If you’ve been shopping for a car online, you’ve probably come across Vroom. The automotive shopping website allows you to buy used cars online or sell/trade your current car. But is Vroom the right dealer for you?
Team Clark has explored the process of buying and selling vehicles with Vroom and compared it to other methods to find out.
In this article, I’ll look at how Vroom works and what its process is for buying and selling cars. I’ll also look at how Vroom’s prices compare to competitors’ and give you the pros and cons of buying and selling cars there.
Table of Contents:
- How Does Vroom Work?
- Buying a Car Through Vroom
- How Does Vroom’s Pricing Compare?
- Selling a Car Through Vroom
- Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons
How Does Vroom Work?
Similar to Carvana and CarMax, Vroom is an online car buying and selling website. While it’s a much smaller company, it works the same way. Vroom keeps a physical inventory of used vehicles that you can browse online and have delivered to your door. The company also purchases used vehicles and picks them up for free.
Vroom aims to make buying and selling cars online an easy process. Instead of visiting dealerships in person and haggling over a price, Vroom lets you directly compare cars and costs nationwide. If you decide to purchase a car from Vroom, you can explore financing options, place a deposit and get your car delivered. Once you’ve taken delivery of your car, Vroom says you’ll have a full week or 250 miles to return it — for any reason.
If you’re selling your car, you can provide some basic information about your vehicle online to get an instant price. That price will be good for seven days or 250 miles. If you accept the offer, you’ll then verify your information and schedule a free pickup. Vroom will send you a check once your pickup is confirmed.
Buying a Car Through Vroom
If you’re looking to buy a used car, shopping for one on Vroom is easy. To get started, visit the website and click the “Buy” tab. From there, you’ll be able to search by make, model or body type. Additionally, you can filter your results by make & model, body type, color, year, price, miles and more. You can also sort your results by recommended, newest model, lowest mileage or low/high prices.
You don’t have to enter your location since all of the vehicles can be delivered to your door. When I searched for a Toyota Camry, I found over 160 available cars.
Once you’ve found a car that you’re interested in, you can click on it to see additional pictures and information. Below the pictures, you’ll see the price of the car. Know that the price does not include a pre-delivery service charge of $285.50 and a delivery fee of $699. Depending on what state you live in, the service charge may be higher and an electronic registration filing charge may apply. Taxes, title, tag and registration charges will also be calculated when you purchase the car.
Lower on the vehicle’s webpage, you’ll see the auto history, features, safety and quality highlights and some similar vehicles. You can “favorite” the car to save the page or click “Start purchase” if you’re interested in buying the car.
At that point, you’ll be prompted to create an account. If you have a vehicle that you’d like to trade, you can get an appraisal online and apply the savings during checkout. You can also finance through Vroom, pay cash or finance with your own credit union or bank.
“When Vroom offers to finance, they’re not offering it as your friend. They’re offering it because that’s how they make money,” money expert Clark Howard cautions.
“People are much better off to pre-qualify on their own at a credit union. If you’re not a member of a credit union, join one. The loan will be substantially cheaper than it would be through Vroom, Carvana or CarMax.”
Know that all credit inquiries within a two-week window for a car purchase are counted as only one “hit” to your credit score. After you’ve talked to your credit union about a loan, you still have two weeks to check out Vroom’s financing offer. Vroom works with more than a dozen lenders including Chase, Ally and Captial One.
Once you’ve decided on a payment method, you’ll be able to upload documents including your driver’s license and proof of insurance. A refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold your vehicle for 24 hours as you finish up the paperwork.
After you’ve completed the purchase, you’ll be able to plan for delivery. According to the website, vehicles typically arrive within 10-14 days of purchase. Vehicles also arrive with temporary tags so that you can drive it right away.
“If you buy from Carvana, CarMax or Vroom, you should have the vehicle checked out by a mechanic of your choosing during the period of time that you have the right to return the vehicle for a full refund,” says Clark.
After your vehicle arrives, you’ll have a full week or 250 miles to test it out. If it doesn’t meet your expectations, you can return it for a refund.
How Does Vroom’s Pricing Compare?
To see how the prices at Vroom hold up against the competition, I compared three vehicles of different makes and models. Of course, these are not the exact same vehicles, so I’ve noted the mileage for each one below.
|Vroom Price (mileage)||Carvana Price (mileage)||CarMax Price (mileage)|
|2016 Toyota Camry LE||$17,499 (59K)||$18,990 (68K)||$19,998 (58K)|
|2018 Chevrolet Equinox LS||$22,499 (31K)||$22,990 (29K)||$23,998 (32K)|
|2019 Honda Civic EX||$23,999 (18K)||$26,990 (19K)||$26,998 (19K)|
As you can see, the prices are pretty consistent across the board. Vroom offered a great deal on a Toyota Camry and an average price on the Chevrolet Equinox. With the Honda Civic, Vroom’s price is lower and the car I checked out had fewer miles as well.
Overall, Vroom’s pricing seems pretty average compared to other popular online dealerships. I didn’t see any prices that were outrageously high or unbelievably low. Still, it always pays to comparison shop, especially with a major purchase like this.
Selling a Car Through Vroom
If you’re interested in selling or trading in your current car, Vroom may buy it from you. To begin, click on the “Sell/Trade” tab on the website.
You’ll need to provide your license plate number or VIN first. You’ll also need to know the vehicle’s trim, exact mileage, condition and history. Once you’ve answered these questions about your vehicle, Vroom will give you an instant price that’s good for seven days or 250 miles, whichever comes first.
Once you’ve got a quote from Vroom, be sure to get a quote from a few different online dealerships as well.
“It’s always a good idea to shop with all of them (Carvana, CarMax and Vroom) because it gives you a real baseline on your car,” says Clark. “When you get the seven-day price from any of the dot-coms, you’ve got a real marker.”
If you do find the best deal at Vroom, the company will send someone to pick your vehicle up for free if you live in the lower 48 states. Once Vroom has your car, the company will send your payment. If you’re trading your vehicle in, you’ll be able to apply the value of your trade-in to your purchase or down payment.
Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons
Whether you’re shopping for a used car or selling your own, Vroom may be an online dealership worth checking out. Even if you don’t buy from Vroom or sell your car to Vroom, you should consider visiting the website while comparison shopping.
“They are so buried in the shadow of Carvana. But if you find a deal on Vroom, they have very customer-friendly policies, and I think that’s great,” says Clark.
Unfortunately, Team Clark’s Consumer Action Center has received a couple of complaints about Vroom, and the company’s online reviews have started to take a hit.
In fact, when I checked in November 2021, Vroom’s Better Business Bureau accreditation had been revoked, leaving the company with an “F” ranking and 1.16 out of 5 stars from customer reviews.
Similarly, the company’s Trustpilot ranking has dropped to “Bad” with over 90% below-average customer reviews.
For these reasons, use caution when buying from or selling to Vroom. Get everything in writing and stay in contact with company representatives throughout the entire process.
After checking out Vroom myself, here are a few of the major pros and cons that I found:
|You have a full week or 250 miles to test drive a car after you buy it, and you can return it for a full refund in that time frame.||The prices may be slightly higher than a private sale, plus you’ll have to pay a $699 shipping fee.|
|If you sell your car to Vroom, they’ll pick it up for free.||You can’t test drive a car before you purchase it.|
|Everything can be done online, and your car will be delivered to/picked up from your door.||When selling, Vroom’s offer may be less than what you could get in a private sale.|
Have you bought or sold a car with Vroom? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!