Nowadays, you can buy anything online. Places like Amazon have made it easier than ever to get what you need and want delivered to your home, in as little as a couple of hours. Restaurants that previously didn’t offer delivery have now partnered with food delivery services so that you can get takeout from all your favorite places.
Over the last year, I have spent more time than ever at home and become more accustomed to online shopping. When it was time to shop for my wife’s next new car, we felt comfortable going online.
She had a list of requirements the vehicle had to meet and I had some input as well. We were replacing a 2007 Acura MDX that had been a great family vehicle. Her next vehicle had to have a third row and modern technology features like Bluetooth and phone integration.
After researching online she decided on a Mercedes Benz GLS 450. We did a test drive at a local dealership and made a list of options she liked. It had to have a white exterior with black interior. Also, we were shopping used because depreciation is real on luxury vehicles.
We began scouring the internet for a low mileage vehicle within our budget and we soon added panoramic roof to the must have options list. We found one 3 hours away in Indianapolis, but we called and it was already sold. I found one in New Jersey, but it was sold as well. The dealership had another to offer, but it required signing paperwork at the dealership in person. The price was good, but flying to New Jersey in February to drive back wasn’t really an option.
I kept coming back to a 2017 GLS that I found in Philadelphia. I contacted the dealership and scheduled a virtual walk around. The sales professional did a thorough walk around and pointed out any dings or blemishes that he could find. That spoke volumes to the integrity of the person I was dealing with.
The dealership provided a detailed vehicle history report, including a Car Fax and service report. The report showed when the vehicle was purchased, where it was purchased, and where it was serviced. It also showed when the oil was changed, brakes were serviced, and tires were replaced. All of this information along with videos and 60 plus pictures made me comfortable with the process.
It is important to review the terms and conditions of the purchase before signing any paperwork. These are legal documents, so ask any questions on the front end and get any promises or guarantees in writing. Many online dealers have a return policy ranging anywhere from 3 to 30 days. Also, check if there is any factory warranty remaining or if any warranty is provided by the dealership.
We agreed to purchase the vehicle, then the non traditional part started. The dealership sent paperwork overnight that required signatures. The buyers order had to be notarized. You can usually find a notary at your local bank or a simple search. You also need to have loan paperwork coordinated or have a certified check from your bank to provide the dealership.
Once we got all the required documents together we returned them to the dealership. Unfortunately, while we were shipping documents back, Philadelphia was being pounded by a snow storm of record proportions. Needless to say, our overnight package took a few days to get there.
After the dealership received the documents and payment, it was time to coordinate delivery. The dealership hired a transportation company to deliver the new car. Transporters accept a bid based on available space on their carriers. Transit times can vary based on distance. Philadelphia to Columbus is a popular route so it only took a couple of days to get a carrier lined up. Once scheduled, the carrier picked up the car and delivered it the next day.
When the vehicle arrives, you are responsible for inspecting it and accepting its condition. Check for any damage that may have happened during transit and any damage not previously presented. This can include paint chips, glass cracks, or other scratches that can happen on the road. Also, make sure that all keys are there and any adds or options are there. If everything checks out, the bill of lading should be signed. This is a delivery document describing a load, origin, and destination.
Congratulations, you bought a car online! Registration can vary by state. Most states will require the title be transferred to the state you live in so that you can register it and get license plates. In Ohio, this process requires a VIN inspection, where a BMV employee verifies the Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle against the provided title. Your state may also require an emissions and/or safety inspection. Check with your local BMV or DMV for details.