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Third-party used car vendors like Carmax, Carvana, and Vroom have been quite the rage in the past few years. The global pandemic had many car shoppers shopping for cars from home, so these sites provided a lot of conveniences. But what’s even better is that they offer a “no-hassle, no-haggle” business model that allows customers to simply pick their car and purchase it like any other product.

And while the business model has proven to be beneficial to the market, it’s not always perfect. For example, Vroom has received many customer complaints online, which has resulted in an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Vroom customers in the Texas area have submitted thousands of complaints

Fresh Auto car dealership
An aerial view of cars at the Fresh Auto car dealership. According to the Autostat analytical agency, in the first quarter of 2021 Russian citizens bought 56,000 new foreign-made cars, which is 1% more than in the first quarter of 2020.| (Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images)

If you currently reside in Houston or Dallas Fort Worth and are considering doing business with Vroom, then you may want to check out some of its ratings. During the past year, customers have submitted over 1,696 complaints to the Better Business Bureau, which is a significant increase over the past few years. To be exact, Vroom has received 1,817 complaints over the past three years, so we can see why the recent uptick is concerning.

Why did Vroom obtain such a low rating with the BBB?

The BBB reports that the third-party used car dealer currently has an “F” rating due to the number of unanswered and unresolved complaints currently filed against it. After reading some of the complaints filed with the BBB, customers alleged that some of the vehicles posted for sale were “misrepresented in their online photos.” As such, when some customers’ vehicles were delivered, they had issues that could not clearly be seen in the photos. These issues included various forms of body damage as well as discolored or damaged interiors.

Other issues included problems with paperwork to get the car registered, delays in deliveries, and issues concerning trade-in vehicles. Some complaints had to do with warranty issues and deceptive Carfax reports as well as problems with communications with Vroom to address these issues and concerns. Due to unresponsiveness, many Vroom customers turned to the BBB for help. Fortunately, many customers issues have been resolved, however, the low rating still remains due to some of them remaining open.

If you plan to buy a car online from any retailer, it’s important to do your research

online car shopping on a laptop
Online car shopping shown on a laptop | (Classen/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

If you do plan to purchase a car from Vroom, or any other online used car retailer, it’s important to always do your research. The BBB recommends the following tips:

  • Research multiple retailers: Always research multiple retailers to ensure that you’re getting a fair price. Afterward, remember to check their rating on BBB and read any outstanding complaints. Also, don’t be afraid to do a little leg work and check out the car in person at your local dealership. A salesman can answer questions you may have and you’ll be able to see the car in person before making an ultimate decision with the online retailer.
  • Test drive the vehicle: If you can find the car that you want at a local dealer, be sure to test drive and get a good feel for it. Online retailers will just drop the car off to you, and although you get an initial 7 days to spend with it and you can return, that’s far more of a hassle than just test driving it at a dealership.
  • Read the fine print: If you find a car that you like online, then be sure to read the fine print before submitting your order. Be sure to check out the company’s return and refund policy and make sure that there aren’t any fees if you want to return the car.

While online used car retailers like Vroom have a good success rate, they’re not always perfect. Hopefully, Vroom will be able to get a better rating in the future, but for now, if you’re planning to buy a car from it, or anyone else, just remember to do as much research as possible.