Nowadays, almost every item that you use on a daily basis can be purchased online right from the comfort of your home. Online shopping has given customers the privilege of selecting all the products from their favorite brands and then getting them delivered right to their doorsteps. You can add all the items you crave to your own personal wishlist and then book the delivery date at your convenience through any device you like.
Online shopping has expanded beyond the horizons of the usual personal care products like shampoo, soap, perfume, toothpaste, shaving products, and groceries. Today, more companies are displaying their inventories on an online platform than ever before. The used car market has also transitioned to online car-selling portals, where they enlist a used Dodge Charger for sale and many other used cars that are in high demand with customers.
However, always keep in mind that the Internet carries an equal amount of risks alongside opportunities. While online used car shopping has its perks over traditional car sales, it also has its share of nerve-wracking cons. It is important to double-check all aspects before you go ahead with a deal for a used car online.
An overview of online used car shopping
Many customers research the car of their interests beforehand using the power of the Internet. This is indeed a good practice, as comparing the prices these cars sell for on an online portal can help you get a command while negotiating the final price in any used car deal. Most online used car sites show you the list of all the cars based on your geographical location using their vast databases. For further research, customers can visit and see the cars that are listed for sale in person.
However, if you consider the actual online car buying experience, it involves choosing your desired car, arranging its payment through cash or financing, and having it delivered to your doorsteps. These online used car portals don’t have actual retail locations and they offer lower prices on their deals. This business model saves on the overhead costs by skipping a physical location but also has its own set of other expenses like delivery and logistics expenses, expenses related to its return policy, and higher marketing expenses.
Traditional car dealerships don’t have to incur any of the extra expenses. Also, for online used car sellers, the most important factor is reconditioning their used cars. With the decentralized environment that they work in and no dedicated facilities, reconditioning of used cars is the biggest challenge for online used car portals.
What are the various things that can mess up while shopping for a car online?
Shopping for a used car online is way different than approaching a dealership or private seller for the same. It is important to do your research properly before making any bold move. Customer reviews from different people who have made online purchases of used cars can come in handy. Don’t just refer to the reviews mentioned on the website, as the online car seller specifically displays all the positive reviews at the top of the page.
For more genuine reviews, read reviews from websites like Trustpilot, Google, Yelp, and other trusted sources. You may be surprised to find out numerous reviews filled with criticism and nightmarish experiences regarding online car sales. The majority of the negative customer reviews are filled with these complaints:
Almost every car buyer that settled for an online medium for their car purchase has faced some sort of delay in one form or another. The company agrees to the delivery of the car on a particular date, but then delays the delivery date by a few days, a week, or even a month. In this scenario, the customer can’t do anything but wait patiently.
And the worst part is the timing, when you find out about the delay. Often, the company sends you a notification about the delay on the same day that the car was supposed to arrive. This can indeed be a very frustrating buying experience. As a matter of fact, some online car buyers canceled their orders as they couldn’t cope with the inconvenience.
The car feels way below expectations
Just like a grocery store, an online car selling portal tries to make its products seem as immaculate as possible, through beautiful shots of the car’s exterior and interior. Many car buyers fall into the trap and when they do get their delivery, they notice many flaws that weren’t indicated in any of the pictures.
There could be many factors that don’t meet the buyer’s expectations, like the car’s color, condition, driving dynamics, interior quality, and others. Many buyers also discovered one or two mechanical problems, which weren’t mentioned anywhere in the listing.
In this scenario, you should always read the company’s policies to know their take on what is acceptable for a used car and what isn’t. For instance, if a used car smelled of cigarette smoke and the company’s policies deemed it acceptable to have smoke odors, there is absolutely nothing you can do in this situation. However, most online used car selling portals offer a grace period of 7-8 days within which you can exchange the car for another one or get a refund. However, remember that if the replacement car you are seeking is priced higher, you have to cover the extra costs associated with it.
Unreliable customer service
If you read through most customer reviews regarding their online car buying experience, bad customer service features in almost every review. Very few online used car shopping websites have an actual salesforce working in the customer service department. For most of these websites though, it is the same old story.
You talk to one representative, the representative links you to his manager, the manager then interprets a totally different story of the situation and the endless cycle goes on. Most of these online used car portals don’t offer actual help and support if you end up in a sticky situation with your purchase.
The awful grace period downtime
Suppose that the used car that you ordered online wasn’t up to your expectations. After wrestling your way through customer service lines, you finally get through to the company. The company then gives you a complicated guide on how and where to get your car fixed. However, the catch is that most customers end up frustrated by the time they get their car fixed. But now the grace period has also passed by, meaning that they are stuck with the car for a while.
One major thing that you can take home from this guide is that while online shopping for a used car might be very easy and affordable it doesn’t always translate to a happy experience. Out of all the customer reviews, you can find criticism or discontent in at least 20% of those reviews. This is an alarming figure by today’s standards. The easiest part about buying a car online is the ordering process. However, most of the after-sale services involved after your car purchase are under scrutiny.
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