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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25 Customer Reviews for Carvana

Average Customer Rating: 2.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 4 4 stars: 1 3 stars: 1 2 stars: 5 1 stars: 14
Bottom Line: 20% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 25
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  • 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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  • 4 out 6 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 11, 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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  • 5 out 7 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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  • 4 out 5 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 20, 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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  • 6 out 6 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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  • 7 out 7 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 19, 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.

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Terrible Experience

    I really wanted Carvana to work out, because the shopping and buying experience is clearly superior.

    However, they are clearly failing to adhere to their 150 point inspections on vehicles. I ordered one car, and was later informed they couldn't deliver on time because they would need to replace the climate control system. I swapped out for another car, and they then AGAIN informed me they would need to push the delivery back by 2 weeks so they could replace brake pads and rear tires. This is completely absurd.

    At this point, I really don't have any faith in Carvana's capabilities as a dealer.

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

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    • Sep 30, 2016

      Teresa Aragon, Director of Customer Advocates

      Hello Brandon,

      Thank you for providing your feedback regarding your experience with Carvana. We do sincerely apologize for all the inconsistencies and inconveniences you had to endure during your purchase process. It is unacceptable for any of our customers to have to go through these hassles during the Carvana buying experience. As you mentioned the vehicle was delayed due to a failed pre-delivery inspection. We do put all of our vehicle’s through a final 150-point inspection before delivery to make sure every vehicle is in the best condition possible prior to delivering them to our customers. Unfortunately, an issue was identified with your vehicle and needed repairs causing a delay in your delivery. We are truly sorry that we did not maintain better communication about the repairs and delays. Additionally, you had to deal with another failed pre-delivery inspection on a different vehicle. Both of these issues should have been identified prior to the sale of the vehicle. We are working to better improve our processes so that this does not continue to happen. Thank you again for taking the time to provide us your feedback about your experience. Please let our Customer Advocate team know if there is anything else we can do for you at 800-333-4554.

      Thank you,

      The Carvana Team

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  • 1 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Not for people with blemishes on credit.

    • Houston, TX,
    • Sep 23, 2016

    I'm going through some life changes and just started a new job, however, I still needed a vehicle. All I can say is the down payments are horrendous. For a 14900 car, u need a 6500 down payment. This a company that caters to higher credit scores. I'm sure they're a great fit for those that have pretty great credit but for the ones like me it's not for us. Will deal with the local dealerships that seem to be a little more flexible with the down payments.

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

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  • 13 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Too good to be true

    I will give you a detailed post from my personal experience with Carvana. I called Carvana about a 2013 Chevy Silverado that they had for sale. I saw on CarFax that it had came from New York. Red flag right there. The first thing I asked is if this truck had rust. They told me no over the phone and assured me they only purchase outstanding vehicles for their inventory. I saw some very minor scratches from their report also which was fine. So, the truck was supposed to be delivered to my house 3 weeks later. 2 weeks I receive a call saying they found a rust spot in the bed (red flag number 2) and said they were 'meticulously repairing it'. So, it was another week late.

    Eventually, the truck arrives at my house and the first thing that catches my eye is the rust on the frame. I lift the hood and see nothing but rust on the engine. I told them to take it back and was angry that they wasted my time since the first thing I did was ask a out rust. I threatened to ream them with bad review and instead the person who dropped it off promised me they would scrounge the market to find me a replacement truck. That they would either give me a rental until they find a truck or they will pay me $50.00 a day until they find me a truck. That person lied to me and could not back up their promise.

    After going through three levels of management they said they would check their inventory and get back to me. They found a more expensive truck ($5,000 more) and they only offered me a $250 discount. Their salesmen are extremely nice but this company has major issues and I would not recommend them to anyone looking for a new car.

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

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  • 5 out 7 people found this review helpful

    #Neverdealership

    I have been waiting to replace my Civic forever, and with a growing family it was time. I saw a Carvana commercial on TV, and imagined a picture in my mind of what an Amazon for cars would be. Then I went to Carvana's website, and I experienced it first hand. Ridiculously good price, great customer service at every step, then delivery to my door. I had 7 days to return, but didn't need to, I was a happy customer!

    No idea what the other reviewers experienced, but I browsed the 2500+ reviews on Carvana's website and other places and it's quite different from here, so I wanted to share my great experience. Thanks Carvana!

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

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  • 15 out 21 people found this review helpful

    Either you get it or you don't.

    I too was excited by how "easy" the Carvana process seemed. The cars seemed lower, not sitting in the dealership, knowing outright what the terms were awesome! But no, they will ask you for piece of paper work after piece of paper work. Photo copies are a no-go, you have to take PICTURES of things they need and then they will want to call your bank with your info and your social to verify your down payment which is odd.

    A pay stub request will turn in to a bank statement request and then multiple bank statements. If you don't have your actual social security card, order it before you start. AND if your Drivers License expires within 2 months, you have to renew it first. You will receive multiple emails from multiple people saying different things and your terms will probably change. Do yourself a favor, YES, dealerships suck but you leave with your car, and you have somewhere to go if something goes wrong. You are either approved immediately or you will get the run around. Once they ask you for the first document, just run.

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

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