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      10-17-2019, 10:27 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, 09:45 AM   #2
86Zed
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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, 10:33 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, 12:48 PM   #4
jeff113
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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, 01:03 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, 03:18 PM   #6
clee1982
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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, 04:06 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, 07:49 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, 10:21 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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      10-18-2019, 11:28 PM   #10
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does cargurus count?
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      Yesterday, 12:52 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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      Yesterday, 07:09 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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      Yesterday, 06:10 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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      Yesterday, 09:08 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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      Yesterday, 10:10 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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      Yesterday, 11:47 PM   #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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