Modern consumers are quite apt at purchasing items online. But a glaring exception is cars, according to recent reports. Interest is rapidly increasing for purchasing vehicles online by largely foregoing traditional dealerships. There are a number of e-stores that facilitate such trades. However, buyers are still unaware of the fine details regarding buying a car online.
It’s important to note that purchasing a new car online is rare. In the U.S., online retailers, including Amazon, don’t offer direct sales of unused vehicles. The reason for this is mainly state laws that demand all auto sales go through a dealer. The rules are less rigorous in Canada, where city cars classifieds are on the rise. Then again, certain practical concerns prevent the sales of new cars online.
Here are several tips buyers should keep in mind when purchasing pre-owned cars online:
Don’t Fall for the Invoice Price Trap
In the past, buyers relied on the “invoice price” to determine the actual price of a car. It was supposed to indicate the amount a dealer paid for a new car. The problem with that data point now is that invoice prices are highly inflated. Dealers may pay a massive amount to a car manufacturer, but the latter in return may offer certain “give backs” that hide the true value of a vehicle.
Therefore, don’t rely entirely on invoice price to determine the value of a vehicle. It can still be a piece of useful information. But don’t trust the number too much. A better option would be to compare prices among different listings as much as possible.
For example, a listing like Kijiji sedans for sale would showcase a number of vehicles under that category posted by separate and unrelated sellers. Eyeballing these numbers should give buyers a solid idea of the acceptable price range for any vehicle model.
Understand How an Online Seller Determines Price
Online sellers may determine prices in different ways. Understanding how the prices work can often help you land the best price or even the lowest price. Some websites are a collection a classifieds from different sellers. Prices would depend on individual sellers. However, if the website owner is the primary seller, it’s important to scrutinize the price.
Certain online car e-stores may act as dealers and base a car value on invoice prices. Some startup websites collect data on what others recently paid for the vehicle model and set their price according to that. The latter is always the best option.
Ask the seller detailed questions as to why the price is as it is. Find out how the seller came up with the price before agreeing to pay it.
Arrange Deliveries Safely
Another point online car buyers often ignore is having the car delivered safely. Consumers assume that the car would arrive in proper condition just like other purchases. But cars are a massive product to deliver. It’s possible that someone would drive it to your home or you might want to meet up with the seller to purchase the car. In this case, the delivery method is important.
It’s important to set up a safe venue when picking up a car. Your local police station may have a list of designated safe areas you can choose.
Heed the above tips when buying a new car online. The web market for vehicles is still growing, so it’s important to choose legitimate sellers and not fall for price traps.