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Cars FAQ

Questions and Answers:

Many people consider the local car dealership or newspaper the only solution to purchasing a car. However, finding a new or used car online and avoiding high-pressure salesman is becoming more common among consumers. How does finding a car online work versus the conventional dealership or newspaper? InfoFAQ has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions when purchasing a new or used car online.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cars Online

What types of websites can I use when shopping for a car online?

The type of website you want to use when shopping for a car online will vary depending on your needs. For classic or specialized cars, you can search on an auction site like ebay.com. For used cars you can search an online car ads web site like autotrader.com. Still other sites will feature classified ads from your area, and are found in your local newspapers website under classified ads. Other sites will try to sell you a car directly, or will list local auto dealers and their available inventory and prices.

What are the advantages to buying a car on an auction site like ebay?

The advantages of an auction site for cars is that you can see cars from all over the country which you may never have otherwise found. Sometimes the price will be lower than similar cars in your local area. The disadvantages are that you cannot always see the car first or drive it. It may be located thousands of miles away. You must also pay for the car and for shipping to your area, oftentimes before you have even seen the car.

How do the websites that sell you a car of your choice work?

These types of websites will have set themselves up as middle men who act as go-betweens with a consumer and an auto dealer. They use their market leverage with the auto dealers to get the cars at a lower price than you could on your own. They then sell it to you at more than their cost, but less than what you would pay at the dealer yourself.

How can I protect myself if I plan to purchase an auto from an online auction?

For large purchases made at online auto auctions, you may want to use an online ‘escrow’ company. They will accept your payment and hold it in escrow. They will then notify the seller that you have paid in full, and release the seller to make the shipment. You will then have to agree that the vehicle was delivered in acceptable condition prior to the funds being released to the seller. Make sure that you use an escrow service that is recommended by the auction website.

If I purchase a car online and it is out of my state, how much will it cost to have it shipped to me?

There are many trucking companies that will ship a vehicle for you. The average cross country rate in the USA is about $1000 for working automobile, and $1500 if the car does not run.

How do online car searches usually work on auctions and classified listing web sites?

Looking for a car is not only easy, but it can be a real time saver too. You will be asked a series of questions like the make, model, and year car you are looking for. You can also narrow your search to look for cars within a specified price range, and in specified areas of the state or country.

How can I find new car listings online as soon as they are put up on the web?

Most used car and auction sites will let you give them information on the types of cars you are looking for, and then setup their system to send you an email when a new listing is received. This can help you get the jump on any really good deals out there. Refer to the car sellers website to learn how to set this up.

Can I find out the blue book value of a car online?

There are websites out there that specialize in giving you a car’s retail and wholesale blue book value. Some of these sites will provide the information for free, while others will ask you to join in order to get the information. This can help you make sure that you are not overpaying for a car online.

Can I find safety related information online about the cars that I am interested in?

There are many websites run by industry, government and consumer groups that publish consumer safety information about new cars and trucks. Just search the web with the name of the vehicle and the words ‘safety rating’.

Won’t an online car search only show me cars that are outside of my area?

Depending on the website, some may have listings from across the country. But with these types of websites, you can always narrow down the search to autos in your own area. It’s a good idea to expand your search a little beyond you local area in case you find a deal worth the drive.

Consumer Safety and Information

Car Report - www.cars.gov

Consumer Survey for the CARS Act.

Buying a Used Car - www.ftc.gov

The FTC offers guidance, tips and assistance to consumers who are shopping for a used car.

Auto Purchases - www.azag.gov

Provides information on car repairs and manufacturers.

Selling a vehicle - www.dot.wisconsin.gov

Things you should know when you sell your vehicle in Wisconsin.

Buying a car - www.direct.gov.uk

Your consumer rights when buying a new or second hand car.

Visit our Credit Card Fraud section for useful information.


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