Where your author investigates some online car buying services


Given the constant hassles of Volkswagen Golf ownership lately, and the way each media shouts “the highest used car price ever” as loud as it can get, I thought about selling the Golf to a dealer. No Facebook idiots, no trading for anything else, just a sale.

Here in the current year there are a lot of companies claiming to give you both the best possible deal and to make the car sales process seamless. This week I found out what five of these early days looked like.

First of all, let me clarify: no, I haven’t priced the Golf at all used car outlets online. I rated the car with five of the company’s biggest names. Your mileage may vary if you contact a regional service. Each of the ones I’ve tried is national and promises to give you instant cash offer for your car. Most of them will collect the car from you during the transaction, or you can bring it to a physical location if you wish. The five companies I evaluated were CarMax, Carvana, Vroom, Give Me The VIN, and AutoNation.

All asked me to enter the VIN or my plate, as well as the general information expected on the Golf. They were all interested in the mileage, if there was any hail or personal injury, if the interior was clean and how many keys he had. The other questions varied slightly but were not too exhaustive. One site, AutoNation, asked me to upload pictures of the golf course to help with their rating.

Before all of this, I evaluated the trade-in value of the Golf at Kelly Blue Book. I know some of you all hate KBB, but that’s just life. KBB said it expects between $ 19,541 and $ 21,394. Given the ridiculous second hand market right now, I figured I should be able to beat the top of that range. So what happened?

We start with what I would call the pleasant and professional salespeople who delivered the expected preliminary experience. CarMax, Carvana and Vroom were all easy to use. More importantly, all three companies delivered an instant deal as promised. I won’t go into details as the numbers get stale too quickly and there are regional variables involved. However, CarMax was the lowest, Vroom in the middle and Carvana was the highest. Carvana insisted that its offer was higher than the valuation of KBB. The other two just said “Here is your figure, are you interested?” But they were in the KBB trading range. They all sent one or two emails with my encrypted offer and a link to complete the transaction.

The two remaining companies offered an unpleasant and less professional experience than expected. AutoNation’s site said you can click to get a certified deal on their homepage, which prompted more questions. While not surprisingly, the fact that they needed images of the car to complete their offering was. The AutoNation site also requires that you accept robocalls and text messages to get your offer and to affirm that the phone number you provide is yours and correct, or that your offer is void. After I reluctantly entered all of the information and hit submit, the site informed me that my offer would be emailed in 30 minutes.

An hour and 40 minutes later, there was no offer from AutoNation, but I received an email from Samuel, an acquisition associate. He told me I should call him and he could walk me through the process and give me a check today. I replied that I was just looking for my offer, which all other sites could deliver instantly and without a call. His response indicated that AutoNation’s head office was “a bit backed up” and that he would contact me as soon as the offer was received to review it. I don’t know what we would have talked about on the phone when he had no offer to review.

It was already too laborious, and I surely thought that in a few hours I would have the offer. No, AutoNation’s offer arrived approximately seven and a half hours after I submitted my application online. Their bid was almost exactly in the middle of the KBB trade-in price. Additionally, AutoNation does not offer pickup – customers must go to a location to drop off the car. I responded with a refusal, saying the offer was too low. AutoNation left me alone after that, with just an “Are you happy?” email automatically generated by the General Manager of the nearest AutoNation location.

That leaves us with Give Me The Vin, which takes home the award for the least professional used car sales experience here. It should be noted that GMTV is the only one-way service that buys used cars but does not have a dealer side. After entering my information like other sites, GMTV provided a range estimate rather than a guaranteed offer. Their fork started way below the KBB exchange and ended in the middle of it, making it the worst offer I have ever received. The site asked me if I refused, considered or accepted the range, with a box to tell them why. I chose decline and said the range was too low. It should be noted that GMTV had the least generous deadline to accept its offer, at 12 noon. All other services here gave at least a week and Carvana gave 30 days.

My refusal triggered an email and text correspondence event, where I was put in touch with Jeff almost instantly. Jeff texted me, then another email explaining why their price was good. Jeff reiterated his offer, a single number that was (now) the lower part of the previously offered range. It was over $ 1,500 less than KBB’s lowest valuation.

Again, I declined and stated via email that all of the competitors offered me more. Jeff requested a photo of the best deal to compare, so I sent the best (Carvana). Nine minutes later, Jeff responded with a very poorly written and unprofessional email accusing Carvana, the price ‘range’ of Carvana (they didn’t actually give me a range) and detailing all the red flags regarding Carvana. . What if I show it to you?

At the same time, a separate email from Jeff arrived, once again reminding me of their low offer, encouraging me to hurry as I only had 12 hours. After that Jeff answered the exact mileage question, which I needed to update because I assumed it was a bit too low. I immediately provided a revised Carvana offer with the corrected mileage. Thirteen minutes later, I received another email from Jeff. They were going to “PASS” and again sued Carvana, which apparently uses outdated car prices for several weeks to the reasons, and that’s why they pay too much for cars.

After the decline I received another email from GMTV, a sample letter stating that the company was looking to make $ 300 per trade (whatever that meant) and was not sure it could do it with the Golf.

What I learned here is that not all used car buying services are created equal. Three left me feeling good, one seemed disorganized and the other was shady. Seller beware when you are ready to sell your used car.

[Image: Carvana, KBB]


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