The world of online car buying can be a scary, scummy, and “scammy” place. Especially when it comes to used cars, where anything can go wrong with them, and only after you’ve forked over considerable money. Of course, not all used cars are riddled with issues. But, lemons are most certainly out there. Therefore, you need to make sure you understand what you’re doing and what you’re looking at before you turn over any of your hard-earned cash. The first step in understanding how to buy a car online? Figuring out the right and wrong way to approach the process.
Hint: The right way to shop and purchase a car online doesn’t involve these new startup sites like Vroom or Beepi, which leads me to my first point.
Don’t Buy From a Site Like Beepi. It’s Stupid and That’s Why it Failed
Childish name-calling aside, sites like Beepi are perhaps the biggest example of the wrong type of online car buying — which is why Beepi is no longer an online only retailer. Whether you’re going after a new or used car, avoid these sites at all costs.
It’s not like you can just drive 20 minutes down the road and inspect the car if you’re skeptical of what the sales team at Beepi or Vroom tells you about your potential purchase. Chances are, you are physically no where near the vehicle. Why? Because, you bought it online, and therefore won’t actually see it until a Beepi representative drives it out to you. Convenient? Sure sounds like it! But here’s one of many big issues with this type of online transaction: Where is the accountability during the trip? What if the truck transporting it hooks it up wrong and damages the axle? Your car arrives, you take it out for a spin, and then the front axle splits after 10 minutes of driving time.
The point is, you don’t know what kind of problems the car currently has — or will encounter during its trip — until after it’s in your driveway and you’ve paid for it. All you have is Beepi’s word that the vehicle was properly inspected and taken care of prior to your purchase.
Buy Online from a Reputable Dealership
You’re much better buying from an established online dealership. Why? For one, there is accountability in that situation, and if things go south, you’re much more likely to get your money back from a dealership than you are a website like Beepi. Plus, you won’t risk landing in any of the pitfalls that caused Beepi to shut down if you buy from a reputable online dealership.
With Beepi’s policy, the Beepi team would not buy the vehicle from a seller until it was bought from a customer, which means owners would keep the vehicles until they were sold, and buyers would not drive the vehicle until they made the purchase and the vehicle was delivered to them. If the would-be-sold vehicle was not bought within 30 days of listing, then Beepi would buy it, anyway. If that sounds confusing, think of it like buying a car on Craigslist with a middle man to complicate the issue.
Therein lies the main issue. Thanks to this system, Beepi was left with all these vehicles building up on the lot that wouldn’t sell to consumers. If these vehicles were just sitting on the lot – which they were – they were, of course, exposed to the elements. As any savvy mechanic knows, a used car sitting in harsh weather for an extended period of time is a recipe for disaster when it comes to vehicle quality.
When you shop at an online dealership that knows what it’s doing, you’ll always find a fresh inventory of used cars in good quality.