Few people like the car dealership experience. It’s a stressful and tedious process that often leaves customers feeling taken advantage of. And to really think about it, why should anyone need to haggle with a stranger when simply buying a vehicle?
Just as many online retailers are finding ways to simplify the traditionally complex ways of making purchases, Vroom provides an alternative to the conventional car buying process. With their platform, you can search, inspect, and purchase a car right in the comfort of your home.
In other words, Vroom is a car-buying and selling platform that lets you buy or sell a used car online without having to deal with a pushy salesman. Instead of having to negotiate for the best deal with the salesman and feeling the pressure to make a decision on the spot, you have the option of comparing their fixed prices at your own leisure.
But is Vroom really a welcome evolution in the car buying process or just a gimmick-y way of avoiding the level of transparency that comes with buying a car in person. What are actual customers saying about the experience? Read on for our full Vroom review, which should help you understand whether this service is worth your time.
What is Vroom?
Vroom is a car buying/selling platform that aims at providing a unique buying and selling experience with fixed prices. It specializes in selling used cars, with over 4,000 vehicles available for sale. As part of the service, you can buy a vehicle online and have it delivered to your doorstep for a fee.
Currently, Vroom is available in all 50 states, though delivery is not available to Hawaii and Alaska. Each of their cars comes with a CarFax vehicle history report, and they claim they never sell vehicles that have been involved in accidents.
From what we can tell, their strategy seems to emphasize on making the process of buying a car more convenient by offering clear prices, streamlines customer service, and a 90-day complimentary limited warranty with one year of roadside assistance.
On the platform, you can filter vehicles by the general features, such as the make and model, body type, year of manufacture, and special features like heated seats or fuel economy. You can also view pictures, vehicle history, specifications, and reports on the automobile of your choice. You can even place a hold on any vehicle for a period of 24 hours by paying a fully refundable $500 deposit.
How Does Vroom Work?
Vroom mainly works by providing customers with fixed prices on cars to avoid having to haggle. Since Vroom doesn’t have to cover costs associated with the conventional brick-and-mortar dealerships, it’s able to pass on the savings to the customers.
When buying on Vroom, you can shop and find financing entirely online. As already mentioned, you will have to part with $500 as deposit to hold the vehicle while finalizing the contract. And once you finish the purchase process, Vroom will have your car delivered to your home in about 10 to 14 days. It will come with its temporary tags, and you will then be allowed 7 days or 250 miles (whichever comes first) to ensure you like it.
Sometimes, you can arrange to pick up the car yourself in case you live nearby. Keep in mind that no matter where you live, you will be charged a standard $599 delivery fee that is non-refundable. Moreover, while you don’t have to visit a dealership throughout the entire process, there might be some phone calls required. You might also have to sign and mail documents to the company.
If you’re selling your vehicle, you can provide Vroom with some information about the vehicle online and get an instant quote. This price will be good for 250 miles or 7 days. Once you accept the offer, you will only need to verify your information and schedule a free pickup. They will then send you a check after your pickup is confirmed.
How Much Does Vroom Cost?
Vroom is usually based on set prices, meaning there’s no haggling or negotiations involved. As a buyer, you must pay a delivery fee of $599, or $999 if you prefer an enclosed trailer.
Sellers usually don’t have to pay to sell on Vroom as they aren’t actually listing their car, but are selling to Vroom. Although you don’t need to pay the fee upfront, you can imagine the offer you get will be lower than what they will sell the car for. You can also trade in your vehicle and apply its value to the new purchase or have it serve as your down payment.
Keep in mind that there might be a pre-delivery service charge ($285), and depending on the state you reside in, the service charge could be higher, and you might also have to part with an electronic registration filing charge. The title, taxes, tag, and registration fees will be calculated when you buy the car.
Is it Safe to Buy and Sell Cars on Vroom?
Whether you’re looking to sell your car or are shopping for a used one, Vroom is a legitimate and relatively safe platform to use. However, their status with the BBB raises a few eyebrows. Currently, Vroom’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation has been revoked, leaving the company with an “F” ranking, with customer ratings standing at 1.2 stars out of 5 stars. BBB states that businesses that have a revoked accreditation failed to operate based on their standards of trust.
How to Sell Your Car via Vroom
Before we get into the details, it’s worth pointing out that Vroom does accept trade-ins, which can be used to add the value of your current car to your new purchase. You are also allowed to sell a car to Vroom even when you are not buying from them.
To sell your car on Vroom, go to their website and type in information about your car. This could be its VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and the mileage. You’ll then receive an offer in about 30 minutes if you do this within their business hours.
The offer you get will be good for up to 250 miles or 10 business days. If you accept the price, Vroom will make arrangements to pick up the car at the time you agree. Payment will be issued through a cashier’s check.
The following are the steps to sell a car on vroom:
- Fill an appraisal form online. It’s free, but you need to provide your VIN or license plate number, features, and mileage.
- You will receive an offer that’s good for 250 additional miles
- The offer you get is solid – no negotiations or haggling allowed
- If you accept the offer, submit the paperwork and transfer the title to Vroom, they will then schedule a free vehicle pickup
- A driver will come pick the vehicle, but will first inspect it and have you sign a bill of lading. They leave with the vehicle and notifies Vroom of the pickup
- When Vroom receives your car, they will process the payment and you should get your check within 2 to 3 business days
What is the Car-Buying Process Like?
When buying a car via Vroom, you simply need to visit their website and click on the “Buy” tab. Here, you can search cars by body type, make, or model. In addition, you can filter results by color, body type, make/model, price, year, miles, price, and more. You can also sort the results by newest model, recommended, low/high prices, or even lowest mileage.
Usually, you don’t need to enter a location because all of the vehicles on the platform can be delivered to your location. After finding a car you like, click on it to see if there are additional pictures or information. Below the pictures will be the price of the car. Lower down is the history of the car, quality and safety highlights, features, and some familiar vehicles.
You have the option of favoriting the car to save the page or click on “start purchase” if you want to buy the car right away. At this point, you will get a prompt to create an account. If you want to trade in your vehicle, you can get an appraisal online and apply the savings during checkout. You can also pay cash, get finance through Vroom, or with your own bank or credit union.
Here is a rundown of the process when buying a car on Vroom:
- Visit their website, browse cars, and choose the one you like
- Click on “Start Purchase” to create your account
- Choose how to pay for your car, and explore the financing options. You can even trade in your car
- A specialist from Vroom will get in touch. Send a photo of your driver’s license and proof of insurance
- Send the fully-refundable $500 deposit to hold the car you want for 24 hours so that nobody else can buy the car while you finalize your details
- Complete the emailed or overnighted paperwork, review it carefully, and return the signed paperwork within 24 hours
- Vroom will then inspect the car again and book a delivery. You should have your vehicle within 10 to 14 days of purchase
- Once the car arrives, you should have some temporary tags. You’ll get an email about titling and registration, which you’ll need to do once the car arrives
- You are allowed 7 days or 250 miles to test the car and ensure it’s the right fit for you. If it isn’t, you can return it and get a refund for the purchase price.
Note that all credit inquiries done within a 2-week window for car purchases are counted as one “hit” to your credit score. So, once you’ve asked your credit union for a loan, you still have two weeks to check out the financing offer from Vroom.
Does Vroom Offer a Warranty?
Every vehicle on Vroom comes with a 7-day return policy for up to 250 miles. If you choose to return a car, you will be charged $599 as a restocking fee, unless you have evidence that the vehicle wasn’t as described on their website or came with serious faults.
Some cars on Vroom have a free 90-day 6,000 miles limited warranty. Which would mean that if the car needs repair within that time frame, you can take it to an ASE certified mechanic or a dealership for repairs. The 90-day warranty comes with a $50 deductible per instance.
Each vehicle has a one-year free roadside assistance. This covers instances such as when the battery dies, you get a flat tire, or lock yourself out of the vehicle. According to the Vroom website, you may also receive additional warranty packages and gap insurance depending on your car.
The vehicle selection on Vroom includes a variety of cars including hybrid, gas-powered, and luxury vehicles. You can buy anything from the standard Ford F-150 truck to a Maserati. All of the cars on their platforms have low miles, with an upper limit of about 50,000 miles.
In comparison, the selection is not as robust as the one on Carvana, a similar car buying platform. For instance, we tried searching for a Toyota Camry; Vroom had 42 in stock while Carvana had 387. Carvana had 79 Teslas while Vroom had 12 in stock.
Carvana also tends to have vehicles of higher mileage, which are usually capped at about 100,000, which means that you can find cars at much lower prices.
Just as with Carvana and other similar dealerships, you have the option of financing your purchase through your own lender, or use Vroom itself. Luckily, Vroom has been tested to work well with all the major banks such as Ally, Chase, and Capital One.
To see possible rates, you will need to choose a car and scroll down to the payment calculator. Type in the amount, your down payment, term length, and your estimated credit score. Vroom will then estimate your APR and payment.
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However, it’s still better to get pre-approved through third party lenders, which means you can see what rates they offer before you apply with Vroom.
Are Their Trade-in Prices Competitive?
To get a good sense of their prices, you can walk through the entire inventory to get a good sense of their prices. You can test their system online (free of charge) to get a good ideal of what they are willing to pay you.
There’s no pressure about accepting their offers, and it’s up to you to proceed with the process or not. In some cases, you might prefer to negotiate the prices, which is simply not available on Vroom.
Can You Negotiate Prices When Buying and/or Selling?
Vroom does not allow any form of haggling or negotiation. Their prices are fixed, and there are no ways to have them changed. The reason behind this is that they argue that they offer prices lower than the market value by about 8%.
Plus, Vroom also claims that they account for their efforts in reconditioning the car and putting it in good condition before people can buy them.
What Are Real Customers Saying About the Vroom Experience?
Unfortunately, Vroom online reviews are quite bad, and have really taken a hit recently from a number of disgruntled customers. For instance, Vroom’s Trustpilot ranking recently dropped to “Bad” with more than 90% below average customer reviews. BBB also revoked Vroom’s accreditation, leaving the company with an “F” rating with 1.2/5 stars from customer reviews.
Some customer reviews complain that Vroom delayed in sending the registration information of their cars. Driving a car without the right registration could get you a ticket and/or late fees. This can therefore be stressful and costly, especially if Vroom fails to cover the late fees.
While many customers are happy with their experience buying a car through Vroom, undisclosed cosmetic issues are quite common. One user on Reddit claims they bought a truck through Vroom but ended up returning it because of a dent that wasn’t in the photos or the description, as well as rust on the bottom of the truck.
While Vroom provides a 7-day return policy, they can decline to refund the delivery fee. If you’re unable to prove that the photos or the description doesn’t match the car, you may have to take up the $599 delivery charge.
Buying on Vroom vs Dealership
Platforms like Vroom are ideal for customers who want to buy a vehicle without leaving their house.
When you buy a car from a traditional dealership, most will let you take it to a mechanic for their own independent inspection. If the mechanic finds something, you can use the information to negotiate for a better price or walk away from the car. This is where buying a car on Vroom is quite different. If the car you buy has no issues, then you’re golden.
However, if the car starts misbehaving shortly after delivery, you will have to get in touch with Vroom for a post-purchase reimbursement or discount. The unfortunate thing is that you might have to call them severally and have compelling evidence for them to refund you any money.
So, if you opt to use Vroom just because you want to avoid talking on the phone and dealing with salespeople, then starting a dispute with Vroom over a problematic car will probably be a nightmare.
The Benefits and Drawbacks
Here are the Benefits of using Vroom:
- No need for haggling with sellers: The prices on Vroom are fixed, which takes off a lot of pressure from the buying experience because you are well aware of exactly what you need to pay and you can then decide accordingly
- Easy, straightforward process: It’s remarkably easy to buy a car through Vroom. Everything is done via the internet, meaning you avoid the time wastage, lines, and salespeople at the dealership. You can complete the whole purchase process at the comfort of your home.
- Car selection: Vroom gives you a wide variety of vehicles to choose from at a wide variety of prices, which makes it a great platform to look for your next car
- Detailed Inspections: Vroom only puts up cars for sale after verifying that they have clean titles; they perform rigorous inspections on all their vehicles.
Vroom Cons: Drawbacks to Watch Out For
Despite the many great perks of using Vroom, there are some considerable drawbacks as outlined below:
- Negotiation not allowed: While some buyers prefer to avoid haggling altogether, it can be really handy in some cases, as it can help you get a better deal.
- Low customer satisfaction: Vroom has a worryingly low satisfaction rating online, not to mention it has had its accreditation revoked by the BBB. These are quite concerning and could point out to an overall inefficiency in their process or service.
- Weak return policy: When you purchase a car on Vroom, you’re only allowed up to 250 miles or 7 days, which is a rather weak return policy. But this is fairly common in these kinds of online dealerships.
- Customer service is mixed-bag: There’s a mixed consensus about the customer service at Vroom. There are customers who applaud the service, and others who feel that Vroom isn’t as responsive as they should be.
- Failed warranties: There are several customers who have complained that Vroom doesn’t honor warranty and is not as helpful as they could be whenever issues come up. This raises concerns about the strength of their inspections.
Final Thoughts: Should You Sell or Buy via Vroom?
Vroom is a legit car buying and selling platform, with a relatively easy and straightforward process. Despite their several benefits of buying via Vroom, their poor online ratings indicate some serious issues.
Unless you don’t have a car dealership nearby or loathe talking to salespeople, you are probably better off looking elsewhere for your next car. And if you’re still insistent on buying a car online, consider checking out Carvana, which has much better online reviews.
If you do decide to use Vroom, be sure to read through the description and look at the pictures carefully. Vroom offers a Carfax report for free, which should show you whether the car you’re interested in has even been in an accident, flood damaged, or used for commercial purposes.
Go through the report carefully and try to spot any red flags. The extra due diligence might help you avoid some of the major headaches that lots of other Vroom customers have had to deal with.