More dealerships have been choosing to make their inventory available online due to the proliferation of online new and used car merchants. The online vehicle salespeople have been wooing customers with terms such as "buying from the comfort of your home," "no-hassle," and "money-back guarantee." However, is it too good to be true? Here are the pros and cons of buying a car online vs. at a dealership:


Pros: Online shopping has generated large savings for people who choose to keep away from dealership lots or stores, but is it the same when purchasing a car online? The short answer is yes.

Even though some people may prefer to see and touch what they are buying and opt to visit a dealership, many reports have shown that purchasing a vehicle online saves the consumer money. Online dealers have less overhead costs and can pass those savings on to the consumer.

How vast is the saving, though? Research shows that the savings online can be anywhere from just under one percent to five percent in savings. The savings depend on the model of the vehicle. Many people believe the online savings is worth it, but others think it is still better to speak with someone and negotiate at car dealerships in Washington Courthouse Ohio.

Cons: Savings can turn out to be false, especially if the vehicle has more issues than were indicated online. Many times, online customers get their car and find that several features itemized online are missing. It will now cost them more than they had purportedly saved to add the accessories they initially wanted.

Test Driving

Pros: Being able to test drive a vehicle before purchasing it is significant to many consumers. Many people do not like a cat in a bag; therefore, they would rather see and feel what they are spending their money on at the onset. Buying a vehicle from car dealerships in Washington Courthouse Ohio, will afford the consumer that opportunity. It's even more important if the customer needs the vehicle to use right away or maybe to head out of town for a while.

Cons: Test Driving the vehicle is not possible when purchasing a car online. While some online dealers give you up to seven days to test-drive the vehicle, it's still not ideal for some consumers. Some people depend on the vehicle to get to work, and returning it for any reason at all would prove inconvenient. It's even worse if they have to go back online to choose, then wait anywhere from one to a few days for the next vehicle that they'll have to test drive a few days again.

Buying Process

Pros: The pro here is in favor of the online dealership. Many consumers like the idea of sitting in the comfort of their home and sifting through an array of vehicles. There are many filters available to help them get to a car that matches their style and budget.

If they are in a rush, the purchase time can be a few minutes to an hour. For an indecisive customer, it could take a few hours or several days, but they still would not have to hop from dealership to dealership, but stay home and comfortably make a decision online.


Buying from a dealership frequently requires going through tons of paperwork and personnel to get approved for a vehicle. There is also a lot of upselling, which can prove annoying to many consumers. A customer wants to know that whatever their budget is, they will not be forced to go beyond it to buy something they can't afford. Some buyers buckle under the pressure when they are desperately in need of a vehicle.

Often, they are also forced to choose a vehicle that doesn't suit their taste or lifestyle because a salesperson convinces them that it is better. Many times, consumers spend the entire day being hassled and leave with nothing. They end up going through the same process multiple times before eventually getting a vehicle within their budget range.

Vehicle Delivery


A plus for online shoppers is that they can stay at home and have the vehicle delivered. Some may not get it at their workplace or a neutral location. Either way, it proves to be very convenient, especially for the consumers who are more laid back and prefer not to lift a finger if they don't have to. For others, the work schedule often reduces the time they have to spend at a dealership; therefore, delivery is the most convenient way to receive their vehicle. There are a few who are just mesmerized by the idea of having their vehicle turn up, sometimes wrapped in a bow, at their gate.


Delivery of the vehicle can be an additional cost, especially if it is coming from another state. Some online dealers reduce the charge if the car is in the same state or a nearby one. However, the cost could be something that the consumer wasn't anticipating.

Additionally, many things can go wrong during the delivery process, like a hauler break down or unforeseen circumstances like a storm or an accident. The worst situation, however, is receiving the vehicle with transport damage. This is usually a significant deal-breaker for customers. The damage can be anywhere from a pebble dent to a broken windshield or a large scratch on the sides.


Pros: Customers like to know that they have options when a particular document that's requested is not available. Buying a vehicle from let's say, a car dealership in Washington Courthouse Ohio, allows customers to work with someone who can make suggestions that can circumvent some requirements. The salesperson at the dealership works with the customer to help them get a favorable loan if an in-house loan is not available or attainable. The dealership is always more flexible.

Cons: Online car buying systems are usually very rigid. If you do not have the specific documents required, moving ahead with the purchase may not be possible.

Sometimes, agents are available to assist, but there are many back and forth with uploading the documents to get them what they deem acceptable. Not everyone is technologically inclined, and attaching documents can be a painful process for them.


Pros: When a customer has no clue what type of vehicle they want or the features they'd like, having a wide array of options is ideal. Buying online gives them the ability to analyze multiple vehicles and make a more informed decision.


Variety can prove useful and inadequate. Going through multiple makes and models can confuse a simple-minded individual. Meanwhile, they could head to a dealership with 1-3 makes and models and make an easier decision.

Finally, some people may be a bit reluctant about making such a substantial investment online, while for others, the pressure of a dealership is no better. It all boils down to time and savings. Top car-buying apps and sites say they offer substantial savings, decent return policies, and rigid vehicle examinations.

For those who prefer personalized service and guidance from a knowledgeable individual instead of a robot, car dealerships will always be the ideal choice. To avoid the hassle, they can visit the dealership after closing hours or even do a short-term rental of the vehicle they desire to get a feel for it. That will reduce their time at the dealership.

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