Is It Safe to Buy a Car Online?
Written by DriveAxis.ca September 28, 2022
These days, you can buy almost anything online, and that trend has been increasing for quite some time. Even larger life purchases such as vehicles can be bought online, and more people are jumping on the bandwagon due to convenience, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to browse a wide selection from the comfort and convenience of home.
However, many are still wary about purchasing a car online, and some of the old stigma related to online purchases persists to this day. Not everyone feels comfortable buying a car online, but for those who are considering it, they can rest easy after reading up on some helpful tips to make the experience a positive one.
THE ADVANTAGES OF CUSTOMER REVIEWS
Many folks think that buying a car from an online dealership leaves them wide open to scams and other fraudulent behaviors. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. These days, it’s very easy to research the history of a dealership, while cross-referencing their information with actual customer testimonials.
Though not always one-hundred percent accurate, these reviews can give you an idea of how a dealership operates, and what their practices are. When checking reviews, pay close attention to the negatives, rather than the positives. You want to hear what a dealership has done wrong, so you have better information to go by. Some bad reviews are generic, and put up out of spite, but others that go into actual detail may be worth paying attention to. Try to find other negative reviews that reference the same problems, and you may notice a pattern.
The best dealerships know that competition is real, and they need to be on their A game at all times in order to attract new customers. That means going the extra mile when it comes to customer service, perks and incentives, and of course, honest and honorable business practices.
SEAL YOUR DEAL IN WRITING
Online vehicle purchases can be positive, but never assume that the back-and-forth exchange between you and the dealership is taken into account. If you’re discussing things like extra options, incentives, a lower finance or lease rate, etc., make sure you get all these details in writing. Keep a copy of your notes so that there’s no confusion when it’s time to sign.
Always make sure to read your contract top to bottom to make sure that you haven’t missed anything. Make sure to revise the contract the moment you spot something that isn’t correct, and have the dealership amend it. This will prevent confusion on the part of both parties, which will result in a smoother buying experience. Never assume the dealership has jotted down every note during negotiations.
ASK FOR THE VIN NUMBER
In order to better protect yourself, you should always get vital information about the vehicle you’re interested in purchasing, and that includes the VIN number. This single piece of information can tell a vehicle’s entire life story, and will give you a much better idea of what kind of condition it’s in. If you do a check on a vehicle’s VIN number and notice a history of regular service and maintenance, and no accidents, you’re probably in a good position to make a purchase.
When the time comes to actually buy a vehicle, don’t take the VIN number as gospel. Rather, use it as a baseline to determine the price. Before signing the contract, ask to take the vehicle to a reputable mechanic that you trust, so they can give it a proper examination and make sure everything is on the up and up. If a dealership refuses to allow this, you should consider walking away. That being said, some of the best vehicle purchases are done online, provided you exercise a bit of due diligence about their history.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
It’s a good idea to buy your vehicle online from a reputable dealer, as opposed to individuals who may, or may not be what they seem. For instance, out-of-country sellers sometimes defraud potential customers, since they’re not physically there to show you the vehicle, or work with you. Similarly, low-value “too good to be true” prices for certain vehicles may indicate that there’s a scam in play.
Another issue to watch out for are buyers that refuse to talk over the phone, or meet in person to prove who they are. Some of these tips may seem obvious, but many still fall victim to a false sense of security when dealing with individuals selling their cars online. For peace of mind, speak to a reputable online dealership with a proven track record, and the proof to back it up.
Buying a vehicle online doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be quite an enjoyable experience that saves time, while allowing you to browse from a wide selection of vehicles to find the one that best suits you.
If you’re interested in buying a vehicle, DriveAxis.ca is here to help. We pride ourselves on having one of the most robust online inventories of cars in the business, and we’re constantly updating it with new arrivals. Regardless of your credit, we’ll help you secure the vehicle you want, while delivering the most honest and satisfactory service in the business.