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Advice when buying a car on eBay


eBay can be an excellent resource when buying a car, but there are a number of factors to watch out for so you end up happy with your purchase.

Man handing woman keys

If you're a classic car enthusiast or you're simply hoping to save money on your next run-around, eBay might be the best place for you to hunt down a bargain or rare model.

However, as with any dealer, there could be associated risks when you choose to buy a car online. Minimise your risks by following this advice for buying your car on eBay.

Finding the right car

The first thing to do is make sure you're looking for your new car in eBay's dedicated motor section, where you'll be able to browse cars without being returned irrelevant results. 

When searching for a car on a site like eBay, you may find yourself slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number you find on offer. To avoid impulsive or rash buys, make sure you narrow down your search early in the game.

Choose from the most suitable category and you'll then find you're able to choose between factors such as manufacturers, model years, car types and many more.

Sense-checking your eBay car choice

Once you bid on a car, you're agreeing to purchase it if you win - this means you should only ever place a bid if you are committed to buying the car in question.

It can be tempting to bid on a car you haven't thoroughly researched as the auction clock winds down, but ensuring you have made the most sensible choice is more important.

Investigate eBay seller's stats before buying

Have a look at the seller's feedback before buying any car on eBay. While you'll find a mixture of auto traders and individuals selling their family car, you will still be able to use their feedback rating to determine how trustworthy they are.

It's a good idea to not simply check how many positive or negative ratings they have, but to also click through to see whether the ratings are for buying or selling, and what the value of any items sold were.

Find out about insurance before buying

Protecting a car

If you're considering buying a car on eBay, it's a good idea to get a car insurance quote before you bid if you want to avoid nasty surprises.

When buying from an individual, you should also ask whether the car is registered in their name, it's a legal requirement to register a car in your name, however long you intend to keep it for. You should also check that the registered address for the car and seller match.

Paying for your car

As you will typically be expected to collect a car yourself, you will often have the option of paying once you see the car. This will give you the chance to inspect the vehicle and make sure you're getting what you're paying for.

It's a good idea to print out the eBay listing to take with you; that way you'll have the description to hand and can look out for discrepancies.

On the other hand, if you are pre-paying, make sure you either do it by PayPal or credit card to ensure you have some protection in place if anything goes wrong. Don't ever pay for a car via bank transfer unless you have already seen the vehicle and signed a deal with the seller.

Most importantly, when you're buying a car on eBay, make sure you keep the channels of communication open with the seller to help avoid disputes and problems.


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