eBay Motors has become a hot eBay destination, a place where cars, trucks, and other vehicles can be bought and sold at online auction.
But how safe is it to buy a car or truck on eBay, and what are the basic steps in buying on on eBay? Here’s what you need to know.
What to Do and Know Before You Start
There are a few basics to keep in mind and/or to prepare yourself for before you begin to shop for a vehicle on eBay. These include:
Know what you’re looking for. eBay Motors is not the right place to “decide” on the vehicle that you plan to buy, or to shop purely by price. Decisions such as make, model, model year range, price range, mileage range, and condition requirements should be made using other used car research resources. By the time you arrive at eBay Motors to begin your search, you should have a pretty good idea about all of these things.
Know how hard you’re willing to work. How far are you willing to drive to inspect a vehicle? To collect a vehicle? Are you willing to do the legwork and telephoning required to have someone across the country inspect a vehicle for you? To pay them for this? Are you willing to have a vehicle shipped? Deciding on the transaction parameters that you’re willing to accomodate can help you to narrow your search and to avoid getting yourself into a difficult situation that you didn’t anticipate.
Know how you’re paying. Do you need financing? Will you need to pay by credit card? Will you be paying by cash or some sort of check? All of these things are important; there are a wide variety of eBay Motors sellers and not all of them do things like financing or accepting checks or credit cards. Knowing this in advance, too, will help you to narrow your search.
Understand the car-buying process. Buying a vehicle on eBay often means doing a lot of the paperwork that would normally be done by a dealer all by yourself. What will you need to provide to your DMV or similar government agency in order to register the vehicle? What are the basic vehicular requirements for your state or locality? Can all “imported” vehicles be registered or plated, or just a subset of them? What sorts of forms will you need? What needs to be put into place and handled in conjunction with the seller? Will you need temporary documentation while you finish registration and/or complete any repairs that need to be done? A question-asking visit to your local motor vehicle office can help to answer questions and make this process go smoothly.
Find a good mechanic. Even if you plan to buy at a distance and pay remote mechanics or others to inspect the car for you before buying or bidding, you’ll still want a good local mechanic on your end, post-delivery or transfer to your area, to help you to get the new vehicle up and running quickly, particularly if you’re planning to buy a used vehicle.
You’ll need a PayPal account. Many eBay Motors sellers will require you to have a PayPal account and to use it to make a deposit payment quickly after you’ve won or ended a Motors auction. They do this because they want to know that you’re serious about completing a transaction—no deposit often means no sale since Motors vehicle listings are non-binding.
Prepare yourself to be a discriminating shopper. eBay Motors is not the place to let your heart rule your head. There are a lot of great vehicles to be had on eBay at great prices, but there are also an awful lot of lemons. Often, it’s not a matter of fraud—sellers don’t intend to trick buyers in most cases—but rather of realizing that most vehicles that end up on eBay are either private sales made by people that are neither mechanics or dealers and that are likely selling vehicles at various levels of repair, or vehicles that mechanics or dealers own but don’t think they can sell effectively on their own lots. eBay Motors offers many vehicles that need some sort of work done, or even some that are salvage, wrecked, or salt or water-damaged. This isn’t a bad thing—unless you shop sloppily and buy one of these without intending to. Take a deep breath before you shop eBay Motors, then begin with a sharp eye and a tough-as-nails attitude.
A lot of these things sound like “soft” big-picture sorts of concerns far removed from the vehicle-buying process, but they’re important. eBay Motors isn’t a place to mess around, take purchases lightly, or mindlessly enter bidding wars any more than your local used car dealer might be.
Once you’ve laid this foundation, you’re ready to do the actual work of looking at eBay Motors listings, evaluating them carefully, then taking the necessary steps to close the deal.