Tip: If you’re buying the car from an individual who doesn’t have a history report, check the vehicle’s history yourself. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. Watch before you bid. Buyers can receive up to $100,000 or the value of the car (whichever is lower) if deemed a victim of fraud. A buyer offering to buy your car without looking at it … Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. Catch the auctioneer’s eye early in the process so he or she knows you’re going to be a bidder. Many use a “stoplight” system, both online and at the auction itself: Inspect and verify. When carefully analyzed, this is one way you can make a better decision about going forward with a transaction. It's set up so that you can either find the right car or let the right car find you. In the heat of the moment, you could fall victim to “the red mist” syndrome where the excitement clouds your judgment, says Riena. Every user on eBay has an overall feedback percentage that's calculated from positive, neutral, and negative feedback as a seller and as a buyer. Assess the risk. Once you feel confident in your decision, negotiate with the seller to score the best deal. Preferably, bring a car-savvy friend or even a mechanic with you. And since most sellers on those platforms require will require you to pay in cash — some might even try to convince you into shady payment methods or reloadable debit cards —  your hard-earned money could be put in jeopardy. Subscribe to our newsletter. Bring a friend. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. But as its popularity has increased, so have the risks, with more and more people trying to scam you out of your money or steal your card details. Every car purchase on eBay Motors comes with Vehicle Purchase Protection, which covers certain losses associated with fraud. Search for “open” or “public” auctions that don’t require a dealer’s license. Obviously, a 100% feedback rating (or a number very close to it) should be the first thing you should look for, but there are many other factors. Read more, Get free quotes from top auto insurance companies. After you find a good local auction, go several times just to watch the action before trying to buy a car. Being prepared can help you be a better negotiator. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. Bring a friend with you who knows a lot about cars if you aren’t sure what to look for.