Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Buying a Used Car Below Trade In Value By Using Ebay: Our Good Experience

I had a hole burning in my pocked last year when I returned from Afghanistan and felt like replacing my wife's car which had nearly 160k miles on it. There was no rush for replacing it, but I was prospecting for a newer car in my free time. I started looking for used cars which were still under warranty and below Kelley Blue Book Trade In Value.

I found that the best way to accomplish this, while not driving amongst dealer lots, was to search Ebay. It was contrary to my first thought since normally I associated Ebay with purchases made through remote vendors. But in our case, we were able to find a large number of used cars listed on Ebay which were within 30 minutes of our Memphis, TN burbs house.

I pinpointed my search to cars with either no reserve or already above the preset reserve price. I didn't mess with any Ebay classified adds or "salvage" titled vehicles. We settled on a 2004 Lexus ES330 with 46k miles. As soon as I saw it, my wife and I drove to the listing dealership. The dealership had the car listed on site for $2500 more than it's Ebay listing. Apparently, the listing salesman thought that by listing it lower that he'd get buyers bidding it up.

When we looked at the car on site, the salesman tried to sell me the car at the lot price and acted like the car would be bid up for his online listing. I didn't fall for it. In the end, I was the only bidder. Another guy in Michigan was inquiring on it, but I think his angle was to try and buy it after the listing unsuccessfully closed without a bidder (perhaps another bidding strategy). I bought the car in the final 30 seconds of the Ebay listing a whole $500 below Kelley Blue Book Trade In Value.

The most beautiful thing about our purchase wasn't found out until after we bought the car on Ebay. When we showed up at the dealership to take delivery, I learned that Tennesse doesn't collect sales tax on cars sold to military servicemembers assigned to Tennesse. No Sales Tax, $500 below trade in value, Yipee!

We have put over 30k miles on the car since purchase without any problems. Stock photo of our car, courtesy of MSN Autos:

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