I Bought a Car Online – Go #Carvana!
|September 17, 2015||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Reviews/Giveaways|
*This post describes my experience with Carvana. I was not provided any compensation and all opinions expressed are my own.
My daughter graduated from college in 2013 and is working on a Master’s degree now. The day she received her Bachelor’s degree, my husband and I gave her a card for graduation. Inside the card was a coupon that surprised her with a “car of your choice up to $ XXX.00!” She was elated and over the moon excited. At the time, you see, she was still driving the hand-me-down car she got from my amazing parents her sophomore year in high school – a 1999 Toyota Camry. You can do the math here.
This ever-sensible daughter of mine decided that since her current car was still driving just fine and she wasn’t sure where she’d be living once she got out of grad school, that she would hold off a little while on choosing her new car. Fast forward two years and her car is beginning to show signs that it might be time to start looking around. I proclaimed that this was the time, even though it was a year early, but I worried that she’d be stranded somewhere.
Once I began my search for a sensible, dependable and safe car, I immediately encountered what I now call the Smarmy Army – a legion of car sales people. I had accidentally activated them and they were now chasing me around the clock. I naively offered my contact information everywhere I went “in case a great deal becomes available”. I was bombarded at the car dealerships, in my mailbox, on my email, in text messages and on both my cell and home phones. A month later, it still hasn’t stopped. Fool me once, Smarmy Army…fool me once…
It was about that time that a Carvana commercial came on television. You know…The Lazy Guy.
On a whim, I visited the Carvana website. I’m not going to say that the angels started singing, but the things I saw made me want to sing!
…and I’m an angel, right?
The bright, easy to navigate site helped me view cars in my price range, by make, model, year and features. I dove in and found several cars to “park” in my virtual garage and sent a link to my daughter to look at. What I had just done, in about 30 minutes, had instantly saved me several hours and allowed me to avoid any additional battles with the Smarmy Army.
I learned that the average consumer spends more than 20 hours searching for a new car (I’m sure I had already spent more than that!) and overpays roughly $3,500 when purchasing a car because of outdated dealer practices. Why can’t this industry embrace technology to increase transparency, speed and customer control like most others? Brick and mortar dealerships (at the expense of the buyer) aren’t the only way to get things done.
The Online Experience
Unlike the pop-ups, banners and contact forms to fill out on regular dealership websites, on the Carvana website I clicked on “Find My Next Car” and was greeted with actual cars in their inventory and filters to find exactly what I was looking for. The site really comes alive when you click on a car or truck from the inventory. Carvana takes professional photos and panoramic tours (both interior and exterior) of every single vehicle using some very clever technology that our delivery guy shared with us. I was able to inspect all of the car’s features and imperfections (if there are any) with its 360-degree photo technology. Carvana posts detailed photos of the very car you will be buying, complete with scratches, wear on the interior, and other imperfections, all called out so you won’t miss them. It also gives you a thorough tour of the features, gas mileage, and other relevant information. The details tab contained the specifics of each vehicle and I had access a free vehicle history report.
There were lots of financing options. The website will be allow you to view and adjust personal financing terms for any vehicle you want.
Of the 4 or 5 cars I shared with my daughter, she selected the…oh yeah, she didn’t want any of them. She claimed they were old lady cars and she wanted something brighter and zippier. So she looked around and found the perfect car, two years old, low mileage, great price (below Kelley Blue Book) and in a very pretty metallic blue. Her choice is highly-rated, gets amazing gas mileage (a hybrid) and has nine air bags! Carvana certified it and I approve.
Push that button!
Time to hit the “Start Purchase” button. I can’t tell you I wasn’t nervous. Who buys a car online? Without driving it? I guess I do because I floated above my body and watched myself push the button. I was going to buy a car online.
I reviewed my contracts, electronically signed a couple of things and selected a delivery date. No pressure. No crazy Smarmy Army. I was in control.
Get Your New Car!
The rest was so easy. I don’t really know what I was worried about. As for the test drive, Carvana essentially gives you a 7-day test drive – no questions asked, no restocking fee, no obligation to get something else from them, they’ll pick it up. In addition, they provide a 100-day, 4,700 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on top of the manufacturer’s warranty. Buy with confidence!
Carvana keeps its cars in Atlanta. The closer you live to Atlanta, the cheaper the delivery. It’s free if you’re within seventy-five miles, $199 if you are seventy-six to 250 miles away, and so on. Since we’re in the Atlanta metro area, delivery to my driveway was free! The driver called when he was about 30 minutes away and, before you know it, my daughter’s new car was at our house.
He unloaded it and let us inspect it – even gave it a quick drive around the block. There was a nice little gift bag with a couple of treats on the front seat, too!
We stepped inside, signed the paperwork (you can do this online ahead of time, too) and off he went. Carvana, by the way, will also pick up your trade-in while they’re there, too.
Pick It Up
If you would rather pick up your vehicle than have it delivered, you can visit the Carvana Vending Machine in midtown Atlanta for a completely new experience. Just enter your confirmation code on a keypad, the Vending Machine will open, and you get to drive away with your new car. It’s that easy, but for peace of mind Carvana staff will be on-site to assist you if needed.
Fly and Drive
Even if you are located outside of the service area, you can still buy a car from Carvana and pick it up at the Vending Machine. Book a one-way flight to Atlanta, and Carvana will pay $200 of your airfare, plus arrange “white glove transportation” to the Vending Machine, where you can take possession of your car and drive it home!
My daughter is super happy with her cute little car and I can’t say enough good things about Carvana. They called a couple of times during the next week to make sure we were perfectly, 100% satisfied – which we were. I never thought I’d be comfortable buying something like a car (a CAR) online, but Carvana made it so easy, offered full disclosure and did everything possible to address potential concerns. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Do I recommend this to everyone I know? Yes, indeed.
Looking for a new (used) car? Give Carvana a try so you can say you bought a car online, too!