How we got our first car on Ebay.

New Driver, $$$ Insurance

Despite having driven for almost 7 years in my home country, my husband and I were considered brand new drivers when we first moved here. Coupled with our non-existent credit (I supposed bad credit would have been worse!), the car insurance rate quotes we got were astronomical.

At first, we thought we would just do without a car. After all, with living on the fringes of New York city, we could get around by public transport.

Long Commute, 2 hours each way.

After settling down for a bit, my husband got a job in a nearby suburb. To get to work without a car would entail a 10 minute walk to the bus stop, a 5 minute bus ride to the subway station, a 15 minute commute in the subway, before another 15 minute bus ride to his new workplace. If all the stars align, he could get to work within the hour, but more often than not, the commute would take close to 2 hours each way.

As such, after we got our first month’s paycheck, it was time to check out options:

  • we could purchase a brand new car (had enough for downpayment), but without any credit nor co-signor, we are looking at a high interest rate (5-7%) plus high insurance costs for full liability insurance. Also, if you have experienced first-hand how people drive and park in New York city, having a brand new car seems to be a big liability in terms of getting dents and dings on it.
  • used cars at car dealerships: after an entire weekend of walking around Queens, Bronx and Brooklyn car dealerships, I was quite done with car shopping! Name every sleazy used car salesman move you can think of, and I think we encountered everyone of them that weekend – bait and switch, undisclosed damage, undisclosed ‘fees’. Needless to say, we were spent by the end of our second day car shopping, and we are still without a car!

Buying a car on Ebay.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but Internet purchasing was definitely not a big thing where I grew up. After our frustrating car buying weekend, we decided to check out some options on ebay. I did review the warranties provided by Ebay as well as our (prepaid) credit card. We placed a bid for our Volkswagen Convertible and won the auction with a final bid of 3650 – and we paid that in cash (when we picked the vehicle up)! 10 days later, we hopped onto the train to New Jersey to pick-up the new-to-us car. Since it was a car listed by a dealer, it came with the Ebay warranty as well as a full inspection report. Also, since it was a used car which didn’t cost a lot, we only purchased liability insurance (which still cost us more than our current full coverage on 2 new-ish vehicles), but it was 1/4 of what full coverage would have been.

Our Ebay car lasted us 5+ years, it was not until I was an attending physician, after our 2nd child was born, that we upgraded and finally sold the car off for cheap.

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