Ordering some Thai for delivery? Why not take the plunge and order your next car, truck, or SUV with a tap of your finger? Ok, maybe you need an adult beverage or two before you have the courage to do so, but more and more people are purchasing cars online sight unseen. Companies such as Carvana and Vroom make it possible to have the pre-owned vehicle of your choice delivered directly to your doorstep. Who knows, maybe Amazon is next. Clearly, the process is convenient. But is it a good deal for the car buyer? And what can you do to protect yourself? Read on …
Carvana and Vroom – how they work
Thanks to its clever vehicle vending machine, Carvana is the most well-known online used car retailer. But there are other options as well, including Vroom. Both companies are similar in that they offer a 100% online buying experience. And the car you purchase can be delivered and tracked directly to your home.
Note: The following is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as a substitute for professional financial advice.
Established in 2013, Carvana has been around just six years. In that short time, the brand became a household name, thanks to its excellent marketing campaigns.
How do you purchase a car from Carvana?
Buying a car through Carvana is easy. You simply browse the company’s website to find the car you want, then visit the purchase dashboard and select a payment option. Carvana offers in-house financing as well.
Do the cars come with a warranty?
Carvana includes a 100-day/4,189-mile limited warranty on all vehicles. Buyers can opt for an extended warranty, called Carvana Care, at an additional cost.
What are the return policies?
Each vehicle purchased through Carvana comes with a seven-day Money Back Guarantee (see limitations on the company website). You can return the car within that timeframe should you decide that, for whatever reason, you don’t like it.
Are the cars inspected?
Carvana performs a 150-point inspection on all its vehicles. The company also guarantees all cars have clean titles, have never been in a reported accident and are free from flood, fire, or frame damage.
Vroom is a bit different from Carvana in that it also caters to individuals trying to sell their car. Otherwise, the two companies are very similar.
How do you purchase a car from Vroom?
Buying a car through Vroom is very similar to buying through Carvana. You select a car, place a deposit, then wait for the paperwork to be sent over to finalize the deal. Financing can be done in-house.
Do the cars come with a warranty?
Vroom includes a 90-day/6,000-mile limited warranty on all vehicles. Buyers can opt for an extended warranty, called Vroom Protect, at an additional cost.
What is the return policy?
Each vehicle purchased through Vroom comes with a complimentary seven-day trial period (see limitations on the company website). You can return the car within that timeframe should you decide that, for whatever reason, you don’t like it.
Are the cars inspected?
According to Vroom’s website, all cars are inspected for safety, mechanical and cosmetic issues before being sold. The company also uses AutoCheck to weed out vehicles with a branded title or documented accidents.
Pros and cons of buying a car 100% online
Like most things in life, buying a car completely online has its pros and cons.
Quick and easy
The main appeal of Carvana and Vroom is the convenience factor. You select the car online; you pay for it online and then it shows up at your doorstep.
Seven-day trial period
Both Carvana and Vroom offer a seven-day free trial. Think of it like an extended test drive that allows you to see if the vehicle is a good fit.
Vehicles are reconditioned
Used car lots generally recondition their cars, as do Carvana and Vroom. All vehicles are washed and detailed, so they’re shined up for delivery.
Because there’s no brick-and-mortar store, online retailers, such as Carvana and Vroom, often have lower prices.
No price negotiation
Neither Carvana nor Vroom offer price negotiation. The price tag listed on the website is what you pay. So, there’s no way to haggle for a better deal.
You can’t see the car beforehand
Even though Carvana and Vroom both offer lots of information and vehicles photos, you can’t see the car before it shows up at your house. And that can be intimidating.
No traditional test drive
Sure, you get a seven-day trial period from Carvana and Vroom, but that’s not the same as a quick, traditional test drive. The seven-day trial comes only after you’ve ordered the vehicle. There’s also an option to schedule a one-hour test appointment with Carvana, but that requires some commitment beforehand as well.
Possible overlooked damage
Even though Carvana and Vroom both inspect their cars, there’s always the possibility of overlooked damage. Some online user reviews mention vehicles showing up with mechanical and cosmetic problems that weren’t disclosed on the website.
Shipping isn’t always free
Vroom charges $499 to ship a vehicle with the continuous 48 states. Carvana, on the other hand, offers free delivery in some local markets. Buyers outside of that market must pay a transport fee if they want direct delivery.
Call us old-fashioned, but we like to see a car in person before it shows up on our doorstep. It’s also a smart move to have a used car inspected by a professional, such as a POMCAR technician, before signing paper work or making any type of commitment.
If, however, you’re bold and want to try a service such as Carvana or Vroom, you can and should get the vehicle inspected during the seven-day trial period.
POMCAR is a nationwide provider of used vehicle pre purchase inspections. PPIs are all we do. We have an extensive network of qualified technicians ready to perform a 270-point inspection and deliver a meaningful report. Check us out at www.pomcar.com