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Buy a Car On Ebay - I Did

Updated on June 12, 2010
The same make and model car we purchased from eBay Motors
The same make and model car we purchased from eBay Motors

My husband and I decided to try our hand at eBay motors, when we were unable to find the type of used car we wanted for the money we had to spend. Being a big fan of eBay, I suggested we research their eBay Motors section and my husband agreed. The car was to be a work car for hubby so we didn't want anything too new as he would be hauling tools and dirt and grease back and forth from work to home. So we didn't mind if it had high mileage, as long as the engine was basically sound.

I still have the car, which is like the one pictured, a '96 Ford Crown Victoria. However, the picture is of a police car and it is white. My car is bronze and I'm not a cop, but the make and style are the same.

Not A Risky Venture

It never came to my mind that I would be cheated or that we were taking a chance by buying online or by buying from eBay. I guess it was because I had never had any unresolvable experiences with my eBay purchases and I knew I would be paying with my Paypal account which came with automatic protection. I was very confident that if I followed directions, everything would be OK and that if by chance things did not work out, I would be able to go to eBay and ask them to rectify matters in my behalf.

How did we make out buying from eBay Motors? Very well, actually. Would I recommend buying from eBay to others? Yes I would, with some qualifications. Please read Techhounds hub to see the steps and procedurs I followed to make sure all my bases were covered.

Why Did I Chose to Buy Online?

For me the convenience factor weighed in as my top priority.

My husband had spent time and energy checking out cars in our area with no success. It was time consuming and irritating, especially when you consider the reason we needed a car to begin with. You see, my husband was travelling to work early one wintry and snowy morning, when another driver on the opposite side of the road, crossed the Atlantic City Expressway, traveled across the grass median and hit him head-on. He was on the southbound side, she was on the northbound side. She was not only a distracted and lousy driver, but she was also an uninsured motorist. Our insurance had to pay to replace our car, which was a '95 Crown Victoria. I liked the car so was hoping to get another similar to it, but just a year or so younger.

Since he had spent so much time doing all the leg work, I thought trying eBay might render some better results. It was the only way I could help out in the car search, because I didn't have the energy to travel to private and public sellers and dealers. I did, however, have the energy to read and investigate and e-mail cars found on eBay's site.


I followed all the basic suggestions made by eBay as outlined by techhound's hub. I didn't want to go through the actual bidding process because it just aggravates me to think I've won a bid only to be outbid in the last seconds by bidders who's soul purpose in life seems to be to steal bids from others.

That meant purchasing a car using the "Buy It Now" option. No hassling, or waiting, or living by eBay's official time clock, hoping someone doesn't come along at the last possible second and win the car you've been waiting for days to purchase. With the BIN option, you do all the contacting ahead of time. In our case I e-mailed and telephoned the dealer. I checked out the car's VIN for damage, which years ago meant just checking one or two sites.

Nowadays you have to spend more time making sure there is no unreported damage to the car, and that it hasn't been cloned. That the Title is legit and available and you have to closely inspect the manufacturing date inside the driver's door, not forgetting to check for lot rot while you are at it.

But back when we purchased our used car, everything checked out with one or two sites so we felt free to proceed with confidence.


Paying For Our Car

Once we decided on the car, which was only a 45 minute ride away from our house, we had to put a $500.00 deposit down using my Paypal account.

This was my one bump in an otherwise smooth road. Being inexperienced with buying a car online, I and the car dealer selling the car, both made mistakes regarding the financial transaction. So, I would recommend making sure the monies have cleared totally before you put a deposit down. If memory serves me correctly, we both assumed the transaction was approved sooner than it was, which somehow caused problems with the withdrawal process. In effect, we both bounced our accounts almost simultaneously.

If I buy another car from eBay I would read that part more carefully and give it more time before I purchased the car, to make sure the account has actually received the down payment money.

 Picking Up Our Car

We really didn't want to travel a long way to get our car, so we stayed local in our search on eBay's site.  We wanted to travel only about 50 or 60 miles at the most and we ended up finding a car about 45 minutes away from our home.  We met the seller at a predetermined place and we checked out the car and took it for a test drive.  Being satisfied that the car was as advertised, we happily paid the remaining balance due by check, were given the title and off we went, our separate ways.

Back to that bump in the road

If I had a do-over, or if I ever buy another eBay car, I will probably deal with a money order or cash. That misunderstanding with the cash deposit multiplied and the check given to our seller bounced.  We had to run around to get the cash to give the seller and go back to meet him so that he could still catch his plane and head back to his native home.  It was an aggravation that could have been avoided if I understood the time it takes certain transactions to clear. My bank was very helpful in explaining why I should have waited longer, so I did learn something, but at the time all the confusion was stressful on top of everything else.

However, we survived and got a car that we were very happy with.  I am a little disappointed with Ford's ability to make a car that can endure because although the engine is in pretty decent shape, the driver's door is totally falling apart, to the extent that it will not pass inspection in its present condition.

Since I am not physically able to drive right now, it isn't a problem, but if and when I get back on my feet and if and when my husband is sent back out to work, then we'll have to decide what we will do about getting another vehicle.

You Bought A Car From Ebay?

Everyone that finds out our car came from eBay is so surprised.  Knowing it worked out well has even prompted questions from a couple of relatives looking to at least consider the possibility they had ignored previously. I'm sure everyone hasn't had a positive experience, but we kept it simple, followed directions and quickly corrected our mistakes, so everything worked out well for us.

I'd love to hear about your experiences, or feel free to refer a hub in the comments section so that we can share all the good sites available for car research purposes.


Short Selection of eBay Cars and Trucks on YouTube


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    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

      No offense taken. I purposely searched for cars that were within driving distance and recommend others do the same if they are not comfortable with long distance purchasing and the expense incurred.

    • profile image

      Steve 6 years ago

      No offense, but this was more of a local sale than an ebay one where it's thousands of miles away and you need the car sent by carrier.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Wow, I never purchased a very expensive car from them. Glad to know you didn't have any problems and recommend Ebay. Appreciate the comment, thanks so much.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Jen, I really like this one! I have purchased 2 cars online at eBay...both rare and beautiful and I thoroughly am satisfied w/both transactions. You give excellent tips and steps to follow. Thank you for another great hub.

      We share a love of baseball! Go San Francisco Giants...just got into the Fall Classic vs the Texas Rangers!

    • profile image

      how to get rid of eczema 7 years ago

      haha it should be a nice car if it looks like the police car lol. Glad it worked out for you, I never though of buying cars on ebay but that's an eye opener.

      Thanks Jen

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      My pleasure, thanks for the comment. :)

    • profile image

      Wife Who Saves 7 years ago

      Interesting hub. I've thought of buying a car from Ebay but never knew how easy or complicated it would be. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll reconsider Ebay.

    • profile image

      Carros Usados 7 years ago

      i also bought my car in ebay and all great, good service

    • wsteveg profile image

      wsteveg 7 years ago

      Hi, I worked for dealers buying and selling. He is a good trick buying on line.(Just so you know I had a friend who bought a Ferrari on ebay. He got a good deal he though till he found a crack in the window and then decided the paint didn't look quite as good as the picture. By the time he fixed those he was in 10,000 high.)

      If your buying from out of town find a dealer,call them with a credit card and have the party bring it to the dealer. For 90 dollars or so the dealer will call you with a report on the condition.tell them what you want. Was it wrecked,painted, is the paint perfect. With them having your card they will have your interest at heart. Make sure you pick the dealer. (make sure it not some small town where everone knows each other)

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks, so am I. :-)

    • LilBlackDress profile image

      LilBlackDress 7 years ago

      Glad you had a great experience!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks Donna! Just take your time, read the terms carefully and take the suggested precautions and I think you will be OK. Let me know how you make out. I made sure to buy within a predetermined driving distance so I could check out the car.

    • DonnaWallace profile image

      Donna Wallace 7 years ago from North Carolina

      This is perfect advice, and great timing. I've always thought about buying a car on eBay, but I was nervous about it. It's good to hear from someone who has experience.

    • profile image

      toothache pain relief 7 years ago

      buying a car online? wow! I never bought one like this before but i guess i will be doing so for my next buy. thanks Jen's Solitude

    • yalenova profile image

      yalenova 8 years ago

      Great Job! But its seems with a risk. Greatzz

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Hi tweetter, glad the article appeals to you, thanks so much for the comment.

    • tweetter profile image

      tweetter 8 years ago

      Good article, buying a used car online is sounding new to me>

    • changtian profile image

      changtian 8 years ago

      HI hi have a nice day!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Nice to meet you GarnetBird! How great you are still friends with your friend who has MS, too often friends are loss due to the disease and the changes it brings. I'm glad your best friend has your support. I look forward to checking out your hub. Thanks for leaving this comment.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      This is a very good article. I have an ebay store, The Bookhive-I once sold a used car on EBay Motors and everything went smoothly.

      My bestfriend has MS; you are brave and caring to write about your disease. I have seen what it does to people and it can be quite horrible to live with. Three cheers for your good work! Check out my hub on Protecting Our Children From Predators.


    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Your most welcome my friend!

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      An interesting hub, and great info because I prob wouldn't buy one from eBay. Thanks Jen.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Hi ajm5050, Your welcome.

      We are considering it again, since we are going to buy another car in the future. If we don't decide to take advantage of the rebate offer from the government, we will probably use ebay again.

    • ajm5050 profile image

      ajm5050 8 years ago from NY

      I didn't know so many people were buying cars from ebay, this is something I should definitely consider for my next purchase. Thanks for the information Jen.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Nice izzytellsall. Sorry about the money though. LOL I think ebay works out well if you and the party selling go by ebay's rules and aren't out to take advantage of one another. Glad that was the case for you and that you can also recommend it to others.

      BTW, you are my 100th Fan! Thanks so much, been waiting all day to see who it would be. Coming over to your profile page to thank you properly. :D

    • izzytellsall profile image

      izzytellsall 8 years ago

      I bought an awesome car on Ebay--an old classic convertible. Though my wife bemoans the money I put into it, I've been really delighted.It was absolutely the right decision for me to set aside my fears of buying a car on Ebay and just making the leap!

    • profile image

      newsworthy 8 years ago

      Jen, classic car shows like to present the finest of what's left, so any ole car wont do unless its your only ride and you park it under a tree! 

      Certainly your work car is more important then show cars.  Happy driving!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Hi newsworthy, your brother's antique cars sound sweet. :) You can't just bring any ole car to a car show, right? Love the color too.

      We just purchased a work car, not a CLASSIC. Glad it was a good experience for him. Thanks for sharing it with me..


    • profile image

      newsworthy 8 years ago

      Hi Jen, it seems your car hunt went well. Happy to hear your ebay buy worked out so well. 

      I've not purchased a car from ebay but my brother purchased 2 antique classic cars from ebay. He rides across the coast in one, showing it at car shows.  Its great fun for him and family. The car?  Its a red car and rolls just great!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Hi Fishin Cricket. Yep, turns out the dealer was selling the car for his friend. It was his first time selling a car on e-bay. Guess he wanted to see if it was something he would do in the future. I found him very upfront and honest. He just make a normal commission on the sale. I guess whether you are a buyer or a seller, getting scammed is a major fear, but seems like ebay protects both sides, equally.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Fishin' Cricket profile image

      Fishin' Cricket 8 years ago from The Ozarks Hills and Hollers of MIssouri

      Great article.. I noticed that, even though you went through e-bay, you ended up buying the car from a dealer who was advertising there, eh? I rarely hear of deals between private individuals that go very well on E-bay, I was hoping this was one of those stories. I have tried to talk the boss into selling our cars on e-bay, but he is afraid of getting scammed! Ironic, eh?

      Good hub, thanks!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Hi dcd108,

      Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for returning the favor. :)

    • dcd108 profile image

      dcd108 8 years ago

      Hi Jen! Interesting article! Before I never thought of buying a car online.

      And thanks for the recent comment on my hub. :)