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Buying Cars on Ebay: eBay Protection Policies

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Do not depend on the eBay Buyer Vehicle Protection Program. It’s not that I don’t believe eBay will protect you, they have a vested financial interest in doing so, it’s that there are a lot of variables and a lot of things that can go wrong. In fact, whenever you buy anything, the protection policies should never come into play because you should only enter into a transaction that you are 100% confident in. If there is a inkling of foul play, don’t buy the car. If the guy sounds funny or is not entirely forthcoming when you ask a question, don’t buy the car. If you’re on the fence about the vehicle, for whatever reason, do not buy the car.

Vehicle Purchase Protection
Ensures that you receive the vehicle you paid for, with coverage up to $20,000 against fraud or material misrepresentation.

That’s the guarantee that eBay provides, with a $100 deductible. But if you look closely, it only protects you if the seller commits fraud or misrepresents the vehicle. A lot of times, the listing will state “As-Is” and so that absolves the seller of any problems that he or she didn’t know about beforehand.

Let’s say you purchase a car and it has a huge scratch that the seller didn’t mention. Well, that’s something that the seller can’t pretend to not have known about. But what if the problem is a small leak in the coolant line that ruptures, causes your car to overheat, and you blow a head gasket? Well, that small leak isn’t something that the seller would necessarily know about, especially if the leak was small and grew over time. The repairs to your car would be in the thousands of dollars but you can’t hold the seller liable because he or she didn’t know.

So, bottom line, if you would buy the car without the protection program, buy the car. If you see a car that you would only buy if you had eBay’s protection program, skip it. Do yourself a favor and skip it. No money is worth the headaches that a potential “mysterious” problem would bring.

{ 46 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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46 Responses to “Buying Cars on Ebay: eBay Protection Policies”

  1. FMF says:

    I still think buying a car on eBay is pretty risky. Just wouldn’t risk that much money in this way.

    Is your next series “How to buy a house on eBay”? Hey, that’s a great idea for a series. Remember — you heard it here first!!!!

  2. Yeah, I’m with FMF. There’s now way that I’d buy a car on eBay. I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to transactions like that.

  3. Oh, and I’m still waiting for the series on “How to Trade Cattle on eBay.”

  4. FMF says:

    Jim — BTW — have you actually bought a car on eBay?

  5. jim says:

    Yes, I’ve bought two. The first was was about three years ago and was totaled in an accident a little over a year ago (not my fault, a woman in a Durango ran a red light). The second was purchased soon after the accident.

  6. FMF says:

    Wow. So I guess you do speak from experience.

    So, is a house the next eBay purchase?

  7. jim says:

    Well, I just bought a house last May so I don’t anticipate buying another one for at least a little while. :)

  8. FMF says:

    Can you even buy a house on eBay? It’s probably been done, hasn’t it?

  9. jim says:

    Sure you can, eBay Real Estate.

  10. Yeah, but can you trade cattle?

  11. FMF says:

    Really? Do people do this? (How big a business is it for them?) Do people only use it locally — they certainly don’t buy houses across the country sight unseen do they?

  12. jim says:

    I have no idea but it’s definitely not as big as auto for those very reasons. I wouldn’t ever buy a house sight unseen, the dollar amounts are simply too great to risk it.

  13. FMF says:

    Did you see your cars ahead of time?

  14. jim says:

    Only photos, never in person.

  15. FMF says:

    Really? How did you know they were “ok”?

  16. jim says:

    I didn’t know 100% but I spoke with the sellers on the phone and they were both well within their 3 yr/36,000mi manufacturer’s warranty in case there was something significantly wrong. Plus they were incredible deals.

  17. FMF says:

    I guess it’s worth the risk if they were really great deals — even if you then had to pay some $$$$ to get them fixed, it still might be a decent buy.

  18. Riley says:

    I was thinking about buying a clasic car on ebay and I saw some realy nice cars for very cheep. From the pictures the car looks in good condition but how can I be sure it runs fine. Does ebay protect me if the car does not run and they don’t tell me it dose not run.

  19. Been There says:

    I want to add a note on the eBay Vehicle Protection Plan. I bought a car (great regret) that was seriously misrepresented by the seller. These were obvious flaws that were beyond a doubt noticeable to the seller. The Vehicle Protection Plan (VPP) people rejected my claims and paid not a penny of the more than $7,000 in repairs the car needed. They stated it must be some sort of flaw in the body, the engine, or the transmission. The car I bought had a cracked fuel injection system – they told me that is not considered part of the engine. The windows did not even close (you could jiggle them back and forth with your hand laid flat on the glass). They told me that was not part of the body. So as far as I can tell, unless you buy a car with an engine rod sticking through the side of the engine block – or better yet, through the side of the car itself – I have severe doubts they will help you AT ALL. If you want a good quality used vehicle, find out if there is a club for that car near you and join. Someone is always selling cars within the club, and the veteran members will help guide you to – and away from – the appropriate cars. But learn from me – I am telling everyone to AVOID eBay!

    • wonders says:

      I have a blown motor you think there backing me up no,there plan is useless as the motor.Dont buy ebay buy local,ebay vpp plan only protrects fraudlent sellers.Buy local been there too.

    • Jilted says:

      Don’t buy a car on Ebay, there is no protection. I previously bought three cars on Ebay, vintage rides but when I asked, bid, won on an older car and it had water damage, body damage, dead tires, oil leaks, all the signs of a seriously flogged car and noe of those items described in the listing. Ebay’s VPP, only in regard to the deposit, will not protect you.

      Consequently, two negative ratings were applied to the seller the same week and Ebay removed them both. If you wouldn’t drive to backwoods Mississippi and buy a car in a little town where everyone looks the same, don’t buy a car on Ebay, the buyer is defenceless

  20. Jo Ashing says:

    I have purchased several cars from ebay, but the last was not up to par. I came out OK, but Ebay did not even censer the seller for misrepresenting the car. I bought a bike or my son listed as a Yamaha YZF R6, it was a YZF R6S. The R6S is worth $1050 less than the bike I bought. Ebay’s Vehicle Protection Service which was to protect me, won’t do a thing. They don’t take into consideration that I was defrauded and would not have even bid on the R6S, I wanted an R6. I am screwed because I bought it under NADA average sales price. Yeah I did, it needed a fairing, headlights and some minor repair. I knew this when I bought it. What I did not know was that there was no headers or exhaust system. All this affects the value of the bike and the VPP people said that Ebay did not allow them to consider that. The seller even admits that he knew he listed the item wrong, and no one at Ebay will help me. Run Run Run away from Ebay.

  21. NQPA says:

    Buying cars on Ebay is fine, as long as they are local to you so you can see the car. However, Ebay’s VPP is a joke. We received an illegal title and Ebay states they can’t help because we did receive a title. Go figure!

  22. wonders says:

    seems a class action law suit with ebays vpp is in order.

  23. wonders says:

    ebay motors vpp is a rip off! even if you do every thing right they dont back up the buyer. they shouldnt offer a protrection plan when they wont back up the buyer they use play on words to get out of ever paying anything.

  24. wonders says:

    eBay Buyer Vehicle Protection Program is as big as a insurance scam as any on the net buyer beware beware beware there is no vpp through ebay

  25. kristyf says:

    Booming business in those free-standing storage facilities, where junk goes to linger in a persistent vegetative state, somewhere between eBay and the dump.


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