I spent about 20 minutes poking around on eBay motors today, mostly because I'm trying to understand the market for vehicles capable of towing a glider trailer--think used pickup truck or a 6-8 year old SUV (Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota 4Runner, etc).

I must say, I'm underwhelmed. The pickings are so much better over in the autos section of craigslist.

Anyone out there ever bought a car via eBay Motors? I'm curious to hear about it. I really don't think I'd go that route, but I'm curious anyway.

Posted by jzawodn at January 08, 2004 09:27 PM

Reader Comments
# Mark Denovich said:

I'm hooked on Alfa Romeos... while I occasionally look on Ebaymotors, I've never been tempted to buy. Two big negatives associated with items found there:

1) stuff is expensive. Even stuff with very limited audience goes for high prices. The Alfa Digest was in a tizzy last year when a Berlina (an old Alfa sedan) sold for $8800... in the few months prior 2 of these same sedans changed hands for FREE on the Digest. Craigslist has _WAY_ better prices.

2) EBAY seems to bring out the worst in sellers. Enthusiast communities tend to pretty close-knit... there is a fair amount of trust there, and most deals happening within the community go quite smoothly. With odd-ball cars it's also best to buy from someone who knows how to care for them. EBAY sellers tend to be at best passionless owners looking to unload, or worse... used car salesmen out to make a buck.

This doesn't even include the fun of negotiating a deal often at great distance, with little more than a picture or two to go by, and then possible shipping hassles.

My personal record with ebay isn't very good either. I've purchased 5 or 6 cars, 3 motorcycles, 2 sailboats, a lathe, milling machine, air compressor, and a ton of electronics from private parties over the internet without a single problem... But I've been burned on 2 out of 3 of my EBay purchases.

The Alfa Wiki: http://alfa.denovich.org

on January 8, 2004 11:12 PM
# Joe said:

I used auto trader...

on January 8, 2004 11:31 PM
# B said:

My dad's purchased two GL1000s, a Ford Explorer and a Jeep Cherokee off of eBay (that I know of, anyway). I think he's gotten decent deals on them, but did a lot of extra work to make sure he didn't get screwed. The two SUVs he bought were from the same dealer in Florida (he lives in NC). Before bidding, he arranged with the seller that he would inspect the vehicle, drive it, and have final yay or nay before committing to the purchase. In those cases, he flew down on his own dime and drove the vehicles home, but would have flown home if he wasn't happy. One of the motorcycles he purchased (not sure about the other) was through someone he'd deemed reliable through community contacts (classic 'wings list), 'net research and personal emails. He had that bike shipped.

I think the distance aspect can be a pain, but in the end, buying off eBay requires just as much diligence as buying in person, except that you're deciding on a price before-hand. Make sure your final bid takes into account a buffer that allows you to still be happy with the purchase in the event you find some minor flaws, and that you and the seller come to an agreement that lets you walk away if you're not happy with the vehicle. It isn't a perfect system, but if you don't get carried away, I think you can still get a decent price...

Don't forget carfax!

on January 9, 2004 05:24 AM
# Jeremy C. Wright said:

Eh, almost sold my car there, but there is simply too much risk.

on January 9, 2004 06:48 AM
# David Magda said:

What's the towing capacity that you need? You would need to know the trailer weight (mass?) and the glider's weight. Once you know that you know what type of vehicle to buy. (Add a little extra capacity for safety / future 'expansion' (maybe 10-20%).)

on January 9, 2004 07:34 AM
# gabe said:

A fellow in my office purchased a lovely Audi sedan on eBay motors last year sometime. So far as I know the transaction was smooth and the car hasn't had any problems. Though, due to the nature of eBay, that is purely circumstantial evidence, and won't always be the case.

on January 9, 2004 07:39 AM
# John Stafford said:

I bought a Corvette on Ebay. Good deal (thousands lower than my area) taking advantage of geographic arbitrage -- and I could get EXACTLY what I wanted. But they don't do that well on "normal" cars -- not enough demand to drive supply (so the cars that are there have problems or are really just "advertisements" since people won't risk a real auction).

on January 9, 2004 08:24 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

3,000 pounds should be sufficient. More is better of course, but most single seat gliders are in the range of 500-800 pounds and the trailers are mabye 1,000.

on January 9, 2004 08:25 AM
# Adam Kalsey said:

I'm a Little British Car (LBC) nut. I bought a 67 MGB GT off eBay and was extremely displeased. Like with most ebay transactions you are at the mercy of the seller's description, and this seller did a crappy job. Lots of hidden rust (including rust holes in the gas tank!) and many cosmetic problems. If you are buying a specialty car, only buy from someone who has sold them before. This seller was a used car broker with no idea what was important to a collector.

I ended up selling it to a local collector who wanted a project car for his son.

I also sold an MG through eBay. That went smoothly due to lots of pictures, an honest description, and a local buyer.

on January 9, 2004 10:02 AM
# Andy said:

My parents bought a used Honda Accord sort-of through eBay. My mom found the car on eBay, realized it was what she wanted, for much less than anything in our market, and drove four hours to check it out. The car turned out exactly as described and she ended up get a fantastic deal on the Accord, and bypassed eBay and just bought it from the person directly. As I remember, the price was several thousand below book value, which made her suspicious... but she took it anyway after a test ride and inspection.

Course, not everyone has that much time to go check out a car that might be a complete bust, but it worked out well for her.

on January 11, 2004 02:59 PM
# david faw said:

I purchased a vechicle through eBay Motors. I had to have the vehicle picked up & delivered to me since it was so far away frowm where I live. In the item description the cars condition was listed as a small ding or two but nothing bad. When I received the vehicle, it had $1,470.00 of undisclosed & hidden front end damage(covered with a front bra). The item desciption listed the interior as needing a little cleaning , when in fact it was destroyed - seats ripped & rotting, headliner, side speaker covers turn to dust when touched. Dash was spit & cracked. Car was listed as being driven to sight where it was & had been sitting for 4 or so months....inside were plastic soda pop bottles with April 1998 expiration, 1997 lotter tickets, and a 1997 tax return. Since the car had sat for so long, brakes, motor, wipers, blower, etc. are inoperable. Finally, no title or title paperwork was ever sent, & eBays auction insurance emails me the following:

" I have check with IN DMV and they said that you can have a title issued with a court order. Basically, you can go to your local municipal court and provide them some kind of proof of ownership and they can send a court order to the DMV to issue you a title. I recommend that you bring the eBay listing and your Paypal receipt as well as any other proof of ownership to the courthouse with you. Try this and let me know how it goes. "

I just want EVERYONE who is thinking about buying a vehicle on eBay motors to be aware that if they can't go & actually see the vehicle before bidding, don't bid.

I say this because a seller car say whatever they want, however false, about the condition of the vehicle, and suffer little or no consenqunces, because you did not check the car out yourself before bidding. It doesn't matter if you talk to them on the phone, get it in writing, or whatever.
Bottom line, your out your money & it will be up to you AND ONLY YOU to do what you can to get back whatever you can. Don't think eBays Vehicle Purchase Protection will protect you. They have so many outs & so many things that are not covered that it is nearly impossible to qualify, and they tell you that specefically: "In the unlikely event that Motors Support determines that fraud or material misrepresentation has occurred and that you are eligible for Vehicle Purchase Protection.."

So buyers beware! I bought 4 cars with no problems, and got burned on the 5th.

on December 2, 2004 03:46 PM
# Ebay Motors Blogger said:

I bought a used Mustang convertible on ebay motors.. not a problem. Met the guy .. picked up the used car.

on June 17, 2005 05:51 PM
# jim mitchell said:

i recently signed on to stateauctions.org.
They are scam artist.They took my money and provided no service

on August 23, 2005 06:47 PM
# Heather Duffey said:

I bought a vehicle on Ebay motors. The seller, [name censored], was masquerading as a registered dealer in Florida. We paid him in full and paid to have the car transported to us, but it has been months and we still have no title. VERY SHADY - seems [name censored] is a sheister in Ontario, Canada.

on October 24, 2005 10:12 PM
# Bill said:

I bought three expensive vehicles on eBay from two different companies. Both companies described themselves as well financed and years of experience in the business.The U.S. company was very good. The Canadian Company was setup by a Con Man. The company and Ebay account was established to sell late model cars with rolledback odometers. This company is in London, Ontario, Ca. a location where vehicles may run 40,000 or 50,000 miles a year to meet transportation needs between London, Detroit,Toronto, and Niagra Falls. The two cars in the U.S. were as described on EBay. I was high bidder on the car in London and bought it on a Second Chance bid. The advertised mileage was within the MGF.Bumper to Bumper Warranty. I bought CarFax and there was no rollback, accidents or other discrepancies. I paid for the vehicle and then the seller began to delay delivery saying the vehicle didn't have an export inspection yet. I went to London, I examined the vehicle,the mileage on the odometer was as advertised on Ebay. The vehicle was in an Auto Marine lot which the seller's assistant said was one of his several lots. The seller's father,later, delivered the vehicle to me, but he didn't bring the necessay documents to allow U.S. Registration.He assured me the documents would be sent(he did not import the vehicle through U S Customs, as required). The Information Display Panel didn't work so I took the vehicle in for Warranty work. The hidden computers in other components showed the vehicle had 100,000 miles--a roll back of 60,000 miles. I notified the seller who fiened shock and disbelief and declared he was not a crook. The seller agreed to take the car back and retuned my money in the form of a Corporate Check which proved to be ISF. Ebay would not help at that time. Carfax is nothing more than an insurance policy and their information is not reliable; although, in this case I proved the seller rolled the odometer back the day before I saw the odometer so Carfax couldn't have known that. The car was sold under a Registered Dealer's company but the seller was actually a Curbsider--a Canadian name for bottom feeders who are not Registered or Licensed to sell cars but who buy and sell cars which frequently have odometer rollback, accident damage, false or missing title. The Ontario Motor vehicle Industrial Council (OMVIC) says odometer rollback is a multimillion dollar business on cars going to and coming from the U.S. The average profit is ten cents per mile. I spent days tracking the vehicle from initial purchase to my purchase including Mgf Maintenance Records, and former owners. Everybody; G.M. Dealer in town, the Registered Dealer under whose name the vehicle sold, the Auto Marine lot where I first say the car, the seller; everyone except me knew the odometer was rolledback. When you get into trouble like this; don't expect any help from Ebay, CarFax, or the Canadian authorities. If you buy from a Registered Dealer, you will get support and maybe money back from OMVIC. Registered Dealers have Identification Cards and you can verify this on OMVIC's web site. If you buy anything other than a Junker in Canada, make sure it is from a Registered Dealer/Salesperson, check the Mgf. maintenance records. Curbsiders frequently use a Registered dealer's company name as his own but that is to fool you and the Canadian vehicle sales regulation. Probably fifty percent of vehicles sold as "Private" are by curbsiders and they are relally the lowest of bottom feeders. If you are going to buy on Ebay in Canada or the US you can never investigate the buy too carefully. I will never buy a vehicle on Ebay from Canada, never , ever.

on November 2, 2005 06:27 PM
# Jeff Hornsley said:

If you don't know cars inside and out and can't deal with sheisters and pros, you will get, quite simply, fried! The risk can be huge and you usually must make a deposit. Do ya think you will get that deposit back if you drive 12 hours and don't like what you see? Naa baba naa.

on January 11, 2006 12:14 AM
# Shelley said:

I bought a car from Pro Auto Group, a Fort Worth-based dealership, through Ebay Motors. The car was “certified” to be free of mechanical defect. Within HOURS of leaving the dealership with the car, the clutch/transmission failed and the car had to be towed to a repair shop. In short, despite attempts at mediation and direct negotiations, Pro Auto Group refused to do a thing to repair the car or take it back for a refund. Their position was that the damage was due to “driver abuse” despite the fact that I had the car for less than 6 hours and the needed repairs were due, clearly, to long term, pre-existing damage.

The situation is compounded by the fact that Pro Auto Group has been committing this fraud against dozens of unsuspecting buyers under the cover of “100% Positive Feedback” on Ebay Motors. A sham based partially on backend payoffs and coercion resulting in “mutually withdrawn” negative feedback. I even found one individual who bought a “certified” vehicle that was claimed to have never have been in a wreck - and he subsequently found it had been in a head on collision. He also found that the service records provided for the vehicle were falsified! Another lady I talked to bought a car from Pro Auto Group with fraudulent odometer mileage.

In my case, the dealer posted negative feedback referring to me as “a terrorist” and claiming that my 15 year old daughter had burned out the clutch – a car that I had had for less than 6 hours! It was almost laughable if it hadn’t been such a disturbing fabrication! Even more disturbing is that Ebay Motors not only failed to act, they were directly complicate in this ongoing farce. In less than 24 hours after I posted negative feedback, Pro Auto Group was able to get Ebay to suspend my account and have my feedback deleted! There was no hearing. No arbitration process. No inquiry whatsoever. Ebay arbitrarily and summarily backed Pro Auto Group because of their leverage as a power seller.

on April 30, 2006 08:03 AM
# Daniel said:

I have bought 3 honda accords so far on ebay, none of them gave me any problems whatsoever. It really depends on your luck and reading other buyers feedbacks, checking carfax, talking to buyer on the phone and asking the right questions, emailing previus buyers is helpfull too.
I would never buy more than a $10.000 car thought, the higher the price the higher the risk of losing more and gaining less. I have driven 15 states so far on the way back home and it is really cool too, make sure you buy a gps device and it would be even cooler, good luck !

on September 9, 2006 09:28 PM
# Dave said:

Buying a car on eBaymotors is the very best example of caveat emptor (buyer beware) that I'm aware of. Verify, verify, verify and if you have any inkling that there is a problem, pull the plug on the deal. It is important to establish, at least, a strong e-mail dialog. Pick up the phone and call the seller if possible. Ask any and all questions to your satisfaction. The only silly question is the one not asked. Personally I've had both good and bad experience buying cars on eBay. Selling cars on eBay has been a nightmare of deadbeat bidders, non-payers and auction winners not following through.

on March 20, 2007 05:15 PM
# DOC said:

eBay just rolled out eBay Motors 2.0 Beta on the public.

It was released way before it had been thoroughly tested and a bevy of bugs/glitches fixed. The eBay motors discussion board is loaded with complaints about it.

And on top of it all - eBay actually put a link on the new site to go back to the old one!

It is blogged here www.ebaymotorssucks.com

on January 19, 2008 12:52 PM
# said:

I've had the same problem on Ebay.
I agree that if you cant see the car at least get an independant inspection and definitely a Carfax report. Aharley Inc or known as Sunshineautodeals of Florida dishonest and responsible for odometer fraud. Of course I tried to post a blog but Ebay removed it. What is the point of blogs if not to educate?
Buyer Beware - A costly lesson!

on December 30, 2008 06:57 PM
# Ed said:

I used Cars.com - I thought it was easier, had more vehicles/choice, more information and all they focus on is cars (no bikes, boats campers, ATV's, parts, etc). I was able to see and test drive the car I wanted without non-refundable deposit games or binding bids on a car I couldn't see or drive first. Bottom line - Cars.com had 297 of the make/model I wanted within 100 miles vs. 8 on eBay.

on March 17, 2009 02:09 PM
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