In a world where we can buy anything from a pizza to an aircraft on the internet, buying a car entirely online still feels insecure and risky.
This is mainly because there are a ton of things that can be wrong with a car and they can only be noticed by physically examining the vehicle. No matter how perfect a car might look on paper, there can be flaws in it.
However, there are some tips that can make contactless car buying safer and more reliable. Let’s see how to remotely buy a car with the least risk.
1. Research the Car You Want to Buy Online
If you don’t know what you are buying, how on earth can you be able to spot flaws in it? After you have finalized a car, carry out research to know as much about it as possible. Here’s how you can do that:
- Start with the reviews of the car. Go to a reputable auto journalist or reviewer’s blog or YouTube channel and develop a basic understanding of the car you want to buy.
- Familiarize yourself with the features of the car so that if one does not work you’d know that it is a fault.
- Once you are familiar with the car, the next thing you need to do is to check the views of the people who own the car. For this, you can go to forums with people using the car. Find out the common faults in the car you are planning to buy so that you can better negotiate with the agency you are buying the car from.
- You can also go to the local mechanics and ask what are the problems that show up often in the car you are planning to buy.
2. Research the Platform You are Buying the Car From
The next step towards safe contactless car buying is getting to know the credibility of the dealership or website you are going to buy the car from. You are betting the price of the car on the honor of these people and you deserve to know about them.
- Start your research by seeing the reviews of the website or dealership given by former customers. Do not base your decision on one overly angry or highly satisfied customer. Try to get a general idea of what people have to say about them.
- If they have a smartphone application, the reviews of the app on the Appstore or the Google Play Store can tell you a lot about the credibility and reliability of the platform.
- Ask your friends and family or post on social media and try to get the views of people in your circle who have done business with the agency you are planning to buy a car from.
- A quick Google search about the platform can also be helpful. Look how old they are and in how many places they are operating.
3. Go Through the Terms and Conditions of the Website/Dealership
This is probably the most important thing in buying a car online. The terms and conditions of the website you are buying the car from are more important than you think. Look for the following things in their terms and conditions.
- What is the return policy? Do they offer a test drive period?
- Are the cars listed for sale inspected by a third-party?
- Do they offer any warranty on the cars they are selling?
- What are the shipping method and shipping charges for the car?
- Whose insurance will cover any damages during the shipping?
- What are the after-sales support facilities provided by them?
4. Get Vehicle History Report
There are a number of free online services that can provide you with the vehicle history report of the car you are buying. All you need to have is the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle and you can get the report. This report includes:
- Details about the car’s ownership.
- The accident history of the car.
- Title status.
- Mileage on the car.
- Major repairs are done to the car.
The vehicle history report can hence be an important metric of the condition of the car. Proceed with the deal only if you find the status satisfactory and in line with the asking price.
5. Clear Any Confusions
When you are spending tens of thousands of dollars on a purchase, you have the right to ask any and all questions. If anything about the car or the terms and conditions of the selling website is not clear, ask questions. Some of the questions you must ask include:
- Are there any known problems with the car?
- Is the odometer showing the actual mileage or has it been reset?
- What are the major repairs that were done on this car?
- Are there any after-market modifications done to this car?
- When were the fluids of the car last changed?
These are just examples, you can also ask about the terms and conditions of the website. These questions include:
- Do you offer a full money-back guarantee for returns within a specified time?
- Would you ship the car to me? What would be the shipping cost, if any?
- Do you offer a third-party inspection report for the car?
Again these are just some examples, clear any and all confusions you have about the car or the website before finalizing the deal.
These were the basic guidelines that you need to follow while buying a car online to avoid getting a vehicle that is a waste of money. There are a number of credible online car dealers that make buying cars easy and convenient without compromising the quality of the car you get.
The key to getting a vehicle worth your money is to be watchful and investigate every little detail about the car and the seller before you close the deal. Do not be shy, ask questions and clear things.
A car is a substantial investment for an average American and you don’t want to make such a big financial decision without knowing everything there is to know about the car.