Buying a used car online from a private seller can be a cheaper option than going to a car dealership. However, as with all major purchase shopping choices, there are tradeoffs. Unlike many private sellers who sell online, dealerships have a strong interest in protecting their business reputation and ensuring that all their contracts are legally proper and fair to purchasers. Buying a vehicle online from an individual requires some extra homework and preparation before making a payment. In this article, United Car Care, a leading vehicle service contract provider discusses five tips for protecting your interests when shopping online from a private seller.
Private sellers are often more open to negotiations on price than dealers especially on marketplaces like eBay motors. Dealers have a price in mind for every car on their lot and they usually expect that there will be a good market of potential buyers at the price they have established. Online private sellers do not have the overhead that dealers do and they may be much more motivated to sell for a variety of reasons. A great way to negotiate a price with a private seller is to research pricing information for the vehicle in question by using a service like Kelly Blue Book in advance and having that data in hand to show the seller that you have support for the price you want to pay.
Using the vehicle identification number (VIN), you can quickly obtain a vehicle history report from an agency like CARFAX. This report is designed to provide you with a comprehensive report of the history of the title to the car and certain other details about the car’s history. A history report will provide information on the ownership history of the vehicle and when it has been previously sold. Any defects with the vehicle’s title will also be shown. If the vehicle has been previously totaled or had any reported odometer tampering that information will also be shown. Many online marketplaces including eBay motors have a quick integrate with carfax.
Always insist on an independent mechanical inspection before you buy a car online from a private seller. You can ask the seller to bring the vehicle to your mechanic at an appointed time for the inspection, or you can use a mobile car inspection service to go to the vehicle’s location for the inspection. Mobile services can be very useful when the vehicle is far away from your location. Your mechanic’s inspection can reveal problems that need to be repaired. If repairs are needed, you may want to negotiate the price with the seller depending on what type of repairs are needed.
Take a test drive that includes a thorough walkaround inspection. Check the paint and body for chips or rust, and look at the frame and suspension for any obvious problems. Give the tires a good look and ask questions about their age and maintenance. Take the car for a drive where you are able to try it out at highway speeds and also in stop and go traffic. Be sure to try out all the electronic systems including the sound system, GPS, and security system. No matter what the season, try out the heating and air conditioning systems to be sure they function correctly.
Before you hand over payment for the vehicle, be sure that you are receiving the correct title certificate for the vehicle and that the name on the title matches exactly with the registration for the vehicle and the legal name of the person you are buying the vehicle from. Be sure the owner signs the title correctly so that you can take the title directly for registration in your name and to apply for your new title. Consider having the seller also sign a bill of sale to you for the vehicle in the event additional documentation is needed to transfer title or for your protection. Also be sure you get the owner’s manual, service records that are available, and all of the keys to the vehicle.
United Car Care has worked with over a million satisfied customers and multiple dealers and agents in offering vehicle service contracts that provide reliable mechanical protection at an affordable cost. Our customers are provided with the security of knowing that our product is backed by an A-rated insurer. Customers also value our company’s A Rating with the Better Business Bureau which is evidence of the integrity of our service. Over a million satisfied customers stand as a testimonial to United Car Care’s core values: quality, dependability, and customer service.