Wassup With EBay Motors?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
wassup with ebay motors

eBay Motors is a great site. Although our resident sharp end guy Steven Lang has, uh, moved on, he still reckons there's no better gauge of a car's worth than the completed items section. And these guys are serious about providing a safe place to buy and sell an automobile over the internet– an inherently dicey proposition. As Automotive News [sub] reports, eBay has 2k– count 'em two thousand– staffers who "handle complaints and investigate sham auctions and dishonest sellers." OK, now, in February, eBay announced they were going to list GM's Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles (CPO) on the site. All sorts of alarm bells went off. Knowing GM as we do, it seemed obvious that eBay would make it difficult (if not impossible) for consumers to cross-shop the price of these CPO-mobiles against the same cars sold independently. To its discredit, eBay still refuses to provide details of the agreement. In fact, eBay now says they're talking to "other automakers" about replicating the deal. We call on eBay to disclose enough information about this arrangement to reassure its base– the hundreds of thousands of people who buy cars via the service– that eBay's not going to sell the end users down the proverbial river by firewalling CPO and non-CPO vehicle sales.

Join the conversation
4 of 20 comments
  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on May 07, 2008

    I thought I'd mention this here. There is an online tool called Craig's Helper that allows you to easily search across Craiglist regional servers for an item. I found it handy when I was shopping all over California for my Volvo. Also handy for casting a wider net for hard-to-find items. Anyhow... great when looking for a used car.

  • Blautens Blautens on May 07, 2008

    I can't imagine shopping on eBay for a "normal" car. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful it exists for the niche car market (where else can an LA resident shop for my Palm Beach car so easily?), and the escrow and shipping help. But if I'm looking for a daily driver...eBay? Nope...

  • Netrun Netrun on May 07, 2008

    eBay for car sellers has always been an expensive and altogether below-average experience. Myself and a few friends have tried to sell cars on eBay (common vehicles) and had no luck. Most of the time the car gets bid up to 2/3 of it's street value and then ends. Later you get tons of emails asking if you'd part with it for the last bid price + $500. No thanks. And searching for cars on eBay ended a long time ago for me. Too many "featured" cars that are way overpriced and too little info to make me feel comfortable enough to put in a bid. Speaking of sites that have gone downhill, Autotrader recently did an "improvement" to their site that has just ruined it. Now they have no car info, no technical info, just a little two-line blurb from the seller and that's it. Totally useless. I used to surf Autotrader every day. Since they changed their format I haven't been back. Craigslist has become the best way to find deals. Jaxed.com also has a parts search engine for all of craigslists accross NA.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on May 07, 2008

    I have sold one vehicle ('49 Chevy p/u) and bought one vehicle ('97 VW Cabrio) via eBay Motors. I have also bought and sold another 40+ items. All in all eBay has served it's purpose for me but it is no longer the only tool in the shed so they are going to feel the pinch. I like Craigslist but there is not a board for my small town. We do have a regional board called GoLSN.com that everyone I know frequents. With that website I sold a bunch of little stuff in 24 hours without a problem. I find the whole eBay business model to be too detached. I mean when I put a Ford 289 V-8 on auction last week and the buyer never responded there is not an operator to call and complain to and filing an electronic compliant is not allowed for 7 days even though my auction requires some sort of communication within 48 hours. If the auctions were free I would not care but by using the auction site fees are charged and a real live person to talk to to resolve a problem would be nice. I realize of course that with the number of auctions passing through their servers their staff would be huge. I don't know what I'm trying to say here except that I have used them many times and some were large transactions but the thrill has worn off. I'm likely to use them again but also keep my eyes open for another option. As for buying cars from eBay (non-collector cars) - I'm more inclinded to use a super-dealer like CarMax where I can go and SEE and DRIVE the car I want and I'll be happier with used car pricing.