Up until a few years ago, you could not have imagined buying a car any other way than through the traditional way.
However, today, you can order a car online and literally have it delivered to your doorstep. For some, the possibility of doing away with the stress of negotiating is exciting and convenient, while online car shopping might fill other people with skepticism.
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a car online? Let us find out.
Pros of Buying A Car Online
- More options:
Looking for a car on the internet means that you have a much greater choice of vehicles than you would have had at a local dealership.
- Easy comparison:
Comparing vehicles and financing options online is quick and easy. In fact, several online services have a calculator that you can use to figure out loan terms and monthly payments in advance.
- Better prices:
When you buy a car online, you can benefit from prices that are as much as 10% lower compared to the prices you would have gotten with physical dealerships. This is because online dealers often make money on the volume of cars they sell, rather than the price at which they sell those cars.
- Buy at your convenience:
You can take as long as you want to examine the car without having to worry about salespeople pestering you with their sales pitches.
- No hidden charges:
If you purchase your car from a private seller, you do not have to endure any hidden vehicle dealership fees.
- Saves time and money:
Online car shopping saves you the hassle of visiting car outlets. The ability to simply turn your computer on and surf the internet for cars, saves you valuable time, effort, and money. This saved money can later be invested on your car modification or maintenance.
Cons of Buying A Car Online
- No negotiation:
It is hard, if not impossible, to negotiate a price. Moreover, you cannot purchase a warranty or secure financing, not to mention that you will not get a ‘lease or buy’ option.
- No warranty:
Building from the previous point, getting a car ‘as is’ and without warranty means that the seller is not responsible for any problems that occur once the deal has been closed.
- Additional charges:
There might not be any hidden vehicle dealership fees, but you need to bear the shipping charges and other expenses associated with the car cost.
- Fraudulent websites:
If you see an online car deal that is truly good to be true, it probably is. Certain fraudulent suppliers set up fancy and professional-looking websites with the sole purpose of ripping you off. Diligent research can mitigate the chances of such frauds and mishaps.
If the car you wish to buy is in a different state, it will be harder for you to examine it, unless you have a trusted mechanic in that state who can perform that examination for you.
- No test drive:
Arguably the biggest drawback about an online car purchase. Sure, you can read descriptions and view pictures, but there is no way you can touch or try that car prior to purchasing it. So, unless you ask someone trusted to visit the supplier and test drive the car, you cannot be entirely sure that you are making a worthy investment.
Tips for Buying A Car Online
- Research the car:
Online resources allow you to find out anything you want about a particular vehicle, and you should certainly make use of those resources. For a new car, you should look for the invoice price – the price that the dealer paid the manufacturer – rather than the MSRP. If you plan to buy a used car, research the most recent resale prices for the specific model you wish to purchase.
- Research the website, company, or dealership you are buying from:
There are a lot of reliable online car sellers, but there are a lot of shady ones as well. To make sure that you find someone in the former category, you need to conduct your research about your potential dealers and what peoples’ opinions are about them. Online reviews can go a long way in helping you make your decision.
Also ensure that the seller has listed everything you might need to know about the car you wish to buy. Many online dealers have convenient filtering options that let you find the specific make or model you are looking for. Once you have done that, you can communicate your questions to the seller via email, call, or live chat.
- Consider part exchange:
If you currently own a car, you can use that as a bargaining chip for your new vehicle. Certain online sellers do offer part exchange, and, if you are interested in one, make sure that you buy from a seller that does offer this option. There are several virtual appraisal tools that such dealers use to assess the condition of your car before putting a price on it.
- Consider the delivery options:
When you buy a car online, you can either visit your chosen dealership and pick the car up yourself, or you can get it delivered to your workplace or home. Most buyers go for the second option, since it is more convenient and eliminates the hassle associated with picking the car up yourself.
- Go through the return policy:
A satisfactory return policy means that you can purchase your car online with peace of mind. Once you buy the vehicle, you have a fortnightly ‘cooling period’. If you wish to return the car during the cooling period, you have to make sure that there are no additional costs associated with doing so. Do remember that buyers are held responsible for any diminishment in car value, so the car’s mileage would be an important consideration should you decide to return it.
To conclude, buying a car online is a straightforward, easy, and swift process, but it is not without its cons. We hope that this will help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this contemporary buying method, while the tips will prove valuable for you should you go ahead and decide to purchase your car over the internet.