Shopping online for a car is a great way to find exactly the car you want, from the make and model, right on down to the color, trim package and mileage. But online shopping can be frustrating and dangerous if you’re not cautious. Here are three things NOT to do when shopping for a vehicle online:
1) Don’t Look at Cars Listed Without a VIN. When a car is on a dealer’s lot, its Vehicle Identification Number will be listed alongside the car’s description. If you don’t see a VIN, don’t bother with that listing. The car could be stolen or halfway across the country.
2) Don’t Buy or Go See a Car Without Talking to the Dealer. Online sales are a big part of dealerships’ business these days. There is usually at least one dealer on the lot who is responsible for online business. Make sure that you talk to this person and ask important questions about accident and service history, interior condition and dealer fees before traveling to the dealership. In other words, be prepared.
3) Don’t Look at Cars Without Knowing What You Can Afford. What kind of down payment do you have? What’s your credit score? What financing options are available to you from your local bank and the dealership? Knowing what you can afford up front will save you a lot of time when shopping online.
Various makes and models, from Dodge to Jeep to Toyota, are easy to shop for on the web. The hard part is shopping responsibly as an informed consumer.