Tips for Buying a Classic Car Online
the Internet was new, buying any kind of car online was pretty risky.
You never knew for sure what you were purchasing, or how honest the
seller was. The average auto
insurance policy can cover you against many things, after all, but
it offers no protection from scam artists.
Today, even if we ultimately drive to someone's home, or visit a dealer's
lot, much of our car buying is at least begun online: we use the 'net
to compare prices, check vehicle histories, and even research sellers.
This is true of new cars, and to a degree it applies to the purchase
of classic cars as well, however, when you buy a classic car online,
there are a few things you should do to ensure you're getting a good
value, from a reputable seller.
· Research the Seller: This
is especially important if you are buying from an individual, and not
through an auction site where feedback scores are readily available.
Fire up your favorite search engine and do a search on the seller's
name. If they've mentioned an affiliation with an enthusiasts club,
check to be sure they're a member in good standing. You don't want to
pry into every aspect of the seller's life – just enough to assure
yourself that they are a reliable person.
· Ask Questions: Make
a list of questions to ask the seller. Ask for detailed photos of the
car and have the seller send or fax a copy of the title. If the seller
is unwilling to provide the information you request, do not continue
with the process.
· Research the Car: Most
classic cars have clubs that can provide you with information on what
to look for in the particular car you are interested in. Research classic
car values through clubs and websites like nadaguides.com and manheimgold.com.
the Car: Never buy a car sight unseen. If you can’t view
the car yourself, use a classic car inspection service. Inspection services
generally cost between $150 and $300 and are well worth the cost.
· Use an Escrow Service:
An escrow service – and almost all of the reputable online auction
houses offer one – acts as a holding account for the money being
exchanged. Instead of going directly to the seller, the money you pay
for your new car will be held in escrow until you take delivery of the
car. This is your insurance that the car you chose online is really
coming to you, but it's also the seller's insurance that your money
is good. If you're dealing with an individual, you can still do some
kind of escrow, but you may have to pay for the service. Since classic
cars do not come with warranties, this is an extremely important thing
to consider: it may be the only way you can get your money back, if
the car you receive is not what was promised.
If all of these points have caused some alarm, take a moment and relax.
The vast majority of people selling their cars online, whether directly
or through an auction service, are honest, reliable sellers. They know
that one negative comment can destroy their own business, and are not
likely to do anything to part you and your money unfairly. Nevertheless,
it is always wise to be prepared.