By Brad Hadfield
Buying a Car on Ebay
For years, finding the right ride meant getting behind the wheel and looking under the hood. But today many are forgoing this firsthand experience in favor of the great deals found on eBay. From new to pre-owned vehicles, eBay has made online purchasing easier, more secure, and even more experiential thanks to video uploads. Still, it’s always important to do your homework before buying online.

  • Know fair market value (FMV)—and don’t bid over it. You can’t count on the seller to price at FMV, so check the Kelley Blue Book and scan other listings to see what similar vehicles are selling for. If you spot the perfect vehicle but someone else also has eyes for it, be careful not to get caught up in a bidding war—spending over FMV just to come out a “winner” isn’t a winning approach.
  • Know the seller and vehicle history. You can, and should, ask the seller anything you want, from obvious questions about vehicle performance and past accidents to more obscure questions, such as whether smoking was allowed in it. eBay also lets you to check the seller’s history with reviews from buyers to help you gauge the seller’s trustworthiness. However, unless you obtain an AutoCheck report (available through eBay) or CarFax report, you’re simply going on someone’s word. At about $30, these reports are a small price to pay for peace of mind; some buyers even use both, as one occasionally turns up a problem unreported on the other. It’s important to remember that buying a used car—especially one that has had prior damage or is not current on safety features—can affect your insurance policy, so it’s best to speak with your insurance provider before making a purchase.
  • Have it delivered or factor in pick-up costs. If the vehicle is located a significant distance from its final destination, it’s often easiest to have it delivered; plus, many eBay dealers have relationships with shippers and can quote you a good rate. Otherwise, don’t forget to factor in the cost of a flight, hotel, gas, time off work, etc., to the price you’re willing to pay for the vehicle.
  • Say "yes" to no reserve auctions. A vehicle with no reserve means there’s no minimum price for the auction—literally, the highest bidder wins. That means you can often get a better deal, especially if bidding is slow and the vehicle appeals to a niche audience.
  • Use eBay Vehicle Protection—and shop Certified Pre-Owned. Free for most vehicles, this plan protects you for up to $50,000 and covers various types of fraud, including non-delivery, undisclosed defects in the title or vehicle, and more. eBay Motors also offers Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. These vehicles have been dealership inspected and warrantied so you can rest assured that you’re getting a reliable ride.
If you’d like to learn more about buying used cars, see our post on What to Look for When Buying a Used Car. Armed with these tips and techniques, buying a new or pre-owned vehicle on eBay can be a win-win, saving you both time and money.

And for a limited time, another win awaits with Liberty Mutual’s Bid Protection Sweepstakes. If you’re outbid by someone else, Liberty Mutual could replace the item—for free. Enter now and start looking for the ride of your life.1

1 No purchase necessary to enter the Sweepstakes. 50 US/DC, 18+ ends 9/1/2015.  Click here for Official Rules.


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