This post is for our customers who are international car buyers.
Have you ever wanted to purchase a car online? Perhaps you are not close to an auto dealership with a large selection. Are you looking for a better deal than what you can get in your hometown? Have you ever wanted to purchase a car online knowing that maybe you could avoid the car salesman? If you answered yes to any of these, keep on reading!
This blog post will talk about how to verify the company you are doing business with is a legit auto dealership. There are too many car websites on the internet that do not have a physical presence or they are affiliate websites trying to get your contact information. There are 4 main steps to check before purchasing a car online. Steps 1, 2, & 3 are verifying that the company is legit while step 4 deals with the car itself.
1) BBB Membership and A+ Ratings
One of the 1st things a person should do is to verify the BBB Membership of the company you are buying from. In addition, check the ratings of the company. The illustration below shows David Stanley’s BBB Accreditation.
A company normally has one BBB account for all their websites. In the case of David Stanley, you can expect to see one listing for all their locations. Also, a fly by night website will almost never pay hundreds of dollars to have a BBB membership.
2) Verifying Ownership of Website
Go to Domain Tools to verify the ownership of a website. Use davidstanleydodge.com to test this out. This is very important for people who will be buying a car sight unseen! The illustration below uses David Stanley as the example.
Once you click “Search for Domain” you will see the business and/or owner of the website (shown below). You can also click on the “Registration” tab to see how long has the site been around. In the David Stanley Dodge example, you can see the website has been around for a very long time. It was created 2000-02-11.
Don’t do business with a company who hides this information. There is no need for a car dealership to have this information private. Spam sites almost always have this private.
3) Activity on Facebook and Twitter – Make sure that the company you are going to buy from has a Social Media presence. Many online auto dealerships that are spam do not take the effort to build a community of customers because it’s too time consuming. The images below show how David Stanley Dodge participates in both Facebook and Twitter. It shows that there is activity on a regular basis.
4) Vehicle Condition: If you are buying a car online (this is especially true for people who are in another country), you can get an independent car pre-inspection before purchasing a used vehicle over the internet. Rates normally start at $99. The more expensive pre-inspections have more inspection points.
One thing that should be mandatory when buying a used car over the internet is a CarFax History Report. It will show the history of any accidents, title status, and prior vehicle usage (rental, taxi, lease, etc.). All you have to do is put the VIN# or the License Plates with State.
If you are buying a car over the internet, make sure the company passed all the steps. It will greatly reduce the any potential of risk. If the company doesn’t pass the BBB A+ Accreditation or the website has only need around for less than a year, don’t buy from there.
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