Buying a Car on Carvana Was Surprisingly Easy

Buying a Car on Carvana Was Surprisingly Easy

by Michael Satterfield - 03/07/2023

I sat on my sofa, staring at the Carvana website on my phone. After a disastrous experience at a local Buick dealership, I was hesitant to even consider buying a car again. Still, we had already been borrowing one of my parent’s cars for the last few months while we shopped, and I needed to pull the trigger. But something about Carvana intrigued me, sure the stories of title issues and their looming bankruptcy caused some concern, but could it really be any worse than the games played by the traditional dealership? The promise of a hassle-free car-buying experience, all done online from the comfort of my own home, was too tempting to resist, and I know my wife wasn’t going to head back out to the showroom floors for another round of common core car sales. 

I input the makes and models that my wife had already expressed her interest in and was immediately greeted with a wide selection of vehicles. The prices were clearly marked, and the pictures showed every angle of the cars. I could see the dents and scratches, the wear and tear of each vehicle. It was like being at the dealership without actually being there. A deeper dive into the search options refined the list down to about 25 or so vehicles from over 100. 

I scrolled through the selection, trying to find something that ticked all the boxes my wife, Jennifer, had outlined in her ideal vehicle. Me, I have always been comfortable driving nearly anything interesting, a MG with no AC, is just fine, or an ancient pickup truck with bull horns on the hood even better, but Jennifer wanted something nice. Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Audi, and BMW all were at the top of the list for her. She wanted a small SUV, something our 82lb Labrador could fit in, something with a little style, something that would make her feel good when she drove it. And most importantly, she wanted to avoid the pushy sales tactics and endless negotiations that had plagued our last car-buying attempt.

Carvana shopping on a phone

As I scrolled through the selection, a car caught my eye, that ticked all her boxes. It was a sleek black Mercedes GLA 250 4Matic, with the burlwood dash Jennifer liked so much. I clicked on the picture, and the car's details popped up. It had low mileage, was certified, and a price that was well within our budget. I felt a spark of excitement as I showed it to Jennifer who enthusiastically agreed that it was perfect. 

I added it to my cart and the process began. Carvana's website guided me through every step, from choosing my financing options to selecting delivery or picking up from a car vending machine. I felt a sense of control that I had never experienced at a traditional car dealership, in less than 15 minutes I had completed the purchase and once I uploaded proof of insurance, we were done. Our car would be delivered in 3 business days. 

Buying a Car on Carvana Was Surprisingly Easy

But as the day of our car's delivery approached, I began to feel nervous. What if the car wasn't as good as it looked online? What if there were hidden problems that I didn't discover until it was too late? I tried to push those thoughts aside, reminding myself that Carvana had a reputation for quality and transparency. Those fears were quickly pacified, when the car showed up on the back of a Carvana flatbed in front of our house. A cheerful delivery driver hopped out and approached me with a big smile and said, "Congratulations on your new car!" He went on to tell us about how we had seven days to cancel the contract and trade the car in for another car before the final paperwork was sent off to the state of Texas for registration. He even shared the story of a customer who traded in her car three times until she found the car that was right for her. 

The driver climbed aboard the truck and backed it down the ramp, it looked even better in person than it did online, Jennifer was excited, and the delivery driver went over the car with us, pointing out any imperfections and explaining the features of the car. "Are you ready to take it for a spin?" the delivery driver asked. I nodded and handed the key to Jennifer, after all, she was going to be driving it mostly. 

Carvana Online Car Buying Experience

As we drove the car down the street, I couldn't help but feel a sense of triumph. I had avoided the traditional car dealership, with its pushy sales tactics, endless negotiations, and feckless sales managers. We bought our car online, with complete transparency and control over the process. And most importantly, it was a car that Jennifer loved.

I couldn't help but think about the traditional car dealership that had caused us so much frustration and anxiety. Had we been able to go to and simply pick out the vehicle, color, and terms, then just do our paperwork online and pick up the car at a local dealership we would be driving a new Buick. But instead, we got the runaround and spent hours playing mathematical badminton. Carvana had shown me that there was a better way to buy a car, one that put the power back in the hands of the buyer and allowed me to shop for our next car the same way we shop for nearly every other product we buy in the modern world. 

I can think of only a few scenarios where I would never go back to a traditional car dealership again, but for a used car, Carvana wins the game.

Before you ask, no this post was not sponsored by Carvana, we were not paid by them or got a deal, this was a full-blown retail transaction with no special treatment.