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Buying A Car On Ebay Series

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The more I talk to people the more I realize how “surprising” it was that I’ve purchased two vehicles on Ebay and thought that the perfunctory discussion of my Ebay car buying experience wasn’t thorough enough. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll write in detail about the second of my two purchases which was a 2003 Toyota Celica in Nov/Dec of 2004.

Right off the bat, I want to warn you that buying anything, especially high-dollar items like cars, on Ebay is risky. The feedback system is weaker for low volume items like cars because unless the seller is a representative of a dealer, you won’t find many sellers with 100+ feedback who just sells cars. The time frames for cars, shipment and such, is much longer and thus the 35-day fraud protection window is that much smaller. If you’re not buying local you can’t see the car (you rely on photos) and you depend on the Carfax report to be accurate which may or may not be the case. There are significant risks to buying a car on Ebay but the rewards may outweigh them.

Currently Published Parts:

  • Part 1: Vehicle Choice & Research – This part isn’t strictly Ebay related and should be a part of every car search, it gives you a good idea of how much you should be paying for the vehicle you want.
  • Part 2: Dissecting An Auction Listing – There are distinct pieces of information and characteristics about an auction that you must look for. The auction listing should give you warning signs if there are any with a particular auction.
  • Part 3: Feedback & Contacting The Seller – I don’t trust Ebay’s feedback system when it comes to auto auctions, before you bid you must talk to the seller and get a feel for what kind of person he or she is. I call it the pre-Ebay feedback system, use it.
  • Part 4: Hidden Costs – I discuss the multitude of hidden costs that might not come to mind and will greatly increase the price of your vehicle, such as shipping.
  • Part 5: Understanding Buy It Now & Reserve Prices – The relationship between the publicly known Buy It Now price and the hidden Reserve Price is pretty easy to figure out…
  • Part 6: eBay Protection Policies – The protection policy is nice but don’t buy a car you wouldn’t buy without the polic.
  • More to come…
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10 Responses to “Buying A Car On Ebay Series”

  1. Caitlin says:

    ooh…can’t wait! We’re thinking of selling our ’78 toyota pickup … ebay is a consideration but I know squat about ebay motors.

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  5. klauss says:

    I also bought a car on ebay. The only problem was the shipping company I chose. I found them on http://www.auto-transport-reviews.com and they must write their own reviews or only tell their customers to please write on to the site after the fact. You know when you hear “this never has happened” you have basically won the bad luck lottery or the reviews are bunk. The ebay transaction went well though.

  6. baltimore! says:

    There are a few specialty dealers out there that specialize in eBay auctions. I used a local classic car sales lot for a few projects in college and they said that 80% of their business came from online/eBay sales. They love it because they get a huge variety of customers in a small city where rent is cheap.

    Minimal overhead!

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  9. [...] about the Alternative Minimum Tax. * Jim from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity has started a series on buying a car through eBay. That’s probably a little too risky for me, but hey, people have been successful. * [...]

  10. davek says:

    I would not recommend buying a car over 10 yr old. Ebay covers only far fetched problems in this case I.E. title issues and od rollback. This means that the seller can lie about everything on the car including saftey problems that the car my have. Your only recourse is to leave bad feedback which the seller most likely not care about he always start a new account in a family menber name. Ebay should be taken to task on this issue as you buy a car listed a wonderful and go to pick it up and it has no brakes, ebay helped sell deathtrap. The have a responsabilty to vet out false safety claims as they are the medium for the sale.
    Ebay does not provide protection for false claims made by car sellers.


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