A Guide to Buying and Selling Cars on eBay

Oct 27, 2020 | Car Brisbane News

In the modern world of today, our buying habits are no longer dictated by what retailers are selling in the area close to home. Online shopping has continued to grow in popularity, becoming the new normal for many. For a vast number of products and industries, it’s now just as affordable, convenient and user-friendly as visiting a store in-person.

But what about buying or selling a car online?

Cars make for quite a sizable monetary investment, but also of time and effort in maintenance and servicing. As such, your buying or selling decision requires a bit of work if you want to ensure that you are making the most of this long-term investment.

Naturally, buying or selling a car through an online retailer such as eBay can pose some challenges that differ from a more traditional buying process. However, the automotive industry continues to cement itself as one of eBay’s best-selling categories.

We’ve all heard some of the horror stories involving online scams, where a product does not perform as well as advertised online. And a product as complicated as a car only magnifies this potential problem as a buyer.

So, should you buy or sell a car on eBay?


Buying a Car on eBay

Firstly, we will discuss the ways in which you should go about buying a car on eBay.

The beauty of eBay is that you can find almost anything available for purchase. They provide buyers with the option for new and used cars, but you can also find parts, accessories, tools and more.

We would recommend doing some research into what you’re after when looking into buying a car on eBay. It’s easy to become a little overwhelmed by all of the choices you have, with many coming in at different price points and with different features as standard.

Sharpen your focus into a specific make, model, size or price range so that you can familiarise yourself with what you should expect to find on eBay.

The Pros of Buying a Car on eBay

Perhaps the main advantage of buying a car on eBay is how easy it is to see a wide range of vehicles. Prior to online services like eBay existing, finding a wide range of used or new cars to buy was a much more arduous task, requiring in-person trips to browse car yards, or rifling through newspapers and magazines. Now, search for exactly what you’re looking for and receive thousands of results from both near and far. Broaden your horizons in your search for your dream car, and you may even find it worthwhile to travel to get it!

As a result of there being a larger base of cars, prices can be more competitive on online marketplaces such as eBay. This is not exactly a given, but with more online competition it stands to reason that prices are less inflated by factors such as scarcity. You’re also not buying your car from a professional salesperson, which provides you with the opportunity to snag a bargain. Salesmen often value a car lower than a private seller, based on a number of the car’s key characteristics.

Having your eyes on a larger number of cars, makes and models can also give a buyer a much better feel for the best car for them. Without having to rely on the expertise of a salesman, you can do your own research and make your own decisions. Look for the same make of a car in a similar condition, and make your own judgement on whether or not the purchase makes sense for you.

The Cons of Buying a Car on eBay

Buying a car online has some inherent risk involved. eBay is not immune to fraudulent sellers, and as a buyer you need to exercise a great deal of caution so as to adequately protect yourself from scammers, who may leave you with a car that is not up to par or even not deliver on the sale at all. eBay’s Vehicle Purchase Protection policy will protect you in some capacity, but we would still encourage you to be very careful as it is not all-encompassing. Common eBay scams often involve listing a car for far less than it’s worth, encouraging payment through external services and pushing sellers to complete transactions quickly. Be vigilant!

An important drawback from buying a car on eBay also involves the process of test driving the car. Unless the car you desire is close by, test driving may become a significant undertaking. This may encourage you to buy before you try, but this we would never recommend. You may find yourself paying for a car that does not suit your lifestyle or is different to your expectation.

Buying through eBay or any other private seller means you’ll have to secure your own financing if you require a loan. For this reason, it may be more difficult for you to finance your new or used car purchase.

Cars purchased on eBay are not delivered and a delivery fee is not included as part of the price. After a vehicle purchase on eBay is completed, the responsibility falls to the buyer to either pick the car up or organise a pickup and delivery of the vehicle.

Key Takeaways – Buying a Car on eBay

Buying a car on eBay puts you in front of a much larger range of vehicles than ever before. This brings with it the possibility of casting a wide net, finding the car of your dreams, and driving it home at a competitive price. However, you need to be prepared to put in extra time and effort into ensuring your car is the right one for you, you are buying safely, and that you are making the most of your investment.

Selling a Car on eBay

Looking to sell your car on eBay? It is a great platform for getting your car seen by a large number of people cost-effectively, quickly and easily.

While many have become acquainted with selling items on eBay, the selling process varies a little with selling a car. There are some fees involved, and some of eBay’s terms vary from selling other products and services.

The first point to make about selling a car on eBay is that privately selling a car on any online platform involves some solid preparation on your part: you need to get your car looking good and working well, while forming a rough idea of its value and making sure all the relevant documentation is at hand.

So, what are the pros and cons of selling a car specifically on eBay?

The Pros of Selling a Car on eBay

When you’re writing your ad on eBay there is a guided process that includes a checklist of what to include, which helps novices create an ad quickly. This makes setting up your ad a relatively pain-free process for a first-time seller.

If you are in no particular hurry and are prepared to wait, eBay auctions can be a good test of what you can get for your car. It gives car sellers the ability to set a reserve price, meaning that auctions with bids that don’t reach this price will be void. Through the Easy Pricing option, you can also allow eBay to automatically relist your unsold item at a slightly lower price. Once this is set up, your car will keep relisting for 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days at a time until it sells.

As well as these online eBay vehicle auctions, a classified ads section makes it possible to list a car and sell it in the traditional way. List your car in their classifieds and handle your listing similarly to the classifieds that you would find in a newspaper, with correspondence being handled through eBay’s platform. This method is often a more lengthy process than an auction.

An auction specifically can expose your car to a wider audience, and can be a great way to sell your car on a quick timeframe if all goes well. It avoids having to answer too many phone calls, and deal with potential time-wasters; but it’s not without its risks and you need to have a fair idea of what your car is worth to set starting prices.

The Cons of Selling a Car on eBay

There are eBay commissions and PayPal transaction fees that are absorbed from the sale. The full breakdown of eBay’s fees for vehicle sales provides a full picture of how much you may be required to pay after your sale is finalised. They will charge an insertion fee to list your advertisement as well as a final value fee. Depending on the type of listing you opt for these values will change. You will also be charged for extra features of your listing such as adding a reserve price (as mentioned above), scheduling, or promoting.

Despite safeguards in place to make sure that you get paid, some sellers still report problems with eBay enforcing winning bidders to honour their bids and actually receiving the money. In this case you may find yourself forced to restart the process from the beginning again!

You also need to spend time washing your car, writing your ad, photographing your vehicle and providing a full description, and making it stand out in a market where you may be competing against many other similar models. You may be forced to spend significant time on crafting a listing that is really going to capture the attention of interested parties if you want to set your car apart from the bunch. Otherwise, you may find yourself adrift in the sea of vehicles available on eBay.

There is no guarantee that you will sell the car at a price close to the what you want – or that anyone will be interested in your vehicle. It’s a harsh reality that many of us may find difficult to agree with as we often attach a great deal of sentimental value to our cars. In this case, you could waste valuable time crafting a perfect ad in a market that is unfortunately uninterested in your car.

Many of the buyers on eBay are looking for unheard-of bargains; so they may be expecting prices well below what the online guides say your car is worth. If you have a well-maintained, excellent condition car then it is unlikely that you will want to settle for less than a premium price for your vehicle – and nor should you! Follow our guide to pricing your car for sale if you’re unsure.

Selling a car yourself will always require an investment of your time and effort. Depending on your selling situation, you may be forced to endure a pretty arduous process of fielding questions from potential buyers, arranging for meet ups, meeting with mechanics, putting up with ‘tyre-kickers’— all of which can be exhausting.

Key Takeaways – Selling a Car on eBay

Provided you are putting in the effort to create a listing that’s competitive on price and contains all of the pertinent information, you will have given yourself the best possible shot at finishing your car sale with a result you’re happy with. Provided that your car attracts enough interest from interested buyers, eBay can make a great option for selling your car.

While you are given a potentially huge audience to put your car in front of, you’ll be up against a lot of competition, and it has been known to take some time to sell vehicles due to becoming lost in the ‘noise’ of other listings.

Staying Safe when Buying or Selling on eBay

We want to finish by saying that eBay is a much safer place to do your online shopping than it may have been when it was established in 1995. It’s had over 30 years to craft a safe and secure online environment, with security measures and policies to protect both sellers and buyers from being scammed becoming increasingly intensive over the years. However, this doesn’t mean it’s perfect!

eBay is acutely aware of some of the dishonest things that some people use their platform for. As a result, they have systems in place for reporting scams, co-operating with law enforcement and more.

Provided you follow their guidelines closely, make your transactions through the official eBay channels and use common sense, it’s likely you aren’t in any danger. It does pay to be cautious however. If a deal sounds too good to be true, that’s likely because it is!

Need another option for selling your car quickly? Why not use the quickest method available to get a fair price for your vehicle? Cars Brisbane purchases virtually any vehicle at our Brisbane depot. We’ll value your car based on what we see from it’s condition and give you cash on the spot. Don’t worry yourself with all of the complexities involved with listing your car online!

Call the team on 1300 001 221 to arrange an evaluation today!

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