back to articles | November 20, 2020 | Jeff GoodSmth

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying Auto Loans & Financing Buying & Selling Cars Types of Car Loans Vehicle & Buying Research Useful Automotive Information

Why You Should NOT Buy Your Car on Ebay or Craigslist

When you’re ready to buy a car, you have a lot of decisions to make. What kind of vehicle best suits your needs? Do you want to buy a used car or a new car? How am I going to finance my purchase? And, finally, who will you buy your car from?


When you’re ready to buy a car, you have a lot of decisions to make. What kind of vehicle best suits your needs? Do you want to buy a used car or a new car? How am I going to finance my purchase? And, finally, who will you buy your car from?

While most people work with a certified car dealership, there are several options out there that might look a bit more attractive. Just by going online, you can find cars, vans and trucks for sale at rates well below their blue book value.

But beware! When you see a car for sale online, and it’s not a reputable dealership, there are a lot of pitfalls to run into. You can end up with a lemon, or even find yourself scammed.

So when you see your car for sale on Craigslist or Ebay, you should be more than just wary. You should run for the following reasons.

No Vehicle History Report

If you’re purchasing a vehicle from a large online dealership, or an in-person dealership, it comes with a detailed vehicle history report that can tell you what work has been done on your potential new vehicle. This helps you understand the condition of the car, and can warn you to potential issues down the road.

These vehicle history reports can also tell you about previous accidents the car has been in, and help ensure that your purchased vehicle can keep you safe on the road.

However, if you’re purchasing a car on Ebay or Craigslist, or from individuals online, it’s almost certain that a vehicle history report will not be provided. That means you’ll have to be the one to pay for a report yourself.

It’s Difficult to Transfer the Car’s Title

Acquiring an accurate title for a vehicle is a complicated process, which is typically handled by a dealership, who have salesmen and agents who are trained in properly filling out the proper information. A Craigslist car purchase, on the other hand, usually involves the previous owner handing over the keys and walking away.

This leaves you having to figure out how to fill out all the proper paperwork, which could lead to you making some crucial mistakes.

It’s More Difficult to Finance a Used Car Purchased on Craigslist or Ebay

Finding financing for the purchase of a car can be difficult for those who have poor credit. That’s made even more difficult when going through an individual car seller online. Most dealerships are able and willing to find the right creditors who can put together proper financing for those with poor credit.

Craigslist and Ebay purchases can’t offer similar services. The end result means that if you plan on buying online, you’ll have to find financing through a bank or credit union, who are typically less likely to provide funding and will have less flexible schedules and higher interest rates. So not only will it be harder to pay for the car, it’ll cost you more in the long run!

You Likely Will Not Be Able to Test Drive the Car

One of the most enjoyable, and important, part of the car buying process is being able to step into a car and drive it yourself. You can get a feel of a car to see if it’s a right fit, while possibly spotting features that you want removed, or ones you’d like added.

For obvious reasons, if you buy a car online, it’s almost certain that you won’t be able to take it out for a spin before finalizing your purchase. Not only does that take away a chance for you to possibly spot issues with your soon-to-be-new car, it also takes away the fun of taking the car out for a test spin.

You Could Find Yourself Being Scammed

Since Ebay and Craigslist makes it very easy to post anything from lamps to a car, just about anyone can put something up for sale on the site. That’s great news if you’re looking to get rid of furniture before a big move, but it also means that people can make posts with more malicious intentions.

You can encounter fake wire transfers or escrews, which will take your money without delivering the car you purchased. You also can find scammers offering fake car shipments, promising to ship the car over state lines for a fee, only to break the contract and run off with the money you’ve already paid. You can also encounter Title and VIN scams that will leave you in a lurch.

Ultimately, purchasing a new vehicle is a huge decision that can make a gigantic positive impact in your life. But it’s important to not take shortcuts, just because it might seem cheaper, easier, or faster. It’s always best to work with a dealer to ensure that your car buying experience is safe and secure. Plus, there’s always the test drive to look forward to.