When shopping for a car online, there are no shortage of options nowadays. With local car dealers coming online with their own websites to new companies offering online car buying services, you may not know where to start.
If you have scanned the internet lately for ways to sell your car, then you have likely stumbled upon websites like Vroom, Carvana, and CarMax. As new players in the auto space, these types of companies are making big changes to how cars are bought and sold. But with so many different options to sell a car online, it means sellers need to pick the option that best suits them. So when it comes to Vroom, CarMax, and Carvana, which is better?
What is Vroom?
Vroom is a company based in New York City, New York that specializes in online car sales. Founded in 2013, Vroom helps their customers buy, sell, and finance cars online through their website.
An an online automobile retailer, Vroom is currently upending much of the auto industry that is unprepared to transfer their operations online. That being said Vroom still needs to maintain physical locations in order to store their inventory, which they do in Texas through acquired car dealerships.
How Does Vroom Work?
When buying a car with Vroom, it will be unlike most transactions you have made before. Especially when buying a used car, Vroom has no need for you to go to an in-person location. Since they are not a peer-to-peer marketplace, Vroom handles the entire process themselves.
That means Vroom owns and stores their own used car inventory. In 2015 the company purchased a large used car dealership in Texas as a way to improve their distribution network. However in 2018 Vroom was forced to close another facility, so the company is still working things out. Nonetheless, their services are still very popular today.
In addition to selling cars online, Vroom also buys cars to add to its fleet. Similar to InstantOffer.com, Vroom will pay to buy your car and will also tow it away for free. If you are selling a car to Vroom, you can also use the proceeds to buy another car directly from Vroom. In fact the will deliver the new car to you. They will even help you finance the new vehicle with partnerships to over dozen different banks.
What is CarMax?
Carmax is the United States largest used car dealer with locations scattered all over the country. The concept for the company was started by none other than Richard Sharp, then CEO of now defunct consumer electronics retailer Circuit City. Today the company has over ninety locations with their corporate headquarters located in Richmond, Virginia.
Carmax is the largest dealer of used cars in the nation and is also a Fortune 500 company. They buy, sell, and finance used cars for customers at any location or online. Their large physical footprint allows them the ability to field offers on cars from any of the fifty states.
How Does CarMax Work?
As the largest used car dealer in the country, Carmax works by having a robust distribution system. While they first started off as a fleet of used car dealerships, the company has expended into online car buying to leverage their footprint.
By having used cars for sale located in most states, Carmax can sell their cars online and provide short delivery times. In the discussion of Carvana vs Carmax, you have the peace of mind knowing where the car you are buying is coming from.
As a car purchaser as well, Carmax operates similarly to how other car buyers work. Similar to InstantOffer.com, you can submit your car’s information to Carmax and receive an offer. If you accept their offer, Carmax will pick up your car for free and pay you for it, or you can drop it off at one of their many locations.
What is Carvana?
Carvana is a used car dealer from Tempe, Arizona specializing in online car sales. The company was started in 2013 and is known famously for their invention of the car vending machine. Carvana offers its customers financing services to help with their car buying needs.
In addition to car sales, Carvana also buys cars nationwide. Just submit your car’s information on the Carvana website to get an offer for your vehicle. Carvana will tow the car free of charge. Plus if you happen to be buying a car from Carvana, they will drop off your new car while picking up your old car at the same time.
How Does Carvana Work?
What are the benefits of using Carvana vs Vroom? Carvana promotes their seven day money back guarantee when buying a car. If you purchased a used car on Carvana, you have seven days after the car is delivered to change your mind. If you do not like the car or have any issues, they will pick up the car from you and give you your money back.
Carvana also offers trade in services. If you were not already planning to sell your old car, you can exchange it for a new car with Carvana. Plus their financing department will help get you covered with any value your old car cannot cover. By offering all of these services Carvana is among the top online used car dealers.
Vroom vs CarMax vs Carvana Reddit Reviews
Since Vroom, CarMax, and Carvana are becoming more popular, we decided to check out some Reddit reviews. Hopefully this will give you an idea of how other customers feel about working with these online car dealerships.
Thanks to online forums, we can see exactly how real customers fair in the Vroom vs Carvana vs Carmax debate. Here are a few reviews provided by people who have worked directly with these online car companies.
Reddit Review #1
“I was contacted saying the car would be fixed in a week. I contacted Carvana to see about starting the purchasing process again. They said they never, ever do things like this and they wouldn’t sell the car until it was shipped back to Arizona, inspected/cleaned, and then made available to the public on the website again.
The woman on the phone said, “If you had kept the car and fixed it under our warranty, that would be a different story.”
I said, “You want me to keep a broken car past its 7 day return policy on a hope that it could be fixed under warranty??” (The dealer would take one week to even look at the vehicle.)”
In this scenario, it sounds like Carvana did not notice the leaking transmission fluid in the car they sold. Normally a problem like this would be noticed during the Carvana car inspection but sometimes problems slip through the cracks. In any case, the car buyer was able to return the car using the seven day return policy.
Reddit Review #2
“So I bought a 2017 Chevy Volt Premier with 36k from Carmax. Carmax customer service was also excellent, on par with Carvana, but the difference is that I got to meet them in person. I test drove the car before buying. And they also have a 7 day return policy. I purchased the MaxCare plan, which I really like, because if I have a problem, I drive it in to the service center and talk to a human being.
Now comes the fun part. Less than 24hrs after buying the car, the check engine light came on. It’s at Carmax being diagnosed now. I drove home in a loaner. And here’s where Carmax wins in every way:
– They extended my return policy to 14 days, no problem.
– They provided the loaner instantly.
– I never had to call anyone or set up paperwork or do anything except provide my info and wait at the counter. They took care of EVERYTHING for me.
– And since it’s a dealership, everyone is on the same page. I wasn’t told one thing by an associate, just to have another associate say that’s not correct. This happened twice with Carvana. The whole re-purchasing thing and then when they were explaining their warranty. One guy said I wouldn’t pay a deductible, the next one said, “I’ve never heard about that.”
In this review it is clear that the customer was pleased with their experience using Carmax. The main difference in this Carvana vs Carmax reddit review is that this buyer was able to test drive the car of choice first at a Carmax location. Unfortunately the car did have some issues, but Carmax made it easy to resolve. They provided a loaner vehicle while the used car was repaired at the Carmax service center right away. The car buyer even purchased the MaxCare plan to ensure the car would be protected.
Reddit Review #3
“Traded 2 cars in with Vroom, nothing but smooth sailing! Didn’t try Carvana since they wanted us to drive ~100 miles to their nearest inspection station.”
This customer was pleased with their experience trading in two cars with Vroom. They chose not to use Carvana because in this case Carvana needed to inspect the vehicles at one of their car inspection facilities.
Reddit Review #4
“Vroom have to mail you a document via fed ex overnight. You sign and send it back with whatever spare keys you have with the prepaid label. All great and dandy and even the pickup process wasn’t bad. About the same turn around time from start to pickup. One major difference was Carvana comes with there own pickup truck and Vroom came with a massive car carrier and they give you a bill of landing basically a receipt that they came to pick up.”
This customer was relatively pleased with both Carvana and Vroom, however they pointed out the difference in how the companies picked up the old car. Depending on your scenario, you may want to confirm with the company or carrier what you need to have a safe pick up process.
In all, the debate of Vroom vs CarMax vs Carvana will depend on your own experience. While these companies have their pros and cons, the online car buying experience is in its infancy. Over time, these companies will improve their work flows and buying a car online will become much smoother. In the meantime, if you need to sell a car, InstantOffer.com wants to buy your car!