Welcome to my review on how to buy a car on eBay! Having bought three cars on eBay I there are some very important considerations and factors in making this important purchase.
1. Consider searching for cars only in your own State.
Having been through the processes with three interstate car purchases - they can be a pain to get registered in your home State. All the various Australian States and Territories have their own registration, inspection and licensing requirments. If you purchase an interstate vehicle and want your car to have have registration from your home State you will have to take it for a government inspection. Most States require it to be changed in 14 days, so you will obliged to do so. This can cause problems if the car is modified as you may find you have to make changes to the vehicle so it meets local laws. For example, wheel size, roll cages, turbos, blow-off valves, seat modifications, engine changes can all render your car being illegal. This doesn't include the obvious defects such as rust, broken lights, noisy exhausts, non-working horns, which also means your car doesn't get approved for rego. The safest option is to buy local! You can use the search option (under 'location' on the lower left side of the screen) to refine your search a particular radius of km from your home postcode. Then hit the 'show items' button!
If you do end up buying an interstate car, and of course there are many more listed on eBay from sellers the eastern states, you have to consider how the car is going to delivered to you, how much it is going to cost, and how long it is going to take. There are many businesses who can do this for you, but it will probably be up to you to organise and pay. And don't forget - if you need the seller to drop the car off somewhere for transportation, organise this before bidding.
2. Know you make and model
Another important factor is to know what you want! Who is the car for? Would the person be happy with any make? Or any model? Also consider variations in the model, such as the Falcon range having the GL, Fairmont, Fairmont Ghia and GT models. Then there's the sports-related models, such as XR6, XR8, Typhoon, FPV etc! It means there are lots of varations out there, and is the buyer going to happy with something that they might not have bene expecting.
3. Know the approximate price, and your budget!
Once you have narrowed the car you want down to one model, or perhaps two or three, make sure you develop an awareness of the pricing structure. You can often do this by having a look in the paper or on other websites to gauge what the market is paying for a particular car. Then comes the important part - what are you going to pay on eBay! There are some fantastic bargains out there, so make sure you make the most of your opportunties! It is very important to have a budget - and stick to it! You don't want to bid too much and find out that you cannot pay, because that will cause you all sorts of problems with a non-paying bidder strike being launched against you. A good way of buying cars, and not being tempted, is to search for set values using the 'Show only' boxes locvated on the lower left of the screen. Simply type in your price limits (upper and/or lower) and hit the 'show items' button.
4. Ask questions of the buyer
An other vital step is to ask questions of the buyer. Some listings do not contain a great deal of information on the vehicle, so it is very important that you clarify all aspects which are not clear. This may include the registration number, engine number or VIN, all important factors if you want to do a vehicle security check (a good idea too!). it might also include information about whether the car is automatic, manual, has airconditioning (that works!), registration, runs on LPG or has any modifications. This is very important - ask your questions before bidding. You can also ask for extra photographs of the car - from all angles, inside and out. Ask the seller if anything is not working, or if anything needs repair. Mention both short and long term considerations and make sure the seller addresses the points your raise and does not fob you off. If the seller is genuine, they should be happy to do this for you. If not, then you may have to keep browsing EBay for a little while longer!
The last step in the process is bidding, and it is the most important part. You are bidding to buy the car, you are not bidding to turn up and later have a look at it and decide if you'll take it. The seller may want you to pay for the car before you come and collect it, which is okay in some circumstances. The safest method is of course to pay when you collect the car, and this should also be organised before bidding. Beware of any request to pay for a car using Western Union and do not bid if the seller requests this form of payment, as it is associated with scams.
As mentioned previously, don't bid more than your budget allows, and make sure you have included enough for registration in your State, transport to your place, any repairs that may be needed and the cost of insurance (if applicable).
When all this is satisfied hit the 'place bid' button.Good luck with purchasing your next car on eBay!