Buying a Car from eBay – We did it!

So we made our biggest eBay purchase ever with the new car my Mike just bought. Here’s his shiny new vehicle that after much worry from me – finally arrived.


The Mercedes CLS500. Mike’s choice. Mom would have preferred the Mercedes GLK – bigger for the family. While Kenzie is still pining desperately for a minvan of her own – and can’t wait for us to get one “someday”.
Here are the details on the car’s much awaited arrival. Yes, buying from eBay had me a bit curious & concerned. Plus, having worked in the auto industry for Ford Motor Company in Marketing and Sales I’m fascinated with the car buying process.

The car hits the street in our development!

Yes it really arrived on a gigantic tractor trailer transporting 7 other vehicles from Chicago.

The kids are testing out the new car bright and early when it arrived at about 730 AM. The car came from Chicago and made it through quite a few blizzards to get to Pennsylvania.

For the peeps wondering about buying a car on eBay, here’s the skinny.
The Pros:
1. Widest Selection of Used Vehicles (You’ve got used cars from dealers all over the US to choose from vs. choosing a car from a dealer in your regional area. Great if you are desiring a specific model year, color, or options for your vehicle that you can’t find locally or at the price you want.)

2. Huge Cost Savings (Mike saved over $6000 buying this car on eBay)
3. eBay has a Buyer Protection program – if somehow you totally don’t get your car or the vehicle is a total dud, you will have recourse and protection.
The Cons: (Many of these can be mitigated as described below)

1. Buying sight unseen. You can mitigate this by only purchasing from top eBay sellers with 100% feedback ratings with thousands of sales. You need to ask a million questions to find out if there are imperfections. Also, do it all through email so you have a record of what the dealer told you about the car. And wait to give that positive feedback to your seller until you are certain all of your needs with the new vehicle upon delivery have been met. Sellers live and die by this feedback as they want to maintain that 100% satisfied rating.
2. Will the car work? You can schedule an inspection by an independent mechanic for $100. eBay directs you to the company that handles this type of service.
3. The purchaser is responsible for more legwork post delivery of the new car. You need to handle the tax, titles, and registration once the car arrives in your home state.
4. The logistics of shipping. The car seriously arrives on a gigantic car trailer so you’ve got to figure out if it can drive in your development. If you live in the city or in an area with very narrow streets then you’ll need to coordinate the pick up of the vehicle at a mutually agreed meeting area with the tractor trailer driver.
5. Fear of losing money. For the worrywarts, there is definitely a sense that you’ve just sent a ton of money to a dealer very far away and you have no new car to show for it. Emails may be few and far between. The delivery process was not totally described to my husband or he didn’t ask enough questions. We thought the car was supposed to show up a few days ago and it only came today.
Mike tends to be the daring early adopter so this was a no brainer for him. For instance, he bought my diamond engagement ring online some 8 years ago from Blue Nile back when nobody did that kind of thing.
I’ve got to say I don’t know that I would feel comfortable with the process if it was my own vehicle, but Mike is totally laid back, relaxed, and never worries about anything. Also, knowing 2 of our friends purchased vehicles from eBay, gave him confidence to go this route since he had a very specific car in mind and eBay offered him the biggest selection at the lowest price. He saved over $6,000 by going this route vs. purchasing locally from a used car dealer.
Last summer I bought my Used Lexus RX350 from Car Sense, a very reputable used car dealer in the Philadelphia region as I knew I wanted to touch, feel, see, and test drive my car. However, as more and more people I know purchase from eBay, and after my husband’s experience I would certainly consider the option – especially if I could have saved a few thousand more dollars!
Note: The Mercedes CLS 500 is not what I’d call a practical family car, but this vehicle was Dad’s decision and he is thrilled with the purchase – and it gave him the option of a sports car that still could seat 2 kids in car seats in the back. If he had his total say he would get a 2 seater sports car. Mom would have preferred a less expensive more family oriented vehicle – I’m all about SUV or wagon style cars that tend to go slower and are not built for “speed”- but it’s all good with me cause if he is happy, then I’m happy too. And date night will now be a little more “racey” as this car is built for speed. 4 year old Kenzie is still dreaming of someday owning a minivan. Kids really do just want to be like everybody else.

10 thoughts on “Buying a Car from eBay – We did it!”

  1. That is super awesome! I always wondered if people really bought cars off ebay. Very daring and glad it worked out for you.

    It's a stunning car.


  2. Huge leap of faith but totally worth it! we have bought two cars on Ebay the first one on 2005 and the second one a year ago.


  3. I'm glad your family's first foray into purchasing a car via ebay motors was a success. While it may not be the "family car" it's still a great sporty option that has 4 doors and could host booster seats if you needed to for the kiddos. Maybe you should plan your next date night a little further away than normal to see how fast you can get there :0)

  4. Love it, Colleen! We'd totally consider buying from eBay. In fact, that's how we found the Saturn Astra that we bought last year, though we did drive to the dealership in PA for the actual purchase. But we sold our beloved 30th Anniversary Camaro Z28 on eBay several years ago when we outgrew it, and we found the experience to be very simple and rewarding.

  5. WOW. I am sending this post to my husband. He will only buy preowned as he says cars are the worst investment, so this will be so interesting to him. His current car has seen better days.

    Love your new ride. it's sweet!

  6. I love the fact that your daughter wants a minivan…just wait til she is older and hates minivans- I know I hated my moms! But I like hearing success stories on ebay vehicle purchases, because we have considered it. (and Kenzie can come ride in our van if we do buy it!) Thanks!

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