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      10-17-2019, 11:27 PM   #1
JayTriggy14
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2013 BMW 335is  [5.00]
Chime in if you’ve bought a car online

Did you enjoy the experience? What went well? What were the challenges?
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      10-18-2019, 10:45 AM   #2
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Are you specifically referencing an auction site like eBay, Bring a Trailer etc. or any type of transaction where the car is not local?

I have bought two non-local cars off online classifieds or forums, only one of which I had the chance to see physically prior to committing to a purchase. I have certainly become proficient in online searches (common issues), pre-purchase inspections at indy mechanics and asking for specific pictures and documentation.

The best tips I can give is to really understand the mindset of the current owner (seller), research the platform and determine common issues and red flags to look for. Know the market, and do find somebody to look at it in-person or drive/fly yourself to do so. Do not be afraid to walk away if things are not adding up, being rational is harder in person!
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      10-18-2019, 11:33 AM   #3
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Bought a 13 GTR with >1000 miles from a large ebay dealer site unseen. Car had clean carfax. Had it in the shop for some performance work done and noticed some over spray on the rear behind the bumper which I thought was interesting. Probably got bumped from behind and had it repaired without saying anything.

60K miles later went to sell it and the carfax was no longer clean. Something showed up back before I bought it... It just didn't show up on the carfax report until after i purchased it.

Never had any issues with the car though besides loosing some $ on the resale. Can't say for sure if the dealer knew about it or not but just something to keep in mind.
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      10-18-2019, 01:48 PM   #4
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Good advice from 86Zed.

If you are buying an enthusiast vehicle, I think it is fairly eas. A 10 minute conversation with the owner will give you more insight into how the car was treated and maintained than any pictures or videos.

If the seller seems knowledgeable, then I arrange a PPI inspection with a shop of my choosing (not the seller's). I try to use an independent shop, but for a car under warranty I will sometimes go with a dealer. I make the arrangements myself and pay for the PPI. A good seller will have no issues with dropping off and picking up the car for the PPI.
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      10-18-2019, 02:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fricks View Post
Bought a 13 GTR with >1000 miles from a large ebay dealer site unseen. Car had clean carfax. Had it in the shop for some performance work done and noticed some over spray on the rear behind the bumper which I thought was interesting. Probably got bumped from behind and had it repaired without saying anything.

60K miles later went to sell it and the carfax was no longer clean. Something showed up back before I bought it... It just didn't show up on the carfax report until after i purchased it.

Never had any issues with the car though besides loosing some $ on the resale. Can't say for sure if the dealer knew about it or not but just something to keep in mind.
As you know not all repair shops do business with Carfax. When they come aboard they may report past jobs retroactively. You can buy a car now and 2 years later you see it was frame damaged making it virtually worthless. All in all Carfax is a crapshoot. Any sort of prior damage can destroy car resale value specially high end ones M or AMG. And there is no way insurance company compensate you for the full diminished value.
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      10-18-2019, 04:18 PM   #6
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what does bought online mean, I negotiated over email, does everything through scanned doc. via email, first time seeing the sales in person was when I showed up to the dealership to pick up the car (brand new, so I guess not the ebay type online experience)
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      10-18-2019, 05:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayTriggy14 View Post
Did you enjoy the experience? What went well? What were the challenges?
Do you mean auction style?

Pretty much everybody shops cars online these days.

All of my cars since like 2005 I've found online.
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      10-18-2019, 08:49 PM   #8
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I bought a tesla, felt ripped off the whole way through, but happy wife/happy life.
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      10-18-2019, 11:21 PM   #9
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Not online, but I bought through Costco, which is good for ordering a car, as you can't wheel and deal as much when you want a very specific build/option list. Saved some $$$, less hassle.
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      10-19-2019, 12:28 AM   #10
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does cargurus count?
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      10-19-2019, 01:52 AM   #11
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Buying a car online is like buying anything else online. You need to have a good idea of what you're getting, a low enough price that you're getting a deal regardless, a lot of confidence in buyer protection or ideally some combination of the three.
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      10-19-2019, 08:09 AM   #12
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Bought my F-type R online without ever seeing it in person. It was a recent trade in at a BMW dealership in TX. The car still had 2 years of warranty left on it, clean vin, priced below everyone else. 3 years later and no regrets at all.
Well, no regrets on the purchase, Jaguar/Land Rover infotainment system is a PITA.
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      10-19-2019, 07:10 PM   #13
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I have purchased three vehicles where most of the process took place online. One new Mazda and two Hondas, one new and one used.

The Mazda was through the Internet/Fleet manager, had the price and car selected along with most of the paperwork done before I even walked in. Took the car for a drive, signed some paperwork and was on my way. I ended up using a dealer 4 hours from where I lived because they gave me a great deal.

The new Honda was not as smooth. Same story, dealt with the Internet manager, but had a vacation start before I could pick the car up, which put me dealing with a regular salesman. They tried a bunch of the standard sales crap on me, causing me to almost walk out before they finished the paperwork. Only reason I stayed was the color of the car was the one my wife really wanted.

Third one was a Certified Honda Odyssey. It was a very smooth process, did most of the negotiation through email and then went to the dealer to finish the deal. We had looked at several so we knew what we were looking for.

I would recommend it for new car or certified used purchases, since the vehicle carries a factory/manufacturer warranty. I don't think I would do it for a used car unless the dealer was local to me.
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      10-19-2019, 10:08 PM   #14
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I’ve bought cars online from $35k to $240k, private party and dealer, new/used/CPO, from a couple of states over to all the way on the other coast. I think all the usual due diligence steps of PPI, Carfax, ‘buy the seller’, photos/video walkthroughs, send someone to check it if you can....they’re all good things to do if you can.

The two things that i’ve found that weren’t obvious to me before are first, a lot of private sellers will refuse to use an escrow service, and second, buying a car with a lien is a royal pain in the ass.

Buying new from a dealer is obviously the most risk-free transaction but even that can get fucked up. I’ve had options missing, dealer personnel not knowing how to give me the right help registering the car in my state, stuff like that. Private party? You almost have to assume that there will be some surprise after the deal is done, and you just have to hope it’s not a big and nasty one. “Buying the seller” helps a lot here.

Finally, don’t treat the transportation process after you buy the car, as an afterthought. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but this was something i was stupid about during my first transactions and i quickly found out that arranging quality transport at short notice is not really possible, and driving a used car home requires quite a bit of contigency planning
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      10-19-2019, 11:10 PM   #15
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I’ve bought many and generally good results but I’ll be more careful and never use a trucking co again (worst industry in the world)...
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      10-20-2019, 12:47 AM   #16
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I bought one - it was a trade in at a dealer. Called and they sent a video walk around. I arranged a PPI. We negotiated a couple of points and I sent a check. Then the transport game started... It was my first time so I was pretty nervous about it all but ultimately I got a good example of a hard to find car at a fair deal. I would do it again.
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      10-22-2019, 02:31 AM   #17
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Hey all! Thank you for the replies! This is super helpful feedback. Yes any online platform in which you a buy a car is fair game including ebay, cargurus, autotrader, bring-a-trailer, craigslist, carvana, etc.

A follow on question would be what would you do to improve the online/normal car buying process for yourself and others? What are some recommendations you want platforms to implement?
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      10-22-2019, 02:43 AM   #18
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I emailed some dude what I wanted. He called. New Custom order. He Gave price. I Put down a deposit. Few months later I drove and got car.
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      10-22-2019, 08:40 AM   #19
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I've purchased the last 3 cars from distance dealers via net/phone. Arranged transport or flew in and picked them up in person. They took care of virtual walk-around, PPI. I never finance with the dealer. Deposit/hold with credit card, then send a check with the stipulation that the check is void if the vehicle was misrepresented in any way.

CC protects your deposit. Easy.

Then again. I'm usually purchasing enthusiast or cars with odd options combinations which are tough to find. If I didn't care, I'd try to buy local.
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      10-23-2019, 06:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I've purchased the last 3 cars from distance dealers via net/phone. Arranged transport or flew in and picked them up in person. They took care of virtual walk-around, PPI. I never finance with the dealer. Deposit/hold with credit card, then send a check with the stipulation that the check is void if the vehicle was misrepresented in any way.

CC protects your deposit. Easy.

Then again. I'm usually purchasing enthusiast or cars with odd options combinations which are tough to find. If I didn't care, I'd try to buy local.
Same here. But the last 3 I purchased like that were Corvettes from private sellers.

I always look at the forums of any "enthusiast cars" first. Like a lot of BMW owners, most Corvette owners that have owned a few tend to have low mileage, garage kept cars with a binder full of records. And I always looked for models that were stock with no mods done.
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      10-23-2019, 08:18 AM   #21
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Private sellers can be iffy IMO from what I have seen. I personally would want to see the car in person before I purchased anything from a private seller, but thats just me(Used cars). I know a lot of people though over the years that do it all the time. Some get burned but most have not had any issues. I would just make sure I got everything in some form of writing incase something isn't what its suppose to be when it arrives.

As far as dealers go, we sell a ton of cars online every month (Mostly new however). Its pretty seamless. Its def something all buyers should do IMO. You have all these dealers out there, use that to your advantage and shop around for the best price
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      10-23-2019, 08:43 AM   #22
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Not a direct experience, but the guy I bought my E46 convertible from in September was replacing the E46 with a 2017, 4,000-mile Mazda Miata. He sourced the car from Carvana. He tried to buy a CPO Miata from the several local Mazda dealerships, but he said all were either white, black, or gray.

He said the Carvana experience was great. They delivered the car on a flatbed on the day and time stated. Rolled it off and he took it for a test drive. If he didn't like the car or the condition of it, he could refuse to buy it. He liked it of course. He said the transaction couldn't be easier. The delivery driver pulls out a tablet, calls up the purchase software, sign in a few places and complete the (pre-arranged) payment/financing. He was financing the purchase through his credit union, so he just gave the driver the check. Also, Carvana has a no-questions-asked 7-day return policy, so if the car doesn't turn out to be what you expected, you can return it. Carvana works all the DMV stuff and mails the tags once the 7-day return period is over; the car is delivered with a temporary tag.

He couldn't have been more pleased with the process and transaction.
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