insists on seeing the car before making an offer. Carvana makes on offer using online and seller info, with the caveat that if the car is not what it was represented as when you drop it off, you won't get the agreed on amount. That's way more seller friendly. And it discourages sellers from misrepresenting their vehicle.
Still, they have to expect a lot of "nah it's worse than you think mate" conversations, as even an honest person will tend to rate their car better than it is. Just like everyone thinks they are an awesome driver.
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Old 12-07-2023, 09:03 AM   #7
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Totally agree with your findings. I skipped CarMax last time as it just wasn't worth my time to sit there for an hour. The other one I have had very good luck with is Autonation. They own dealers around the country. They paid several thousand more than other options on a nice car we sold a few years back. Extremely easy, online, and then drop the car at a specific local dealer where the check was waiting.
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Old 12-07-2023, 09:32 AM   #8
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Used Carvana and Carmax in the past; no complaints with either one.
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Old 12-07-2023, 10:16 AM   #9
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CarMax insists on seeing the car before making an offer. Carvana makes on offer using online and seller info, with the caveat that if the car is not what it was represented as when you drop it off, you won't get the agreed on amount. That's way more seller friendly. And it discourages sellers from misrepresenting their vehicle.

Interesting there were 3-4 dozen employees on the floor at CarMax plus others in the back, I only saw 2 at Carvana. CarMax is a lot like going to a car dealer with the salesperson's shtick etc. (yuck). There is none of that at Carvana or Vroom.
I did get an online offer from CarMax. That appears to vary based on the vehicle. I think they said I could go to any location within a week to complete the sale. When I arrived they confirmed the condition and drove it around the lot. Otherwise, my experience and impression of CarMax was similar to yours. I sold a 20 yr old pickup truck. Most dealers want nothing to do with a vehicle that old. They paid me 3x what the dealer offered.
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Old 12-07-2023, 10:17 AM   #10
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I did get an online offer from CarMax. That appears to vary based on the vehicle.
Good addition. For whatever reason CarMax said they don't see many 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SEL Premiums, wouldn't quote without seeing it first. Carvana and Vroom provided good quotes for my car...
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Old 12-07-2023, 10:20 AM   #11
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Good addition. For whatever reason they said they don't see many 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid SEL Premiums...
I bet they don't see many 2002 Chevy S10's either, but there must be a ton of data available for comps. I miss my little ol truck.
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Old 12-07-2023, 01:17 PM   #12
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A few years ago only contacted Carvana to sell my 2014 Cadilac CTS4. All was done online. Sent them pictures on all four corners as asked. Got good price. They came to house to pick up car and hand me a check. They did take photos of car before loading on transport. 10 minutes later check was verified by bank and credited my account

Will deal with them again when time comes.
In 2000 bought 1999 suburban 2500 from carmax. Was OK deal. Should see if they want to buy it back
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Old 12-07-2023, 02:46 PM   #13
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We’ve sold 3 cars to CarMax. I love that it’s all online except the drop off. You get an offer just by entering some details and some photos from my phone. Couldn’t be simpler.

I also sold one car to a local CarMax competitor in Florida. They’re literally across the street from each other and this place, Car Drop, does their best to beat CarMax. I got the online quote first from CarMax, took that to Car Drop, and they beat it.
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Old 12-07-2023, 03:17 PM   #14
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I absolutely detest car dealerships. I wanted a new(er) car. In August I found a 2023 VW Atlas Crosssport at Carmax with 4800 miles on it. It was down in southern VA about 5 hour drive. I had it shipped up to the local Carmax for I wanna say $200. The only issue was my trade in. My 2010 BMW X5 diesel was only worth $800 to them. I was seeing them online used for 7-9K. Mine had high miles (250K) and some other minor stuff. I ended up selling it myself to a BMW mech now auto shop teacher for $2900 with zero haggle. He knew it was a good deal. Carmax was OK. Spoke to me like I was a person who didn't know what I was talking about. For instance, the young lady (in AZ) was trying to tell me about state and local inspections. I live in MD and know all about the state and local inspections. On a basically brand new car those inspections (state only-no local) takes like 10 minutes. She was telling me a few days. Anyway, spent a total of 40 minutes in the dealership and was satisfied. I would use Carmax again. As noted by others I was surprised by the amount of employees. I saw maybe 20-25. Thought there would be fewer.
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Old 12-07-2023, 03:18 PM   #15
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^ IMO experience CarMax (and presumably others) don't want older and/or high mileage cars.
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Old 12-07-2023, 03:56 PM   #16
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^ IMO experience CarMax (and presumably others) don't want older and/or high mileage cars.
I sold a 14-year-old Camry to them in 2020. I don’t remember exactly but I know it was over 100K.
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Old 12-07-2023, 04:10 PM   #17
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There are a couple of local car buyers here that are across the street from CarMax. They have huge billboards and sign spinners to attract attention “WE BEAT CARMAX!” I went to one and they said to go across the street to Carmax, bring them the offer and they would beat it. They were using Carmax employees to appraise vehicles. Their office walls were papered with Carmax quotes stamped with their higher offer.
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Old 12-07-2023, 08:49 PM   #18
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I sold a car in 2018 or 19...



I went to Texas Direct and they offered me a whopping $1500... said the car was in an accident... it was minor and fixed well...


So, drove to CarMax and got an offer for $4500... sold it to them.. they put $8,000 on their site... like OP said, easy peesy... I am not going to waste my time trying to sell and there is NO WAY I am getting that $8K price...
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Old 12-07-2023, 09:28 PM   #19
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CarMax insists on seeing the car before making an offer. Carvana makes on offer using online and seller info, with the caveat that if the car is not what it was represented as when you drop it off, you won't get the agreed on amount. That's way more seller friendly. And it discourages sellers from misrepresenting their vehicle.
Interesting. We got a quote online from CarMax.

It was a 17 year old Jeep 130K miles. They handily beat the Tesla trade-in quote.
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Old 12-08-2023, 05:26 AM   #20
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When it comes to buying cars, CarMax gets great reviews. Carvana not so much. Many, many complaints. Our state even had to suspend their license for some franchise last year because they couldn't get the owners the title in order to register it. People were driving cars for nearly a year unregistered, and if they had to sell it, they couldn't.

No such complaints from CarMax.

The other buyers complaint you see for Carvana is that people get cars with a lot of undisclosed defects, despite the "inspection." Apparently what makes selling so great (online, and a quick look over) sometimes trickles down to the buyer. I.E. nobody ever really checked it out. Looks like Carvana depends a lot on the CarFax kind of services, which are not reliable if, for example, somebody has their car repaired "off the grid" after an accident.
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