The month I decided to try and conquer one of my biggest fears — buying a car completely online. I’ve seen commercials and advertisements all over the television and browser and decided it was time to buy something new and more reliable, well, new to me. I decided to check out HGreg because it is a reputable online dealership for used cars, like Carvana, and they just so happened to have the weirdly specced BMW X4 M40i I was looking for, and the price was pretty competitive. At the end of the day there were several factors that led me to make the trip to a dealership instead, but is it worth it for some buyers to look online.
Why I liked the online car buying experience
I had already test-driven the car that I wanted to look at so I was confident that it was the car for me. There were a few things about the process that made it incredibly easy and stress-free, and if going to a dealership right now, or in general, gives you heartburn then starting your search online is a great way to get started. Buying a car completely online, however, is a pretty new ball game to most people, and it’s pretty intimidating at the surface.
Working with the salesperson online was less intimidating than having someone trying to up-sell you on different cars and packages, and you get to handle the whole experience on your own terms. The salesperson I worked with at HGreg was very responsive to all of my questions and answered any concerns that I had about the car itself, the financing portion of the sale, or any warranty information I was looking for.
I also had the opportunity to research the car thoroughly and using the VIN I was able to see what the car’s manufacturing specifications were — meaning what packages and options the car had —and contact my local dealership to see if there were any applicable recall for the car. I could price comparison with other cars in my area and make sure I was getting the car for the price I was looking for, and the application process told me everything I needed to know prior to finalizing my pick up.
Why I inevitably didn’t buy online
There were some unfortunate downsides I experienced, and it isn’t anything that you don’t get from a normal car dealership. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some great experiences at car dealerships, and some not so stellar ones — this just happened to not be so stellar for me. Regardless of the circumstances, you are still working with a salesperson, and this is the part that I avoid the dealership for. I have nothing against salespeople at the car dealership, but at the end of the day it is a business and you have to acknowledge that they, just like the dealership itself, are there to make money.
For me, the pressure of buying a car online, completing the financing for the purchase, and have never even seen the car in person was just too stressful. I also of course got the standard “someone else is interested, so you need to buy it now” call from the salesperson, and its the same call I’ve gotten a dozen times before. I didn’t fall for it and neither should you. Sure enough, the car was still there the next morning, but I wasn’t. I decided it was worth it enough for me to see the car in person.
Buying a car online requires thorough research and a lot of trust in the overall system, and buying from a large, reputable online car dealership can help ease some of the stress, but for me it wasn’t worth saving the trip to the dealership in the end.