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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    840

    Default Buying a car sight unseen? Anyone done it?

    I hope to get this in before OT day shuts down . . .

    I need a new car. The Saturn has been valiant, but at 265,000 miles, and with me going back to school in the fall, it is unfair to ask it for more.

    My heart is set on a Mini Cooper. However, in my area, people seem to think Mini is spelled F-e-r-r-a-r-i. Prices are unreasonably high and the few attempts I've made to negotiate have been thrown back in my face. Therefore, I've been looking further afield. And finding great deals in other states. Far away states. Like Florida. Where I can have a 2009 Mini Cooper, fully loaded with a clean CarFax, for $13,000.

    So has anyone had a good experience with buying a car long-distance, having it shipped to you, and then living with it, hopefully happily ever after? What was the process like? Any pitfalls or advice?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
    Location
    Somewhere in the Midwest
    Posts
    2,062

    Default

    I would not do it...there are too many scammers out there. When I was car shipping, it seemed every car that was priced "too good to be true" ended up being an internet scam. Is it with a dealer or a private seller? If you can determine that it is a real person, you could find a local reputable garage to inspect it and then fly out and drive it home. It might cost you an extra $1000 in time, gas, mechanic's time but might be worth it. If the Seller insists on payment without allowing this, I would not do it.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2006
    Location
    At the back of the line
    Posts
    4,016

    Default

    Many times, DH bought his burban and shipped it, other times we ebay bid then went to see, if there was a problem (1x out of 4) we just backed out, no harm. Many here dont like ebay but they have this thing called feedback, it lets you know if they are skanks, though the 1x we had a problem feedback was ok but person made it right with us so really I would go ebay if I was going to do that.
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2001
    Posts
    102

    Default

    I live in NY and I bought my car in PA. I made the deal over the phone. I had a newer car I was trading in and I was looking for a particular color in a Xterra and had no luck here. The car I bought was only 1 year old and I bought from a dealer so I really wasn't worried. Worked for me. Still have the SUV.

    My husband traded in his SUV as we didn't need 2 SUVs for a mini cooper and have to tell you we love the car.

    Good luck. I guess it would all depend on who or where you were buying it from.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    840

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NJRider View Post
    I would not do it...there are too many scammers out there. When I was car shipping, it seemed every car that was priced "too good to be true" ended up being an internet scam. Is it with a dealer or a private seller? If you can determine that it is a real person, you could find a local reputable garage to inspect it and then fly out and drive it home. It might cost you an extra $1000 in time, gas, mechanic's time but might be worth it. If the Seller insists on payment without allowing this, I would not do it.
    The only ones I'm looking at are from dealerships -- the one I mentioned in my original post is actually at a Porsche dealership in Miami. I figured if I got serious, I'd hire an independent inspection before I went too far with things.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    840

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDeere View Post
    Many times, DH bought his burban and shipped it, other times we ebay bid then went to see, if there was a problem (1x out of 4) we just backed out, no harm. Many here dont like ebay but they have this thing called feedback, it lets you know if they are skanks, though the 1x we had a problem feedback was ok but person made it right with us so really I would go ebay if I was going to do that.
    I have actually been looking on eBay! I'm pretty experienced with buying on eBay, but have never bought a car there.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    840

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by drs View Post
    I live in NY and I bought my car in PA. I made the deal over the phone. I had a newer car I was trading in and I was looking for a particular color in a Xterra and had no luck here. The car I bought was only 1 year old and I bought from a dealer so I really wasn't worried. Worked for me. Still have the SUV.

    My husband traded in his SUV as we didn't need 2 SUVs for a mini cooper and have to tell you we love the car.

    Good luck. I guess it would all depend on who or where you were buying it from.
    Thanks! I'm pretty cautious when it comes to cars -- I only get one shot at this and if I choose the wrong car, I'm pretty much SOL. But a bad experience a few years ago with a PT Cruiser has made me really afraid to pull the trigger this time around, even though I know I have to.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,172

    Default

    Private party? No way.
    Dealer? Maybe. We actually got our new Tacoma in a trade. The dealership had a black one and we said white and we'll take it - they traded the black one to a dealership 300 miles away. We got our Tacoma with 300 miles and the guy's soda bottle in the cup holder.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    4,111

    Default

    try Carmax.... it appears they are doing some free transfers between locations; they also used to offer transport service between locations



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2010
    Location
    All 'round Canadia
    Posts
    4,565

    Default

    I'd do it, especially from a dealer where there was an x day return guarantee.

    I have done it sight unseen via a proxy buyer, with good results. Proxy buyer gets them off lease from dealerships.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2006
    Posts
    878

    Default

    We sold a car on ebay to someone who never saw it. It was a Celica convertible, and this guy had a thing for them. We were in MD and he was in NC. I opened a bank account and gave him the number and he transferred the money into the account. He didn't want to drive up to MD to get the car, and we were going to NC to visit relatives and wound up driving the car and dropping it off at the Amtrak station. We overnighted the keys and title to him and he picked the car up from there. It was a bit nerve wracking - and I never would've done it the other way around - but it worked!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2003
    Posts
    1,888

    Default

    I have, from a private individual. We sent a small deposit, he left the car with a friend, who brought it to us when we arrived. We had two days after the arrival to send him the rest of the money when the car was as represented. It worked out really well, but could have gone very wrong if anyone was motivated to be a jerk.
    According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,108

    Default

    My neighbor sold his old pickup thru Craiglist to someone 6 hours away.
    They paid him up front for the pickup and extra to bring it over to them, rent a car to get back home.

    He was surprised that someone trusted him that much but he is really trustworthy.
    The buyer didn't even ask for references.
    I wonder about the buyer, as he could have lost all that money to a scammer.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2004
    Location
    Piedmont Triad, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,179

    Default

    I bought a car on Ebay three states away. Gave the seller a bank check after looking the car over. Didn't even test drive it but it was still under new car warranty.

    Ebay has some protections for both buyer (more) and seller (less)



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    1,696

    Default

    A friend has bought 2 cars via ebay and says it's the only way to go. I've been chicken but there are a lot of protections built in...
    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,194

    Default

    A long time ago a friend wanted a particular SUV that the local dealer was going to trade for, but then the dealer suddenly upped the price dramatically, and start getting hard to work with. The SUV the dealer located was a state away, and when my friend explained the issues I asked her if they wanted to talk to the local sales people there about it. I looked up the phone number (it was in a relative's former home town, and they only had one big dealer for the area of that brand), and we called them. They were great to deal with, the vehicle was exactly what they wanted, the price was right, and the dealer said the local dealership would do the interstate sale, because they did this all of the time. She and her husband decided to do it, got the VIN number and other info from the other dealer, and had paperwork in hand when he flew to the other city, the dealer arranged a ride from the big city airport to their town (there were a couple of retirees that ran airport runs for the dealership all of the time-they were a hoot too), he dropped off the paperwork, they got the car ready, we had booked a nice motel, and he had a list of places to eat, and the next day he picked his car up and drove back. IT worked out very nicely, and he had no problem with registration or any other paperwork items.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2007
    Location
    Down on the Farm
    Posts
    3,054

    Default

    I actually bought my latest car out of sate from a dealer, did everything from home on the computer (although I did talk to the salesmen on the phone). Dealer was in my state, car was in the next state but on another dealer owned lot. I looked at all the pics, and had my BIL (who does car financing for 5 large dealerships) run the carfax. They actually delivered the car to me, I took it on a test drive and then wrote a check. Easy Peasy.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,152

    Default

    We have bought two vheicles from Internt sales. One was from Ebay, seller had a good reputation, had the local Dealer number for checking that they had truly gone over it and done the things seller said were done. Truck was low mileage, in very good condition for the age and he went thru with the purchase. Husband loves the truck, been as good as they claimed.

    Husband purchased a second truck thru Craigslist, "only" one state away. Private owner had truck located at a car repair facility, since they had done all the work on it and were available to show it at any time. Truck was a bit grubby inside, but had very low mileage and was in good mechanical condition. We did buy it after asking a number of questions, and a test drive. Drove it home and cleaned the inside, has been a nice truck. Needed new tires, they were the originals, truck was about 7yrs old!

    Son and nephew are both pretty good mechanics, have bought and sold a number of cars and trucks thru Ebay and Craigslist, been pretty happy with the vehicles they got. These were older, lower priced vehicles they could fix up, or those fixed up vehicles they sold on. They both know what they are doing on needed fixes, so are more willing to talk down the price and jump in on a vehicle. Have driven some "very interesting" vehicles at various times.

    We are not that mechanical, so we are very careful with our Internet buying. Does work and we are happy with the trucks we found! Husband had pored over sale advertising all over the country, looking for what he wanted. No one locally seems to have any of that model available, and they don't make new ones anymore. I expect we will buy the next needed truck the same way, on the Internet.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 28, 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    500

    Default twice

    I've done it twice, both were new vehicles from out-of-state dealers after local dealers claimed to not be able to find what I wanted. Somehow I managed to go to the manufacturers' websites and find exactly what I wanted both times, so I called the out-of-state dealers, negotiated over the phone, and that was that. The first vehicle was an additional vehicle for me, so the dealer just had a driver drive it down, and he took a bus back home. Second time, a few months ago, the vehicle was replacing an older one, so the driver brought me the new one and drove my trade-in back. (I simply sent the dealer pics of my trade-in along with the VIN, and after negotiating, they gave me top bluebook value.) Easy. Well, except they did screw up the paperwork ("forgot" to knock off the last $$$ we had agreed on, but they sent new paperwork the next day). I would do it again if I couldn't find what I wanted locally.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    840

    Default

    Sounds like it turned out great for you! My dealership might actually be able to do a similar deal, but like I said, prices around here are too crazy.



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