About Carvana

Founded in January 2013 by Ernie Garcia, Carvana can help you locate, finance, and purchase a high quality, late model car or truck, without the negotiation or high-pressure sales tactics found at dealerships. On top of this, Carvana claims to help their customers save an average of $1,681 when compared to Kelley Blue Book prices.

Carvana claims to never sell vehicles that have been in an accident (more about this in a moment), while offering delivery to your door or the location of your choice. And once you’ve received your car, you’ll have 7 days to drive it and figure out if it’s the right vehicle for you.

Overall, Carvana claims to out the consumer back in control of the buying process, without any smoke and mirrors.

But is this really what Carvana offers? If so, are they the right car buying option for you? Before we get to that, let’s learn how to browse the Carvana website for your next vehicle.

Searching for a Vehicle On Carvana

After clicking on the Find My Car button, the Carvana website will automatically detect your zip code, which will be displayed at the top of the page. There, you’ll also see the number of cars found, which can be sorted by most popular, newest inventory, highest or lowest price, and more.

Finally, you’ll be able to narrow the results by make (up to 5), year, price, mileage, payment, and more.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, each listing will display an image of the car, the year, make and model, its price, the Kelley Blue Book value, and your overall savings. If you click on one of these options, you’ll be taken to the vehicle’s home page, where you’ll find a 360 degree tour, interior and exterior pictures, and Edmund’s consumer ratings.

Finally, you’ll be able to estimate your monthly payment, including down payment and trade in credits. And if you want to return to your choice later, you can create a Carvana account and save the vehicle in your “garage.”

Has Your Carvana Vehicle Ever Been in an Accident?

Based on what we found on the Carvana website, there wasn’t much detail provided about how they determine whether or not a vehicle has been in an accident, so we contacted customer service to learn more.

After waiting on hold only seconds, a very friendly service rep answered our call, who let us know that Carvana sticks to a 3-part process when verifying a vehicle’s accident status:

  1. First, the person who’s selling their vehicle to Carvana will be asked to disclose whether or not it’s been in an accident.
  2. Then, Carvana will pull an Experian auto check report (as well as a Carfax report, if requested).
  3. Finally, each vehicle goes through a 150-point inspection that “includes everything from tread depth of tires to thickness of brake pads to exterior paint quality to Bluetooth compatibility.”

Clearly, anyone can tell a fib during the first part, so you might reasonably believe that their lie will be uncovered at some point during parts 2 and 3. Is this the reality, though?

Are Vehicle Accident Reports Accurate?

Every time I’ve purchased a new car and the dealer waived the Carfax report in front of me, I’ve always wondered, “How accurate are these?” As it turns out, they can be hit or miss.

Consumer Reports put this to the test back in 2012, when they ran vehicle VINs (each of which was known to have been damaged) through 5 different services, including Carfax, AutoCheck, VINCheck, and “two services providing information from the federal government's National Motor Vehicle Title Information Systems database (www.nmvtis.gov).”

While most of the vehicles with minor damage were reported correctly, Consumer Reports ultimately found “that the reports were most likely to be incorrect for vehicles that had serious damage but for various reasons were not declared a total loss.”

But even if the vehicle pulls a clean accident report, any attempt to fix damage will be caught in the third step, right?

Carvana’s Accident Threshold

Here’s where a bit of a gray area enters the picture.

During our conversation with the Carvana rep, we asked: “If vehicles show any signs of aftermarket paint, or bolts or screws showing signs of removal, does this automatically disqualify the vehicle?” According to the rep, it depends.

If either of these signals are present, the company will attempt to re-verify, usually by reaching out to the owner, if it’s been in an accident (or at least why the vehicle was repainted or otherwise worked on). If the owner insists that it wasn’t in an accident, the company will then attempt to discern whether or not the work was completed as the result of a collision, or something else altogether.

Finally, if it’s decided that the work wasn’t the result of a collision, and that the vehicle works perfectly, it will go on sale on the Carvana website.

Now that we’ve covered this, let’s cover what Carvana’s customers are saying.

What Are Customers Saying about Carvana?

On Carvana’s website, customers have given the company an average rating of 4.9 stars. In fact, Carvana prominently displays a link for their worst customer reviews, which we found unusual but refreshing. And when they failed, Carvana seemed to be fully upfront about their shortcomings, and tried to make things right.

Outside of this, despite the fact that the company had been in business almost 2 years, there weren’t many Carvana reviews elsewhere online.

11 customers provided their feedback on Cars.com, where Carvana had an average rating of 3.5 stars. There, common compliments centered around ease of use, helpful customer service, and their 7-day return policy. On the other hand, some of the most common complaints referenced delivery delays and problems with vehicles.

On Yelp, Carvana had a 4.5-star average rating, with many of the same compliments noted above. In fact, the only negative review was from an individual who experienced repeated delays receiving registration paperwork, and who posted the same information on Cars.com.

From a company perspective, Carvana landed a spot on the Forbes 2015 list of America’s Most Promising Companies. They also had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with no closed complaints (as of 7/29/15).

Carvana Pricing & Refund Policy

While the price of their vehicles ranges greatly, until you actually purchase a car, the Carvana website is completely free to use.

To receive your vehicle, you have several options, depending on your location:

  • You can visit Carvana’s “car vending machine” for free, although this only applies to Atlanta-area residents.
  • If you’re within 100 miles of Carvana’s Atlanta, GA, Nashville, TN, Charlotte, NC, Birmingham, AL, and Dallas, TX hubs, delivery to your home is free.
  • If you’re between 100 and 250 miles from these locations, delivery is priced at $199.
  • Outside of this, third-party delivery is an option, the price for which will be displayed during the purchase process.

After your car’s been delivered, it will come with a 7-day “test own.” During this time, if you don’t like it for any reason, Carvana offers a no questions asked return policy, where you can swap it for another vehicle or get your cash back.

If you have questions or concerns at any point during the process, a Carvana Customer Advocate can be reached at (800) 333-4554.

Will Carvana Earn Your Business?

If you can get around the fact that you won’t be able to see your new vehicle (or test drive it) until the day it’s delivered, it seems like Carvana offers a simpler, less stressful, and less expensive way of purchasing a vehicle, compared to visiting a dealership. On top of this, they appear to have fantastic customer support who will happily answer any questions you might have.

And ultimately, if you’re not satisfied for any reason, you can always take advantage of Carvana’s 7-day return policy, which they appear to stand behind based on customer feedback.

However, it seems the way we buy cars is beginning to change, with similar companies entering the market, such as Beepi. As such, be sure to explore all your options and read as many reviews as you can (HighYa is a great place to start!) before making your decision.

More on Buying a Car:

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30 Customer Reviews for Carvana

Average Customer Rating: 2.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 4 4 stars: 1 3 stars: 2 2 stars: 6 1 stars: 17
Bottom Line: 20% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 30
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  • Overall, okay.

    Let me give a comprehensive review of what I went through.

    First of all, I would like to mention that the customer service throughout the entire process was very good.

    The first car I attempted to purchase was no good. There were issues with the spark plug coils or oxygen sensor. After bringing it to the dealership, Carvana waived any expenses, including a rental for two weeks. The car (2013 Jetta) did some pretty scary things on the highway (engine seizing).

    So, they came and got that and traded me for a 2014 Kia Forte. The car is awesome. Again, the customer service was excellent for the delivery, all the issues I went through and never having to take my card out of my pocket for any of the expenses from the previous vehicle. The gave good customer service over the phone, too.

    Some notes for my Kia; the interior/detailing of the vehicle was very lackluster. The car feels like it needs an alignment, so I got a tire rotation with my first oil change just to make sure that wasn't the only issue. But, yeah, I'll need an alignment or tire balance still.

    My only real issue with Carvana is that they claim that their vehicles are inspected and make it seem like you should have no real issues, but some minor things (a nice detailed clean, alignment, and tire balance) and major things (whatever ended up really happening with the Jetta) were overlooked.

    I think the concept, the customer service and the ease of business are great, but they can improve in the inspection and detailing department. By the way, I also found some old junk in the Jetta and a package for an e-cigarette in the Kia Forte. Just makes me wonder if they actually even cleaned it?

    I would probably still buy another car with them, though, because everything else was really impressive.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Don't do it if you live outside of Georgia!

    • Ohio,
    • Feb 11, 2017

    Everything was awesome; good car, good price, easy to use, and quick weekend delivery. I recommended Carvana to a lot of friends. Now I wish I hadn't.

    I bought the car in early November of 2016 and I STILL don't have my Ohio license plates four months later! When I call, they just keep blowing me off with "We've sent everything to our third party company," like that makes it okay. Now my bank is threatening to raise the rates on my loan because they still haven't received confirmation that they are the lien-holder from Ohio.

    At that point, I'll find an attorney, although I'm sure there's the usual "Binding Arbitration" clause in the contract. Bottom line, don't do it outside of their home-state of Georgia because they really don't have that part together yet, and it may cost you in the long run.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Horrible customer service meets broken salesman promises

    • Texas,
    • Feb 10, 2017

    So, I purchased a Mercedes GLK for $25,000 in which I paid $22,000 upfront. I was told by the drop off for LJ's that all repairs would be covered in the first 100 days. I was told a window was faulty that morning for no reason, so I should get the car inspected by the dealership, and everything would be handled free of charge. Also, they gave me one key that worked and another key that was for another vehicle.

    After getting the inspection, it turns out there were some issues under the hood totaling $1,500 in repairs. When I sent this to Carvana, they tried to run from paying for the repairs. They called the dealership and even tried to talk the mechanics out of their evaluation.

    During all of this, the customer service rep also tried to treat me like it was unreasonable for me to send in the repairs. Like I was a nuisance. Carvana is the worst.

    By the way, the customer service rep was Natasha Tomlinson, and she even attempted to lie about the correspondence she had sent to me, etc.

    Carvana is immature from its people on the top, and on down. If you're a professional, then you'll be dealing with people who aren't on your level if you buy a car from Carvana.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 14, 2017

      Teresa Aragon, Director of Customer Advocates

      Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback regarding your Carvana experience. We strive to provide our customers a hassle-free and stress-free experience from the beginning to end. We regret to hear that we fell short in this instance and that your experience was less than perfect. We are very sorry that your vehicle arrived with a faulty window and wrong key.

      While we are always willing to investigate issues occurring on a vehicle, we must do our due diligence. We will typically contact the mechanic or dealership to discuss the issues to ensure the items needing repairs are in fact failing, or needing immediate replacement, rather than just recommended maintenance. We sincerely apologize if this came off as us trying to avoid assisting with the repairs, as this is certainly never our intention. We are happy to report that we were able to assist in covering the cost of a sparkplug replacement, rim repair, front lower driving light replacement, and engine mount and transmission mount replacement.

      Additionally, we would like to apologize if anyone on our Customer Advocate Team came across as unwilling to help. Excellent customer service is a high priority of ours and we regret if that was not your experience. We hope you are now enjoying your Mercedes GLK and that everything else with the vehicle is up to your standards. We would love nothing more than to repair this relationship with you, so please contact us at 800-333-4554 if we can assist in any other way. Thank you for choosing Carvana.

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Didn't pay off bank loan

    Our vehicle was sold to Carvana and they did not submit the payoff to the bank until we got a notice in the mail nearly two months later that we were late on our car payment. Then, Carvana owed us an additional $400, and it took days to get that figured out. The customer service was very disappointing.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 13, 2017

      Teresa Aragon, Director of Customer Advocates

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback regarding your experience with selling your vehicle to Carvana. We are disappointed to hear that we did not send the payoff out to your lien holder in a timely manner. This was a clear oversight on our end and we would like to sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and frustrations this caused. We are glad that we have since been able to resolve this matter. We would love the chance to repair this relationship, so we hope that you consider Carvana for your future car buying endeavors!

      Best,

      The Carvana Team

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  • 8 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Horrific

    • Georgia,
    • Jan 29, 2017

    I regret my decision to purchase a car with Caravan.

    It was purchased on December 2, 2016, and I followed up on January 3, 2017, when I did not receive my plates in the mail at that point. They assured me there was a small typo in the VIN and advised me to apply for an extension at the DMV within in the next two weeks.

    After a week and a half, I went to the DMV and attempted to apply for this but was told the dealer still hadn't even submitted any registration documents at all! When I called the dealer, they apologized and said they would overnight the required documents, and that they were "waiting for a check from another department." I have been told this same excuse several times now.

    I was assured the registration would be delivered after Martin Luther King Day when the temporary plates expired. Sadly, when I returned to the DMV to re-apply for the extension, they told me my temporary plate belonged to a completely different car (2013 Ford)!

    My temporary tag has now expired. I have requested to speak to a manager several different times with no response from any manager at this point. The employees I do talk to seem confused. I have filed two complaints with different bureaus of the state. Georgia is very particular about car registrations since they receive a proportionally large amount of revenue from this.

    In summary, I am terrified to drive because I cannot legally drive the car that I purchased from Carvana. I have to walk or take public transportation to get around. It is extremely disappointing.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 14, 2017

      Teresa Aragon, Director of Customer Advocates

      Thank you for your valuable feedback. We take our customer’s complaints very seriously and would like to express our sincere apologies that the title issues have taken so long to resolve. We understand your frustration and disappointment with the amount of time it has taken to get the vehicle properly registered. We strive to complete each step of the process in a timely and thorough manner, and it is clear we failed to meet your expectations and ours. We have made changes to our internal processes as a result of your negative experience, including improved communication with the Division of Motor Vehicles.

      The registration process took longer than usual because we received the incorrect information from the auction. As a result, we were unable to submit the information to our third party processor (Reg USA) to complete your registration. That said, we own this mistake, and we understand this should have been taken care of prior to the sale. We cannot apologize enough for the fact that you had to take public transportation because your temporary operating plate expired. We hold our customer’s experience to a high regard and will use this as a learning opportunity to improve our processes and increase customer satisfaction in all facets of the company. As a good faith gesture, we will be compensating you for the disappointment and inconvenience you encountered due to the delay with your registration.

      Our reputation of providing positive experiences and quality vehicles is essential to who we are as an online dealership. We regret that your experience with us was negatively affected due to title and registration delays. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-333-4554.

      Sincerely,

      The Carvana Team

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  • 7 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Service certainly not what they say it is.

    I had a number of problems with Carvana, trying to make a purchase.

    First, I reserved a vehicle that was in the process of being loaded into their system with the promise that the photos of the vehicle would be online in three days. Almost a week later, it still said the photos would be available in three days. I canceled that reservation and resumed my search.

    I found a vehicle that was available for pickup on January 2, which was later than convenient for me but was workable. I went through their purchase with multiple delays (it would have been quicker in a stand alone dealer than these folks took), and finally thought I had everything resolved. Then I was told that the earliest pickup date would be January 3rd. I canceled the order because I have to be out of town on that date, and they reported no way to accommodate my request.

    This seemed like a simple transaction, I was trading a car and placing a down payment of $10,000 with only a very small financed amount. The thing to remember with Carvana is that despite their ads on the simplicity of their product delivery, it will take you as long or more than it will at the neighborhood dealer. I wouldn't recommend these guys to anyone.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 8, 2017

      Teresa Aragon, Director of Customer Advocates

      Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback regarding your Carvana experience. We are so sorry to hear that your purchase process was less than perfect. At Carvana we strive for a seamless experience, and this was clearly not the case in your situation. Our On Demand vehicles are available to reserve with an estimated timeline of when the vehicle will be fully ready and the 360-degree tour will be available to view on the site. We would like to apologize that the estimated timeline took longer than anticipated. We are glad you were able to receive your vehicle, but we are sorry that it was at a later date than what you were initially hoping for. We hope you are now enjoying your vehicle and please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you. Thank you for choosing Carvana!

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  • 11 out 14 people found this review helpful

    Awful Experience

    • Delaware,
    • Jan 2, 2017

    I purchased a white 2014 Honda CR-V through Carvana on 11/28/16, and had an awful experience throughout the process. When I made the purchase there was an issue with my paperwork. Not one person from Carvana contacted me to correct the error.

    After three-four days of no word on the purchase process, I called Carvana. Once that error was corrected, I was told it would take two weeks to receive my car. I was incredibly disappointed, as the website stated I would receive my car in 7 days.

    On 12/11/16 I received a call and a series of texts from the delivery driver stating that my car would arrive on 12/12/16 at 6:00am. Around two hours after the scheduled delivery time, the truck arrived at the agreed upon location. The delivery truck had three cars, none of which were the car I purchased.

    He told me that Carvana didn't give him the right car, and he didn't double check the paperwork. I then called Carvana to explain the delivery issue. I spoke with three different people to try to correct the error. I was put on hold for 20 minutes before I hung up. I called back asking to speak with someone else, and was told to call back later. Brittnee Penson, a supervisor, then called me back and told me that I “sound like [I’m] done with this” and wanted to know what it was I wanted her to do.

    I have never been treated so rudely by a company. Eventually Teresa Aragon contacted me to correct the error. She asked me to give Carvana another chance by taking some of the delivery fees off of the final price. I agree, and my car is delivered two days later, which of course made me wonder why I had to wait 2 weeks the first time around. After signing for the car, the delivery driver tells me they had to jump the battery to get it onto the truck. I asked him if there was something I was supposed to do to make sure the battery wouldn't die again and he told me no, it seemed to be running fine. I agreed to meet the delivery drivers in a parking lot within a 5 minute walking distance to my house. So, I drove the car to my house, went inside to get my fiancé to show him the car, and the battery died again. We immediately called the delivery guys to come jump the car, because we do not have jumper cables. He says he is about 10 minutes down the road, that it's not his problem our car won't start, and that he will not turn around to jump the car.

    I then called Carvana back to explain the situation and they offered to pay for a replacement battery and to tow my car to get the replacement battery installed. The car was dirty inside and out, even though I was promised they would go over the car with a fine tooth comb. I would absolutely never recommend this company to anyone. A word of advice, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Jan 10, 2017

      Teresa Aragon, Director of Customer Advocates

      Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your review about your Carvana experience. We are truly disappointed that your overall experience has been less than perfect.

      We are so sorry that the wrong vehicle was initially delivered to you.

      Additionally, we would like to apologize if our quality of customer service did not live up to our exceptional expectations. We strive for a seamless process throughout your purchase and we regret that we fell short in several areas.

      While we know monetary compensation cannot make up for the past, we would like to offer you a $100 check to help cover the cost of a detail for your vehicle.

      Again, we are very sorry that we were unable to deliver an outstanding Carvana experience for you, but we hope you are now enjoying your vehicle.

      Please reach out to our Customer Advocate team at 800-333-4554 if there is anything else we can do for you.

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  • 9 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Do not do business with!

    Complete scam. I shopped, they ran my credit, offered me terms, I accepted, they called me and congratulated me on my purchase, confirmed my delivery time and place, instructed me to get insurance.

    I signed all the contracts, started an insurance policy on the vehicle, and was eagerly awaiting delivery.

    Then boom, less than 24 hours prior to delivery they called and said oh yeah, we can't do this unless you give us another 7K down payment. Mind you this is after I've already signed all the contracts and received a call from them telling me everything was good to go. They are no different than any other, "bait and switch" used car lot. Do not waste your time on these dishonest unethical people.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Great deal on Black Friday

    So far my experience has been great. Bought a car on Cyber Monday for $1k off an already low price. Car was delivered to my house (for free) and 20 minutes early by a nice delivery driver Matt. He gave me a $25 gift card.

    The car I found was exactly what I was looking for. Great deal.

    But judging from other reviews, Carvana is bad because they won't just give you a car for free if you have crappy credit. Those reviewers have no idea how the world works (and hence their bad credit I assume).

    For the rest of the world with enough credit to buy a used car, Carvana is a potentially disruptive force in an industry that needs some disruption.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Dec 19, 2016

      Teresa Aragon, Director of Customer Advocates

      Thank you so much for your wonderful review! As a growing company, your feedback is greatly appreciated and very important to us. We are so pleased that you enjoyed the Black Friday deal. We aim to provide a stress-free car buying experience, and we are so glad to hear that we exceeded your expectations. If you have any additional feedback that you would like to provide, please feel free to give our Customer Advocates a call at 800-333-4554. Welcome to the higher state of car buying!

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Very good for bad credit

    • Orlando,
    • Oct 14, 2016

    I felt I had to write a review because some of the information I read was incorrect. When I purchased my car, my credit was below 550. My down payment option were (based on the cars I saw), $1500 for cars $20,000 and under, and $2000 for cars from $20,000-$29,000. I saw a Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014, for $2000 down because it was above the $20k threshold. So the person who posted that he was over 6K for a 14K car must have had very low income. That is another factor they look at. Think about it, if your income is below 50k a year (less than 33 after taxes, of course, the company will have you pay 6k for a down payment. However, low credit score would put you at around 1500 for a 20k and under vehicle, with at least 50k income.

    I am beyond happy with my purchase. 2014 GMC Terrain SLE-2. I got it for under 20, so only $1500 down payment. The process was smoother than going to some of the dealerships that I've been to. To the person who wrote about the delay, I would be upset too but I would not want a vehicle that does not pass the 150 point inspection.

    I recommend everyone in my situation to buy from Carvana. I am a real customer and not associated with Carvana.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Buy a car online... over the phone.

    • Boston, MA,
    • Oct 11, 2016

    Carvana lets you choose and buy a car online and have it available for pickup or delivered to your door. After choosing a car and completing the forms, the online process stops and every step after takes place over the phone. You will have to conference call the bank to confirm funding, phone calls for the delivery and phone calls for any mistakes made on their end.

    All the forms are post-dated, so that can slow down state registration after you take delivery. For example, my bill of sale was post-dated by 6 days after the funds were withdrawn from my account. I was erroneously billed MA sales tax and had to be refunded. There was no tracking or email updates so I had to call back repeatedly to check the status of that payment.

    After taking delivery of my car I was repeatedly called by Carvana and delivery people for a car I didn't buy, they mixed up my number with another client. The car itself is great and was what I was looking for, but expect a few headaches during the process.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Oct 18, 2016

      Teresa Aragon, Director of Customer Advocates

      Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback about your Carvana experience. We take these reviews very seriously to ensure similar situations will not happen in the future. We truly apologize that your experience was less than perfect. We strive for a stress-free experience and we regret that in this instance we fell short. To protect our customers, we do take extra security measures when handling sensitive information regarding financing and identity. Transparency and communication are values we try our best to uphold and it is unfortunate that we could not in this instance. Our Customer Advocate team should have kept the line of communication more open and been the ones to be reaching out first. We are sorry for the inconvenience we caused and if there is anything we can do to turn this experience around for you please let our Customer Advocate team know at 800-333-4554.

    • Dec 3, 2016

      Beaton Ttbs

      Wonderful experience! I got everything they quoted and approved. It was an incredibly easy process, which I love. It was done over the phone and the internet until it was time to pick up from the vendor. I almost thought they would forget something since it went so fast.

      I am happy with my 2012 Mercedes, and I haven't had any problems. My credit wasn't top notch, but they approved me with a reasonable rate and very good monthly payments.

      Customer service was always responsive and helpful with answers over the phone. Overall, I love my car and highly recommend Carvana, they make the car buying process effortless and comfortable.

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