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Saturday, December 3rd
Carvana may be the best-known brand in the 100% online car-buying industry. No salespeople, no commissions, and no pressure. Just shop for your used car online and decide if you want to pick it up at a Carvana "vending machine" location near you or have it delivered right to your doorstep.
No problem finding used cars here
The Carvana site is easy to use. Search for your desired make/model or by keyword to get started; otherwise, use the options to narrow down the choices by payment and price, body style, and so forth. From there, use the "Sort By" option to list your results by price, mileage, vehicle age, or alphabetically by make and model.
150-point inspection and CARFAX history
All Carvana vehicles go through a 150-point inspection, and you can see for yourself exactly how any vehicle measured up. You can see what was replaced or fixed, any cosmetic issues, plus the CARFAX vehicle history.
No guesswork on delivery
We really like how each vehicle listing tells you when you can expect delivery. For example, one vehicle we liked was available for delivery within three business days if we completed the purchasing process in the next three hours. Theoretically, anyway, you could use Carvana if you're in a hurry to get a car and can't wait up to 14 days (or longer) like some of their rivals require. You can also get free delivery within certain areas. Make sure your location is correctly entered on the search page and you'll be able to preview your delivery costs while you browse their used car inventory. Even within a free delivery area, you may still have shipping costs of up to $590, based on the distance between where you live and where the vehicle is currently located.
Place a pre-order hold
Carvana also lets you place a pre-order hold for $100. What's that? All Carvana vehicles go through an inspection process before being made available for purchase; if you see a car that you think you might want to buy once it's listed, the $100 is refundable if you change your mind.
7-day "test own" period
You'll have 7 days to "test own" your Carvana used car. If it doesn't live up to your expectations, you can either return it for a refund or exchange it (up to 3 times) for a different vehicle. Beyond, that, every car has a 100-day/4189-mile limited warranty
Some people really love Carvana
If customer feedback is any indication, you're either going to love or hate Carvana. Out of more than 4,000 ratings, about half give this service a perfect five stars. We're glad to see comments from people who say the experience delivered exactly what was promised, from delivery timeframes to the vehicles' condition. Some clients have used Carvana in both directions (buying and selling used cars) and think it's practically the best thing since sliced bread, so to speak. The Better Business Bureau gives Carvana both accreditation and an "A-" rating as well.
Thousands of complaints
On the other hand, over 1,200 people gave Carvana the lowest possible score of just one star. Frequent complaints revolve around paperwork (such as not getting registration papers until months after the purchase was completed), major delivery delays, and problems with the vehicles that went undetected during Carvana's inspection process. We've heard of some customers spending the better part of a month (or longer) getting a Carvana vehicle delivered, finding significant issues, sending it back for exchange, and then repeating the entire process in the hope of finally getting a decent used car.
Room for improvement
We give Carvana a "just average" rating. While we might have gone lower because of the negative feedback, this service still has a decent number of satisfied customers and comes out ahead of the other "buy from home" platforms we evaluated. The lesser of three evils? It's not going to be the way most people will have a good experience buying used cars, but for some consumers it works.
No matter what, your first step should always be research. You should determine exactly what's going to fit your needs (or your wants!). Do you have a particular make and model in mind, or are features going to be king regardless of manufacturer? Whether you're all about safety or you feel the need for speed, it's well worth your time to dig into the details of price, reliability and availability, especially when used car inventory is at an all-time low nationwide.
Fortunately, there are many websites that help you do just that - and then make it possible for you to find your perfect new-to-you ride. Some of these platforms even let you buy your car online and have it delivered right to your house. Before you start worrying about the safety of such vehicles, rest assured that most companies selling used cars will include a detailed, independently-verified history report right in the car's listing.
You can see how many owners it's had, any accidents reported, and sometimes the service history detailing oil changes and other routine maintenance. Buying used cars online is a huge time-saver too: you don't have to make a long drive to a dealership hoping they'll have something on the lot that you'll like, and you can avoid a lot of the "pushy salesperson" experience.
Most sites that sell pre-owned vehicles also have tools for determining how much you can afford and prequalifying for financing - which is one less thing you'll have to do in person (assuming you don't take the 100% online route from the get-go).
Which site should you use for buying used cars? There are a lot of similarities among them, and among the highest-rated services you can choose fairly freely without worrying about missing out. But, here are some things to consider about any used car website you're looking at:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best online services for buying used cars. We're confident that this information will help you get your next pre-owned set of wheels at a price you'll love!
Select any 2 Used Car Sites to compare them head to head
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