We've all seen them. Many of us have considered buying from them: those shady-looking used car dealerships protected by chain-link fences that line downtown streets and shabby suburban avenues. "Sure, the prices seem good," we think to ourselves, "but can I really trust a guy who sells cars out of a Home Depot tool shed?"
The thought of buying online doesn't make us much more comfortable. Yes, the car sites themselves seem professional and legit, but what about the sellers? Are you really ready to drop $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 on an eBay Motors vehicle sight unseen, based on a description written by someone who clearly doesn't understand the difference between "there", "their", and "they're"? Could you ever get your money back if it turned out to be a scam?
Vroom.com claims to offer an alternative: an online space to sell and buy used cars with built-in guarantees for buyers and sellers.
If you're a seller, Vroom promises to make the process easy and quick. Vroom buys vehicles itself, then resells them to shoppers, so there's no auctioning or dealing with individual bidders. After registering with an email address or Facebook, just visit the site's "Sell" page using your smartphone, scan or type in the VIN of your car, and upload a few pics. Vroom will make an offer within minutes. Accept, and the company will arrange to have it picked up and taken to its HQ outside Dallas (or if you live nearby, you can drop it off).
If you're a buyer, Vroom promises that you can return any car purchased through the site within seven days for a full refund. It also offers a 90-day warranty that covers most major components, including the engine and transmission. Vroom will ship your purchase to you for free, and the company can even offer financing (though as we've said about a thousand times, you should always do your own loan research before shopping).
Vroom looks a lot nicer than that tool shed on the avenue, and its promises to buyers are better than most auto websites we've seen. Based on a couple of spot-checks, its used-car prices seem on the cheaper end of things, too.
The questions are:
1) Do consumers like you trust Vroom enough to give it a spin?
2) If Vroom takes off, can it do so without raising prices and/or scaling back promises to consumers?
Would you trust a site like this? Have you already? Sound off in the comments below.