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What you should know before buying a used car from Carvana

Three things you need to know when buying a vehicle from Carvana

December 3, 2020 by Marty Ruth 




So you’re in the market for a new-to-you used car, and you’ve heard the buzz about a company who sells certified, quality used-from-a-vending-machine-designed-dealership that is 100% online. Carvana is an online only used car “dealership” that offers nearly all the same stuff as a physical dealership and makes everything super convenient – shopping, paying/financing and arranging delivery of your “new” car, all from the comfort of your own home. They even offer a 7-day Money-back Guarantee to sweeten the deal. That all sounds almost too good to be true, but is it?

#1 – Is buying a vehicle from Carvana as convenient and easy as it sounds? 

Yes. Hands down, Carvana has made car buying easier than buying toilet paper during a pandemic. You can complete the entire process online, including trade-ins and financing. Keep in mind; convenience comes with a price. Before you buy, do your due diligence and research everything, including  Carvana’s asking price on and to ensure the price is at or below average retail. Never use the “excellent” condition report price from either sight for accurate pricing.  You want to reference the “good” or “fair market value”. 

Never – I repeat – Never, bite at the first monthly payment quoted. You’re still dealing with a car dealer, after all, shop rates at multiple financial institutions for financing. Credit unions usually provide the best-used car rates. 

#2 – Carvana vehicles are “beyond” certified.

Carvana says, “We won’t sell you a car that we wouldn’t sell to someone in our family.” That sounds great, but I’ve seen as many dysfunctional families as I have bad certified used cars. Yes, Carvana has its technicians inspect their vehicles using the certification guidelines created by Carvana executives. Sounds great in theory, but that’s like letting your teenagers create their own curfew and monitor themselves. It’s probably not ideal.  

Don’t be fooled by used car certifications. They protect the dealer should your deal end up in a court of law.  Ultimately, “the burden of proof” falls on you to prove they misrepresented the car. That isn’t easy when you signed a bill of sale saying you knowingly bought a certified vehicle. Be a smart consumer and protect your interests by getting the car inspected and certified by your mechanic, who has his or her own certification process. 

#3 – Carvana offers a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Is this true? Yes and no. Yes, you can exchange the vehicle up to 3 times within the first 7 days, however, the 3rd vehicle does not come with the 7-day guarantee. So, if you weren’t happy the first 2 times and the third one turns out to be a lemon, you’ll be stuck with your lemon.

If you only take away one thing from this article, it should be this – If you purchase a vehicle from Carvana, even though it is “beyond certified”,  get it inspected within 5-days of your purchase by a professional auto appraiser and your mechanic.





My name is Marty Ruth from Auto Appraisal Network – Detroit. I have over thirty years in the collision repair and auto appraisal business. I’ve helped thousands of customers, just like you, with pre- and post-purchase inspections of new, used, classic and custom vehicles. I know cars. Let’s face it. If you were a car expert, you wouldn’t be researching car buying advice online, would you? Call me today, within the first 5-days of your Carvana car purchase, and find out the truth about your used car purchase. I’ll work for you and will have your best interests in mind, not Carvana’s. 




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What you should know before buying a used car from Carvana