Carvana is a popular online used car retailer in the United States and is included in the 2021 Fortune 500 List. It has gained popularity for being a retailer with multi-story car vending machines. But the company seems to receive many complaints too. Is Carvana legit? Is it a ripoff?
Carvana is a legit used car retailer that allows consumers to conveniently shop as they don’t have to visit multiple car dealerships anymore. The company has many satisfied customers. However, some are dissatisfied with Carvana’s customer service, mainly regarding delivery dates and after-sales issues.
Read on to learn more about Carvana, including its pros and cons.
Is Carvana Legit? [Is It a Ripoff? Complaints, Pros, and Cons]
Carvana is a legit company. It allows consumers to conveniently shop as they don’t have to visit multiple car dealerships anymore. The company has many satisfied customers. But some are inconvenienced by Carvana’s customer service and after-sales issues.
How Legit Is Carvana
Based in Tempe, Arizona
Carvana is based in Tempe, Arizona, and is one of the fastest-growing online used car retailers in the United States. It launched its initial iteration of a car vending machine in 2013.
Launched Its First Fully Automated, Coin-operated Car Vending Machine
Then, it launched its first fully automated, coin-operated version of a car vending machine in Tennessee in 2015. In 2017, it started trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange.
Touchless Delivery and Pickup Services
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted Carvana to launch its touchless delivery and pickup services in 2020. It was a hit as the company sold more than 200,000 units in the same year.
Fastest Car Retailer to Sell One Million Units Online
As of January 2022, it was recognized as the fastest car retailer to sell one million units online in 9 years. They also successfully sold 400,000 units organically in a year.
Included in the 2021 Fortune 500 List
Carvana is recognized in the United States as a legit used car retailer. It is even included in the 2021 Fortune 500 List.
Aims to Offer Low Prices on Well-maintained Used Cars
The company aims to offer low prices on well-maintained used cars. This becomes possible by eliminating dealerships from the car-buying process.
Unlike traditional car dealerships, Carvana operates online, offering different automotive brands. So, the low prices and online services they offer undeniably bring convenience to interested car buyers.
Aside from buying a car, you can also sell your car to them. Similarly, you can sell your vehicle without leaving the house. You can coordinate with them online and have your vehicle picked up.
How to Buy a Car Through Carvana
Visit the Website
Carvana’s website is user-friendly. Just visit Carvana.com so you can “Search All Vehicles.” You can also search by model, make, or keyword. So, if you want to limit the choices to pickup trucks, you can type “pickup trucks” in the search bar.
Other Filter Options
You can also make use of the filter options in which you can search by:
- Drive Type
- Body Type
- Fuel Efficiency
- Fuel Type
If you have a particular vehicle in mind, you can also type specific details. You will be immediately redirected to the unit’s profile page.
Units Are Posted on the Website
You will enjoy checking out units posted on the Carvana website. It will provide you with a 360-degree view of the actual unit you are interested in buying. The site also provides photos of the unit’s flaws on the exterior.
VIN Is Provided
Carvana also provides you with the unit’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). That way, you can also check the car’s history before making a final decision.
Steps Involve in Buying a Car from Carvana
1. Create an Account to Buy a Unit
Once you are ready to buy a vehicle from Carvana, all you have to do is click “Get Started.” You will then be asked to create an account, similar to how you typically sign up on other online sites.
2. Fill up Forms
Fill up forms online. Also, you have to state if you will pay cash or through a financing scheme. Then, you get to choose whether you want them to deliver the car or you want to pick it up.
3. Carvana Gives You Option to Trade In Your Old Car
Aside from that, you also have the option to trade in your old car. It is not inconvenient because all you have to do is coordinate with them online. There will be no physical contact at all.
4. Gives You 7 Days to Return the Car After Buying
Once the car is with you, Carvana gives you seven days to return it. It’s like going on a test drive. If you are not happy with your purchase, you can return it within seven days.
5. Delivery or Pickup
Carvana will do so based on your chosen schedule if you want the vehicle delivered to you. In case of delay, they will inform you ahead of time.
Picking up the vehicle is convenient too. All you have to do is find the Vehicle Vending Machine nearest you. That is where you will pick up your unit.
If the nearest machine is not near you, Carvana has covered you. The company offers a “Fly and Drive” option. Carvana is willing to shoulder up to $200 of the airfare if you can only reach the nearest Vehicle Vending Machine by plane.
Go to the airport through the Fly and Drive option. Someone will pick you up there and accompany you to your car.
How to Sell a Car Through Carvana
1. Fill Up a Form Online
Selling a car through Carvana is as convenient as buying one through them. Fill up a form online. The details you will type in will include appointment schedule and vehicle information.
2. Provide Details About the Vehicle
As for vehicle information, the details you will provide are the following:
- License plate number
- General condition
- Exterior damage
- ZIP Code
- Mechanical issues
- Premium features
- Accident history
- Loan status
3. Car Inspection
A Carvana representative will then visit to inspect your car. If they agree to get it, they will offer payment.
The services offered by Carvana are undeniably attractive. But, just like any other business, they have many dissatisfied customers too. This probably makes you wonder, is Carvana a ripoff?
Customer Service Issues
Joi B. is one of Carvana’s customers who did not have a pleasant experience. She commended the company due to a smooth buying and trading process, but according to her, things started to get pretty bad after the transaction.
Her unit was delivered two hours late with improperly installed wipers and a defective key remote. She fixed the wipers on her own and had to wait for weeks before the other issue was resolved.
Then, she was informed that her car registration was put on hold and that she needed to submit a document that she did not have. She tried to reach Carvana to settle things as soon as possible, but no one was available to speak to her.
Meredith of Hollister, California, had an unpleasant experience with Carvana too. At first, things were going smoothly. She was given a reasonable trade-in rate for her 2018 Subaru Crosstrek. The process of buying a Prius went smoothly too. It was delivered to her on time and as advertised.
However, she has been waiting for her vehicle registration and license plate for almost four months. When her temporary plates expired, she was sent a PDF version of her second temporary plate.
She had to personally print copies and tape them on the car’s front and rear windshields. This only resulted in being pulled over by the police several times a week.
She noticed too that the check engine light kept flashing. She brought the car for regular maintenance and learned that Carvana failed to reset the dashboard display.
Carvana could have fixed her car issues, too, but the company seems too busy to accommodate her. She then went to a third-party vendor and paid $50 for repairs.
Again, is Carvana legit? Carvana is a legit used car retailer that makes shopping convenient for shoppers through online listings. This company also offers delivery and pickup services and financing options for their customers.
Carvana seems to be having issues handling vehicle registrations and their after-sales service. It is currently facing several lawsuits now. These include lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania and Florida:
Pennsylvania residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against Carvana. Customers claim that Carvana allegedly delayed transferring titles of vehicles for months. This prevented customers from legally operating their vehicles.
Worse, they can’t secure insurance as they can’t legally claim ownership. Undeniably, it is such an inconvenience for customers who bought vehicles, expecting that it will bring convenience to them.
This issue violates consumer protection based on the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law provisions. The case has been moved to federal court.
Florida has already given an ultimatum to Carvana to fix title issues immediately. If not, the company will lose its license to sell vehicles in the state.
Pennsylvania Consumer Attorney Robert Cocco said that Carvana had mishandled title transfers nationwide. It has caused too much distress among buyers. The company has also violated state laws. As of December 2021, Cocco filed two class-action lawsuits against Carvana.
In an interview conducted by Better Call Behnken, Cocco mentioned a Carvana customer who had to wait a couple of years before receiving a title. Police temporarily held another customer for the illegal tag provided by the company.
Positive Customer Feedback About Carvana
Carvana has many customers satisfied with its services despite negative customer feedback.
One of their happy customers is Craig of Milpitas, California. Craig has been buying and selling cars for more than 30 years. He decided to try the services offered by Carvana and said that it was the best buy-and-sell experience he had ever had.
The vehicle he bought was delivered after five days. Initially, he was promised that it would be delivered within 48 hours.
Free of Charge Delivery
But Craig did not see any problem since it would be delivered to him at no charge. He lives 500 miles away from where the vehicle would come from.
Vehicle Registration Completed After Three Weeks
His vehicle’s registration process was completed three weeks from when the vehicle was delivered to him. He plans to do more business with Carvana soon.
Similarly, Brett of York, Pennsylvania, had a pleasant experience with Carvana. Brett was hesitant to visit car dealerships due to the pandemic, but he very much wanted to get a car at that time. So, he visited different websites until he decided to deal with Carvana.
Smooth Buying Process
He shares that the buying process went smoothly. He traded in his old vehicle and paid using a financing scheme. The car was delivered to him on time which he immediately took for a test drive while the Carvana representative was still there.
Newly-bought Vehicle Has No Issues
He was impressed that the actual vehicle looked way better than in the photos. Brett also received the vehicle’s registration three weeks after the vehicle was delivered to him.
To be sure, Brett decided to bring his newly-bought vehicle to a mechanic to have it checked. Impressively, there were no issues found.
Pros of Buying and Selling a Vehicle Through Carvana
Are you interested but hesitant to buy or sell a vehicle through Carvana? If yes, it is best to know the advantages and disadvantages of doing business with them. I have listed down the pros and cons that can help you with your final decision:
What you might like about Carvana are the following:
- Website Interface
- Physical Car Lots
- No Pressure
- Return Policy and Warranty
1. Website Interface
Carvana’s website is user-friendly. The interface is easy to use. You will enjoy browsing the site as it provides all the information you need. It also provides you with a 360-degree view of the vehicles.
Photos provided even include the vehicle’s exterior flaws. Suffice to say that even from the comfort of your own home, you can extensively check out the vehicle you are interested in buying.
2. Physical Car Lots
With Carvana, there is no overhead when it comes to having physical car lots.
3. No Pressure
Carvana practices a no-haggle, no-pressure environment simply because you buy a vehicle online. You don’t have to talk to a sales representative who will try to upsell you. All you have to do is click a button corresponding to the vehicle of your choice.
There is no need for face-to-face interactions because everything is done online. Forms are filled up online, and all requirements are submitted online. Carvana offers contactless delivery and pickup of the vehicles too.
5. Return Policy and Warranty
Carvana has a 7-day return policy. They are allowing you to have a test drive. So, in case you are not satisfied with your purchase, you have the right to return the unit.
You are also entitled to a limited warranty within 100 days from the purchase date. This translates to 4,189 miles.
Cons of Buying and Selling Cars Through Carvana
What you might not like about Carvana are the following:
- No Test Drive Before Buying
- After Sales Service
Carvana offers lower prices than car dealerships. But theirs are still higher than when you buy through a private sale.
2. No Test Drive Before Buying
Since everything is done online, you don’t have the opportunity to test drive the vehicle before buying. Instead, you are given a 7-day return policy after purchasing the car.
You can use that one week to test the vehicle. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can have it returned with no questions asked.
3. After Sales Service
This is probably the main issue with Carvana. Many customers are complaining about its after-sales service.
Customers find it hard to contact them, especially when processing the vehicle’s title. Also, customers find it hard to reach them for repairs covered by the limited warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions to help you decide if you should try buying or selling a vehicle through Carvana:
Is Carvana a Rip Off?
Carvana is not a ripoff. Other customers probably have higher expectations which leads to their dissatisfaction.
It is possible too that the company is experiencing a drastic increase in sales. Their workforce may not be enough to handle the workload. The pandemic has also limited their capabilities to coordinate with other parties, such as processing vehicle registrations and license plates.
When we say “rip off,” the company is defrauding its customers. In the case of Carvana, they are not deceiving their customers. But they do have to exert some effort in addressing their inefficiencies.
Is Carvana a Good Deal?
There are times when Carvana is a good deal, and there are times when it is not. It all boils down to the condition of the vehicle. Its competitor may offer better discounts. So, it’s always best to get multiple offers from different companies as a customer.
Conclusion – Is Carvana Legit
To reiterate, Carvana is a legit business. It allows customers to shop conveniently as they no longer have to visit multiple car dealerships. The company has many satisfied customers. But some are inconvenienced by Carvana’s customer service and after-sales issues.
Carvana cannot be called a ripoff. They are legit and do not have any intention to deceive customers. But it does seem like Carvana has inefficiencies that need to be addressed immediately. It causes distress among their customers, making them think it is a fraud.