Buying cars from Internet auctions - Robin
Today has seen my first foray into the world of Internet Auctions. I am trying to buy an otherwise impossible to get video for my son (The Jungle Book) on ebay. Whilst having a scoot around the ebay site I noticed they sell cars. Lots of cars. A typical one is a Range Rover 4.6 HSE auto with 79,000 miles and a new engine. No date given. Current bid is £8000 but the reserve has not been met. If you bid 10,000 it is yours now. (NO - this is nothing to do with me. I just picked this an example)

There is a note on all the eBay descriptions to the effect that \"Your bid is a contract - Place a bid only if you\'re serious about buying the item. If you are the winning bidder, you will enter into a legally binding contract to purchase the item from the seller\"

Now, who in their right mind would buy a car like this? There is not much information given about the car so you don\'t know what you are getting. You cannot have a look-see before you bid or anything like that. You can ask the seller questions - big deal. I wonder what come-back you have if all is not as it seems? One thing that amused me is that the seller will deliver at cost once payment is received!

These cars must be at serious discounts in order for it to be worth the risk.
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - JamesH
There have been a couple of eBay cars that I was once interested in. In both cases I used the question asking to get more information about the cars and try to arrange a time to look.

That way it becomes like buying a secondhand car after seeing it in Autotrader etc but without any haggling at the end of the viewing. You decide what to pay, if you want to buy, at home on the computer.

Most sellers would let you see the car before you bid. Otherwise, as you say, it is very risky. In fact, if someone wouldn't let me see a car before bidding I would steer well clear.

Many cars are genuine but there must be some lemons - as with buying a car from anywhere else. The two I saw were both genuine, although one was described as having a feature it turned out not to have. If I hadn't been to see the car I wouldn't have found out until too late (but I think there is a get out clause if something is misdescribed).

There do seem to be bargains at all prices. There are many people wary of buying a relatively expensive car through an internet auction so prices are generally lower than an equivalent private sale.

The sellers with a higher rating are to be more trusted - they have had plenty of happy (not necessarily car) sales already and wouldn't want to jeopardise it. Someone with a zero rating (and shades to indicate a new member) who offers something with an unbelieveable discount but no picture would almost certainly be bogus.

Buying cars froim Internet auctions - Robin
Good point about going to have a look before bidding - I had not really thought of that but only worth while I guess if the car is not too far away or is at a serious discount.

Didn't get my video!
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - frostbite
You can usually look over the cars before auction end - most sellers will be happy to let you do this. Also, look at their feedback - this is precious to most sellers, and by clicking on the number shown next to their name you can see what previous deals have been like for the participants. You can even, by clicking on the auction number at the end of the comment, see what was being bought/sold, provided it was during the last 90 days.

I sold a motor this way and both the buyer and I were pleased with the transaction.

Although it does say that you are entering into a contract, it is quite easy to walk away if you discover you have been misled when you go to collect. The worst that can happen is negative feedback, which you can respond to.
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - frostbite
James, your message appeared while I was typing mine! Wish I had a fiver for every time that's happened.
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - DavidHM
Of course, if you are entering into a contract and something is misdiscribed, then the contract isn't enforceable anyway as it creates obligations on both sides.
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - Martin Wall
Re the Jungle Book video you were after (presumbly the Disney animated version?) try these guys if you don't fin a copy:
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - NWS
But not if you're in a hurry - very hit & miss on delivery - sorry Mark.
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - nick
I've bought two cars on ebay, one I viewed, one I didn't. The one I didn't view was a Triumph 2000, fully restored and in virtually perfect bodily condition. I talked to the vendor at length by email and phone and decided to bid on the understanding that if it wasn't as described I could bail out. Happy ending as it was fine.
The car I did view was a Rover P6 3500S, which I've just bought. I treated this a a 'normal' purchase but without the haggling.
I would always recommend viewing, I think I was lucky with the Triumph as the vendor was a genuine bloke, but I've seen loads of 'immaculate' cars I where I could put my fist through the chassis.
Bear in mind too that it is an auction, think about your bid strategy. You'll probably find there is a flurry of bids in the last 5 minutes. A distinct advantage to those with broadband! Don't bid with a round number, e.g. £10, £12 etc, always £10.21 or something. People usually bid to a round number and I've won a couple of auctions by a few pence (also lost some too).
Finally, remember what the item is worth! It is very easy to get carried away and I've seen items go for more than I could buy them in the shops.
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - Ian Cook
Sound advice from Nick. I've not bought cars this way, but I've had my eye on a few - and bought other items.

If you're going to buy anything on Ebay then read up on their tips about checking feedback ratings, changed identities, similar items etc.

Since you mention videos, I bought one from an Ebay dealer in San Diego and got first class service - but it's NTSC format and won't play in the car ;o) (motoring link)! It is an out of print ex-rental, TV movie that I'd search over 25 years for (on and off) and I bought it for $2.99 - so there are bargains to be had.

Also seriously consider registering with PayPal so that you can pay with your credit card through a secure third party. It seems to work well.

Ian Cook
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - Jonathan {p}

I would seriously avoid using Paypal. I had a very unfortunate incident using ebay and paid the money through paypal. They did absolutely nothing about getting my money back even though the found in my favour (as did ebay). I would always prefer to pay using a credit card, or by some other means that the vendor knows they will be paid, but the money is not released until the goods have been received. Using Paypal can actually reduce your rights to a refund. I still haven't got my money back (3 months ago). I had to got to my credit card company and explain it all to them. They have reversed the transaction, but at first didn't want to as they said that "the terms and conditions of the transaction with paypal have been met", ie I paid them to pay the vendor, which they did, but as I never received the goods, the transaction was not completed.

Its difficult, but you have to weigh up the benefits of getting a bargain over getting ripped off.
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - Glutton
I've bought two motors on Ebay, both "blind" but based on description and email correspondence with the seller. As people have mentioned, avoid ebayers with little history (people are incredibly proud of having no negative/neutral comment) ask lots of questions and remember as people have mentioned before the ebay contract is a two way thing - if the goods have been misrepresented, you have the right to walk away.

Bidding can go mad at the end. And there are some dodgy people too out there - there was an XR2 that was horrendously cheap that I put in a few bids for and the seller mailed me to say that he was driving up the price himself using another ebay ID - he got greedy and he also got kicked out of ebay. For now anyway.

But the two motors I've bought have been spot on (touch wood!), requiring nothing major at service time.

You can get a good deal, trust your instincts, if something is too good to be true it probably is, but there are some deals to be had.

Also, if you have a non-starting MOT failure, it may be worth putting it on ebay (with full honest description) - its amazing what some people will pay for.
Buying cars froim Internet auctions - frostbite
Two points to make on Paypal.

1. is that there have been some horrendous experiences by buyers and sellers in the past, to judge from the dedicated website set up to detail said horrors.

2. they have recently been taken over by eBay so, hopefully, this is all past history.
Buying cars from Internet auctions - Mike H
Of course you can look at them before bidding if you ask. If the seller refuses, walk away. It's as simple as that. No-one in their right mind who is being honest about the description would refuse a viewing before bidding. Most of the dealers have a load of disclaimers along the lines of "you are bidding to buy not to view" etc, which is fair enough. If you bid without looking, tough, you've agreed to buy it. However, I think the rules are a bit hazy on whether your offer to purchase via a bid is a legal contract - eBay themselves send out conflicting messages regarding their part in the whole shebang.
Buying cars from Internet auctions - Wally Zebon
I've bought and sold stuff on eBay using Escrow for money transactions. The buyer pays Escrow, who hold onto the money. The seller then sends the goods to the buyer. If the buyer is happy with the goods then he authorises Escrow to release the funds. They charge a small percentage, but you budget for it in the deal. I'm not sure that eBay still support this payment option though.

A note on bidding. Set up your account to bid automatically. You tell eBay what your maximum bid should be and in what increments to go up by, and then sit back and watch. You'll find that many auctions finish at midnight or in the wee small hours, so this is ideal and saves having to sit up all night, trying in vain to win an auction.

Buying cars from Internet auctions - r_welfare
I would concur with Glutton's comments regarding buying. I've purchased two cars through eBay (both bangers admittedly) and found the best way to do it was to stick to cars locally, from sellers with good ratings, and make sure I got as much information via e-mail from the seller first of all, and then only once I was totally satisfied I made a bid. I'd also recommend sticking to cars which have pictures, so you can get a (rough) idea of what you're looking at. It's a good idea to ask the seller if it's actually a picture of the car in question (some people hijack pictures from other auctions for similar vehicles), and when the picture was taken.

If there are any doubts in your mind before you bid, don't bid.

The last one I bought on there was in June, and was a 1978 Ford Fiesta for the princely sum of £100. The seller was really excellent, going to the trouble of e-mailing me several digital pictures showing the extent of the rust etc. He was totally honest about the car and that helped my peace of mind enormously.

As JamesH and DavidHM state, you would probably have decent grounds to reject the car if it is not as described, so it's worth saving all correspondence you have with the seller. I've always been happy with goods I've purchased from eBay so I've never had cause to use their legal service.

The first car I bought on eBay (actually Yahoo! auctions, now unfortunately closed) was an interesting case because the seller forgot to put on a reserve. As mine was the only bid (despite 500 views of the auction page!) he sold the car to me, at a personal loss, because he viewed it as legally binding. Again, the integrity of this particular seller made me feel much more comfortable about the deal (the first time I'd ever bought anything like that in this way, so I was very nervous).

Regarding Paypal or Escrow, I've always paid cash when I've collected the car, and only after I've given it a good look-over to see it all checks out.
Buying cars from Internet auctions - MarkyMarkD
The first car I bought on eBay (actually Yahoo! auctions, now
unfortunately closed) was an interesting case because the seller forgot to
put on a reserve. As mine was the only bid (despite
500 views of the auction page!) he sold the car to
me, at a personal loss, because he viewed it as legally

He didn't "view it as legally binding". It IS legally binding and the auction sites Ts & Cs make this clear - a bid for an auction is a legally binding offer to buy at that price, if nobody out-bids you.
Buying cars from Internet auctions - r_welfare
True, but in cases where a seller has backed out, I wonder what the success rate is? (I assume these things would go to the small claims court).

I agree with your point, but what I was trying to say was the seller had good integrity in that he realised the auction had legal binding, and didn't try to pull out and sell the car to someone else. It's highly likely that no amount of legal wrangling will actually get the specific car you bid on back, although obviously you may be compensated, moneywise.
Buying cars from Internet auctions - lucky
I have bought cars off ebay and also sold my old cars. In fact I often buy and sell things on ebay and in most cases report very good experiences.

Good points about buying from ebay auctions:
1) You can conduct everything from the comfort of your own home (although you may see this as a disadvantage).
2) Because of the nature of this method of buying one finds that the cars are very well described, have good detailed pictures, and there is opportunity to ask further questions (and request further detailed pictures) if needed.
3) Prices can be very cheap - and if there are problems with the car then at least you bought it cheap. Also you can "walk away" from the deal if the car is "not as described".
4) The advertised cars are always available (until the auction ends). Whereas if you flick through Autotrader, or similar, you phone up about a car you like but find it has been sold - frustating. On ebay, you see a car you like. and you know it is still for sale until the auction end date.
5) Each transaction on ebay is completed with feedback ratings where the buyer and seller can give feedback to each other. This is very important and it discourages dodgy sellers because their reputation is on the line and for all to see (remember, internet is worldwide). So ALWAYS check the feedback rating of the seller for peace of mind. I find most sellers are very genuine.

Bad points:
1) OK, you don't get a chance to test drive the car beforehand. Although it is possible to "view" the car with some sellers this is difficult if the car is far away. I usually find the detailed information/pictures available via this method of selling compensates well.
2) Patience is required with close monioring of the ebay site to find the car you want. However there is a large choice of vehicles and and the turnover is very good.

One other point thing is that i have bought cheap parts/spares over the ebay auction - worth looking at!


Value my car