These days there are so many avenues to buy products online, but what about a car? In this era, shopping online for a car is becoming commonplace. You can easily scan through numerous options without having to drive around to multiple dealerships looking for what you need. There is even an assortment of websites that cater to online car sales. If you decide to shop online for your next ride, be sure you still check out your final selection in person. You can buy a car online but unlike a pair of shoes, you can’t return it if it doesn’t “fit.” Generally speaking, a car is one item that once you have purchased it, you’re stuck with it.


There is no shortage of cars for sale on eBay, for which you can easily pay for with a PayPal account, but even for rare, hard to find classic cars this is risky. Cars often look much better in pictures, especially since a seller can hide unsavory details by taking pictures from certain angles or by not including every portion of the vehicle. Personally, I think buying a car online is quite risky, so I recommend shopping online, then buying in person. In the case of a classic car where the car is very rare or almost impossible to find, transactions on the internet may be more common as collectors and enthusiasts connect from across the country, but you should still do your homework and try to protect yourself. It may be difficult to check out an antique Mustang from across state lines, but perhaps protect yourself by asking the seller if you can pay in cash when you come pick up the car. Then you have a chance to catch any flaws in the vehicle or inconsistencies in the description when you see the car.

In the case of a regular every day car, it may still be best to go to a local dealer. Go shopping for what you need in person so you can see the cars, inspect them, and most importantly, test drive them! Take your time too. You never want to rush into such a large purchase. We have had several customers over the years call the Bank asking if they can return a car to a dealer because they don’t like the car after they get it home. I have even spoken with customers who have bought a car without test driving it. Always test drive a car before buying it! In light of the recent hurricanes and flooding in some states it is also important to be aware of unscrupulous people trying to sell cars out of state that should have been scrapped. Be leery of salvage title cars, and make sure you get a vehicle history report. Take your time, be investigative, and ask for help if you need it! And as always, be skeptical of deals that are “too good to be true.”

Vince Lobosco

SVP, Consumer Lending

Vince Lobosco - Headshot