So you want to buy a car but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of going to a car dealership. I don’t blame you. You have to negotiate with a salesman who is making a commission on every sale, fill out paperwork, and deal with financing. Where to go, then? Well, you can shop around for owners who are selling their cars in your area, but that’s a lot of legwork too. Another place is eBay, where you can get a look at used cars and, if you see one you like, then you can contact the owner.

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A Few Tips

I know, a lot of people are leery about buying cars on eBay. You get the horror stories where somebody never saw the car or heard from the owner again after sending the money. If this happens to you, be sure to contact your local authorities. Report the user to eBay because their Buyer Protection doesn’t cover cars but they may be able to take steps. PayPal also has tools you can use to recover your money if you get ripped off if you payed through them. You’ll probably have to go through the dispute process. To cover your bases, be sure you shop smart.

Check out the seller. Take a look at his eBay rating and reviews that other buyers left. Send him a question about the car and see how he responds. If he doesn’t answer or gives you an answer that sounds fishy, avoid him. Ask to arrange a test drive; if he hems and haws or refuses, he’s a fraud.

Buy local. Look at cars within driving distance of where you live. That way, you can contact the owner to arrange a test drive and you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to have the vehicle shipped out to you.

Do the research. Get the VIN number on the car and send it off to CARFAX. Also, be sure to know the market to avoid overpaying for the car you want.

Be aware of odometer fraud. Some unsavory car sellers might roll back the mileage on their car to make it look better. Check the odometer for signs of tampering.

Take the car to the shop. It’s definitely worth the expense. The shop’s report can be used as a bargaining chip or help you avoid buyer’s remorse later.

Keep a paper trail. Hold on to your communications with the seller. They can give you leverage if you made a deposit only to have the deal tank on you, or you have second thoughts about the purchase. That goes for dealerships, too.

Never send a check or wire transfer. Make electronic payments using a secure browser. How can you tell? A secure page will have https: instead of http: at the start of the URL. Credit cards and Paypal offer dispute resolution in case you never see the merchandise.

Acura on eBay

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BMWs on eBay

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Chevrolet on eBay

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Ford on eBay

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Toyota on eBay

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