If you’re in the market for or are looking to sell a used car, then Carvana could well have popped up on your radar.
This online-only vehicle retailer removes all the stress of buying a used car, allowing consumers to research and purchase the best deal for them in their own time, rather than going through the hassle of the car lot.
But even with practically every commodity being available to buy online nowadays, the idea of buying a used car and picking it up from a vending machine still seems a little bizarre to many of us.
That’s why in this article we cover the 19 things you need to know about Carvana and how it works so you can be fully informed before taking the plunge.
1. Is Carvana Legit?
Carvana is a legit company that not only offers thousands of used cars for sale but also provides trade-in and financing services.
They conduct a rigorous, 150-point inspection on all of the cars listed for sale, which means that they can provide buyers with lots of detail concerning the condition and quality of each and every vehicle.
They put buyers’ minds further at ease with their no questions asked seven-day return policy if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, in addition to a “worry-free” 100-day or 4,189-mile limited warranty.
The part that might make people question Carvana’s legitimacy is reports of the extremely generous offers it makes for cars, beating out offers from dealers and sometimes even surpassing what the owner initially paid for the vehicle, like an offer for a used Toyota Tacoma that was $1,000 higher than its original sticker price.
Yet these reports are not based on fairy tales or urban legends, they are accurate and verified by lots of people who have had a similar experience.
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2. Is Carvana a Rip-Off?
Carvana isn’t a rip-off in the sense that it’s a scam or you are guaranteed to experience problems with your purchase, however, there are certain things that you should bear in mind.
Buying a used car always has its risks – due to the entirety of Carvana’s stock being online, buying a vehicle in this way means that it is impossible to know exactly how the previous owner treated it.
There are plenty of good reviews describing a seamless buying process and drivers who are very happy with their purchase, in large part thanks to the ease of being able to do everything from the comfort of their home.
However, it seems as though despite the company’s 150-point inspection and detailed descriptions of any damage or flaws, some unreliable vehicles do still slip through the cracks, with complaints about loose bumpers and vehicles being delivered with the “check engine” light illuminated.
The Carvana website offers impressive delivery and pickup times – in some cases, it’s possible to collect your new vehicle on the same day that you buy it – but there are numerous reports of car delivery time slots repeatedly being pushed back by weeks at the last-minute.
This variation in customers’ experiences has resulted in Carvana scoring an average rating of 3.2 stars (out of five) on both Consumer Affairs and Trustpilot.
So while Carvana is definitely a legitimate company with plenty of satisfied customers, it might pay to brace yourself for a possible hiccup or two in the process.
3. Is Carvana Overpriced?
Compared to other dealerships, Carvana is not overpriced. In fact, it often undercuts the competition by a few hundred dollars.
Additionally, the price that you see on Carvana will be the actual price you pay.
The same can’t be said for a lot of dealerships, which might advertise a car at a low sticker price to entice you in but you could end up paying more after dealer fees have been added on.
Yet this fantastic value may not apply to all the cars that Carvana sells, with one Reddit user claiming that a BMW E90 M3 was nearly $10,000 more expensive there than it was in other used car lots.
It seems as though the convenience of being able to buy a car without having to leave your house can come with its drawbacks, but on the whole, you have a good chance of finding a great deal on a used car through Carvana.
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4. Are Carvana and DriveTime The Same?
Carvana and DriveTime are not the same company, but they are related.
They are both online marketplaces for used cars, but Carvana was founded as a subsidiary of DriveTime in 2012.
This changed in November 2014 though when Carvana branched off from its parent company.
5. Can Carvana Ask For Their Money Back?
We advise verifying this with a legal professional, but it’s very unlikely that once you have agreed on a deal with Carvana and they have made a payment they will be able to ask for their money back.
6. Does Carvana Give Good Trade-In Value?
On the whole, Carvana does not give good trade-in value. Offers can be lower than 25 percent of the price listed on Edmunds True Market Value, and you are likely to be able to sell for more through a private sale.
That being said, depending on the car and your location, you might be able to get an incredibly good deal because, as things stand, the used car market is pretty hot.
Forums are awash with people describing scenarios where they have been offered practically the same amount as they paid for the car around three years ago, like an offer of $45,000 for a Jeep Wrangler that was bought new for $49,000.
And in some cases, you could even be looking at making a profit on your vehicle, with one forum user pointing out that a used Ford F-150 was being advertised for over $6,000 more than a new one cost two years ago.
7. Why Are Carvana Cars So Expensive?
At the moment, the main reason why Carvana cars are so expensive is due to the current inflation of the used car market.
This is not Carvana-specific though, and you are likely to see this phenomenon across all used car dealerships, whether online or not.
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8. What Credit Bureau Does Carvana Use?
Several Carvana customers have reported that the company uses Experian as its credit bureau, although this is based on some forum users’ experiences and it may use more than one depending on your location and circumstances.
9. How Long Does Carvana Take To Approve?
How long Carvana takes to approve a purchase depends on how quickly you can complete the form – it’s possible to be approved within minutes with a soft credit check, and you could get your new ride delivered within a few days.
When it comes to selling, as long as you have attached all of the correct documentation you could be all set in roughly 24 hours.
But if you haven’t heard anything after a few days, it might be worth calling them to make sure that everything is okay with the items you uploaded and to help nudge the process along a little.
10. Does Carvana Honor Their Offer?
Provided that the seller completes the appraisal of their car honestly and accurately when a member of Carvana’s staff comes to inspect and collect the vehicle they will honor their offer with payment on the spot.
11. Does Carvana Buy Older Cars?
Carvana will appraise and make an offer for older cars, no matter the age.
It is important to remember that at the end of the day, they are a used car dealership, therefore, they might not make an offer for a car that needs a significant amount of work done on it to make it driveable.
12. How Often Does Carvana Get New Cars?
There is no answer set in stone as to how often Carvana gets new cars, since it purchases them directly from customers and from auctions, but Reddit users seem to agree that new cars are added to the website every day.
13. Does Carvana Put Trackers in Their Cars?
If Carvana put GPS tracking devices in their cars, it would be clearly written in the contract.
However, if this is something that you are concerned about, we advise you to get in touch with Carvana.
14. Do You Tip Carvana Delivery?
Whether or not you tip your Carvana delivery driver is completely up to you. Their staff doesn’t expect tips, but of course, they would be very grateful to receive one.
15. Can You Buy a Car From Carvana Without a License?
Regardless of which state you are in, you cannot buy a car from Carvana without a valid driver’s license.
You also need a valid license to complete vehicle registration in most, if not all, states.
16. Do I Need To Clean My Car Before Selling to Carvana?
You do not need to clean your car before selling it to Carvana.
Carvana employees will conduct an inspection of the car prior to purchasing it to ensure that the description you provided is accurate, but this is more to do with damage and marks than it is with the cleanliness of it.
17. Can You Buy a Car From Carvana With a Permit?
Since Carvana requires a valid driver’s license to buy a car, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to buy one with just your learner’s permit. We advise you to check with Carvana though as you may be able to work something out.
What we do know for sure is that you will not be able to register and therefore drive the car legally without a valid driver’s license.
18. Does Carvana Take Capital One Financing?
Carvana does offer Capital One financing, but only in ten states.
If you live in TX, AZ, GA, FL, NC, TN, PA, NJ, NY, IL, or CA, then you will be able to apply to be pre-qualified through Capital One’s Auto Navigator site before beginning your purchase with Carvana.
Unfortunately, if you live anywhere else, Carvana does not work with Capital One in your state.
19. Can You Rent Cars From Carvana?
You cannot rent cars from Carvana. They are a used car dealership that specializes in the buying and selling of used cars.
Final Thoughts – Carvana
Carvana is an incredibly useful service that can take much of the stress out of buying a used car.
They have an easy-to-use website with a highly customizable search engine, allowing customers to filter the results to exactly what they are looking for.
Not only this, but the company also accepts trade-ins and makes instant offers to buy cars, with financing options available too.
Whether you are buying or selling, Carvana is definitely worth bearing in mind.
Although it is always worth shopping around and weighing up all of your options to ensure that you get the best deal you possibly can.