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Carvana Reviews - How It Works, Warranty, Financing, Returns

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Carvana

Overall Rating

2.2

526 Customer Reviews

Summary

Carvana’s all-online used-car purchasing process allows you to choose a car online, get financing and have the car delivered directly to your home.

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Our Full Review

By Zina Kumok

Updated on: Feb 11, 2020

What Is Carvana?

Carvana is one of those ideas that sounds truly futuristic. If the writers of Back to the Future wanted to show Marty McFly buying a car in 2020, they probably would have cooked up something like this.

But like early touch screen devices that barely worked and cheap Bluetooth speakers that never seem to connect, “futuristic” doesn’t always mean “better.” So how exactly does Carvana work, and how does it stack up against the traditional car-buying process?

How It Works

The idea behind Carvana is relatively simple: you see a car, buy it, and receive it. Customers scroll through a selection of vehicles on a phone, choose the one they want, pay for it and choose a pickup option. They can either opt for home delivery or go to one of Carvana’s giant “vending machines”.

The main difference between Carvana and the traditional car-buying process is that you don’t have to go to a dealership and spend hours talking to a salesperson. There’s no negotiating, and most of the important steps happen online.

HighYa staff member J.R. Duren recently used Carvana to buy a car. He said Carvana had reasonable prices, and it was a much easier transaction than going to a dealership.

Car Selection

Like other major car-buying sites, Carvana has a wide selection ranging from the classic Toyota Camry to the impressive Tesla Model X. One significant difference between a car dealership and Carvana is that the latter doesn’t stock new cars. There are many lightly-used vehicles with a few hundred miles or so, but you can’t find a brand new car with only a handful of test-driving miles.

Carvana has gas, hybrid and electric models. Their search system includes filters such as total price, monthly payment, year, mileage, body type, engine and drivetrain.

Additional filters include features like:

  • Rear view camera
  • Blind spot sensors
  • Park assist
  • Keyless ignition
  • Leather interior

When you search for a car, Carvana will ask for your location. Some cars won’t be available near you and will have to be delivered. There may be a delivery fee associated with this. Some cars are available at a vending machine, so you can drive to pick it up without paying a delivery fee.

Because consumers have to pick a car without looking at it in person, Carvana offers a 360-degree view of both the car’s exterior and interior, as well as photos of imperfections such as scratches and dings. Every car that the company sells is accident-free and has gone through a 150-point inspection.

Cost and Financing

Carvana has its own financing department, so you can buy a car and get an auto loan at the same time. Potential customers can pre-qualify to see their interest rate before looking for a vehicle. This only counts as a soft inquiry on a credit report and won’t damage their credit score.

To pre-qualify, Carvana will ask for your name, date of birth, address and annual income. Then you’ll have to provide an email address and password to create an account. By signing up for an account, you agree to receive texts or phone calls from Carvana reps and their financing subsidiaries. Unlike traditional car dealerships, they don’t seem to be overly aggressive in reaching out.

You’ll get an email when the qualification terms are available, which can be found in your account settings under “Financing.” Terms will include the interest rate range, minimum down payment, and maximum loan term. There’s no basic range of interest rates on the Carvana website, so your best bet is to get pre-qualified.

Pre-qualifying may be useful as a baseline to compare to other banks, credit unions, and lenders. You can use the Carvana information to negotiate interest rates with other lenders.

Carvana has no credit score requirement for borrowers, but there is a minimum annual salary of $10,000. They claim to work with all types of credit scores, except for borrowers with bankruptcies on their records.

Carvana does not allow co-signers on auto loans that it initiates. If you use a third-party lender on a Carvana car, you may have a co-signer for that.

If you’re interested in buying a car and want to use outside financing, Carvana recommends that you already be pre-approved or fully approved before choosing a vehicle. They’ll ask for the lender’s information when you select a car, so you’ll need to know how much you were approved for.

What sets Carvana apart is the fixed price on every car. There’s no haggling or going back and forth with a shady salesman. This is a huge advantage for people who hate negotiating, but it’s a drawback for those who love the thrill of getting a good deal.

Trade-Ins

Like most car dealerships, Carvana accepts trade-ins and applies that value toward the final price. Even if you’re not buying a car, you can still sell your vehicle to Carvana.

First, you’ll input some basic information about the car and get a quote. Like their car-buying process, Carvana does not allow customers to negotiate the trade-in value. If they say your car is worth $2,000, you’ll only get $2,000.

To sell a trade-in, you must live within a local delivery zone. You can find a list of Carvana's locations here.

If you live outside of a local delivery zone, you won’t be eligible to trade your car in. Carvana outsources its long-distance deliveries to a third-party which is not authorized to pick up your vehicle, so all trade-ins must be local. Your only other option is to sell it on Craigslist or at a local dealership.

If you trade in your old car and change your mind about the vehicle purchased through Carvana, you can get the old one back within the seven-day return policy window.

If you have a current loan on a trade-in vehicle, you could run into trouble if the amount you’re getting from Carvana is less than the remaining balance. This is known as being underwater on your loan. You’ll have to pay off the remainder before trading the car in. Paying off your loan may be similar to what most dealerships would require.

Warranty

Carvana offers a complimentary warranty that’s good for 100 days or 4,189 miles, whichever comes first. This warranty includes roadside assistance and covers basic and powertrain parts. A small copay is due when opening a warranty claim.

The Carvana warranty is much lower than what you can find if you’re buying directly from a dealership, especially on a certified pre-owned vehicle. This is one of the major downsides to the service. Customers can purchase an extended warranty directly from Carvana, as well as gap insurance coverage.

Pick Up and Delivery

Carvana provides free delivery for customers who live in one of Carvana’s local markets, which are located in more than 25 states. Carvana is located all across the country from California to Massachusetts.

They’re also willing to meet in the middle if you live near one of their local markets, but you have to call them directly to arrange this service. It’s not clear from the website how far you would have to travel to pick up the car.

If you can’t meet them halfway, you can also choose to have the car delivered. The delivery fee varies, but is generally between $199 and $1,000 depending on where you live and where the car is coming from.

A third option is to buy a one-way plane ticket to a city with a Carvana vending machine, pick up the car and drive it back. Carvana will reimburse up to $200 for the flight and transport you from the airport to the vending machine. The reimbursement will be sent via check after the seven-day return policy window has closed.

Another major Carvana perk is that they take care of registering the car for you, as long as your state allows it. This can save the buyer a lot of time and hassle, especially if their local DMV branch is poorly-run.

Returning Your Vehicle

Carvana’s return policy allows customers to return a car within seven days. Any down payment will be refunded, but the delivery fee is always non-refundable.

Customers may drive up to 400 miles within the seven-day period, after which they’ll be charged $1 per mile. Carvana won’t accept a vehicle if it’s been modified, damaged, or changed in any way. Any accidents will also negate the return policy.

Shoppers can return the car and exchange it for another, which will also come with a seven-day return policy. Carvana allows customers to return a car up to three times, but the third vehicle will not come with a return policy.

The Bottom Line

Carvana’s appeal is simple: you can buy a car without talking to a salesperson. Anyone who doesn’t have hours to spend at the dealership or who feels uncomfortable talking to salesmen may prefer this remote car-buying experience.

It’s wise to get your own financing offers at a bank or credit union instead of blindly accepting Carvana’s terms. You never know what kind of interest rate a different lender may offer, and the difference could save you hundreds.

If you’re the type of person who loves negotiating and doesn’t mind spending hours shopping for a better price, you’re likely to get a lower price by looking at local dealerships and making them compete for your business.

Customer Reviews

2.2 Stars out of 526 Reviews
5 Star:20% 4 Star:3% 3 Star:6% 2 Star:11% 1 Star:57%
28% Recommend This Company
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Posted on May 7, 2021

Car has a battery drain issue.

By Frederick G., Indianapolis, IN, Verified Reviewer

My wife purchased a vehicle from Carvana on January 26, 2021 and it has been in the shop 5 times. The first time at the repair shop that they have a partnership to do repairs with, and the last four times at the dealership who also could not diagnose the problem. Contacted Carvana who relayed to my wife that if she returned the car it would be a significant loss refund-wise, and that she would have to come up with a substantial down payment to purchase another car. No thank you. I have reached out to the Attorney Generals' office here in Indiana, also I have contacted two local TV stations and their investigation fraud department. My wife bought the extended warranty, and the vehicle is garbage. I understand when buying a used vehicle, there are enormous risks that are undertaken, but not even wanting to negotiate some type of deal is plain greed.

I hope if whoever is reading this, if you are considering doing business with Carvana, buyer beware. Hope you have better luck than we did. We are stuck with a lemon, my wife works the night shift, so I am letting her use my car so we do not have to worry about her vehicle not starting. Three months and the vehicle has been in the shop four times. Awaiting to hear from the Indiana A.G. office and the local media. Good luck.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review

No interest in trying to solve our issue or no mitigation

Company Response from Carvana

May 12, 2021

Carvana prides itself on providing our customers an exceptional car-buying experience coupled with high-quality pre-owned vehicles. We know that many customers select to purchase from Carvana because of the convenience, and we want to be sure that convenience is lasting far past the 7-Day Money Back Guarantee, however, it seems like we missed the mark with your vehicle while completing our 150-point inspection. All of our vehicles come with a 100 day/4,189 mile warranty for an additional peace of mind, but we are very sorry for the frustration we have caused you. Carvana would be happy to look into this matter further, but unfortunately, we are unable to locate your account. Please reach out to us at (800) 333-4554, and we would be happy to assist.

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Apr 30, 2021

Go to a dealership, less headache

By Stewart A. , Suffield, CT

I bought a car from these guys, the delivery got delayed on Monday so I had to wait until Tuesday. Thought my seven-day trial was going to get extended until next Tuesday, but I was wrong. I got cut from the delayed delivery date, next my car had a check engine light the second day I was driving it. Called the warranty department and they told me to call the shop. Called the shop and they told me they didn’t have the tools I need to do the job. Called the dealership and they started taking me around, telling me they weren’t gonna cover it, so I ended up bringing the car to my mechanic shop. I’m getting it fixed on Wednesday the 28th. I got the car delivered on the 13th, I was also told I was going to get the seven-day trial extended from the day it was fixed, they went ahead and just did a little extension on it so it ran out on the 21st. So I’m driving around a car that I cannot return, that I thought I was gonna be able to return when I was able to fix it if I didn’t like the car, but now I’m stuck with it if it turns into a piece of crap. I’ve had this car for almost 2 weeks now and I’m having serious regrets.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Company Response from Carvana

May 5, 2021

Your feedback is incredibly valuable as Carvana is always looking to improve the customer experience. We know how excited our customers are to purchase a new vehicle, but when that vehicle is delayed it certainly hinders that experience. This is never our intent as we know how greatly our customers rely on their vehicles for their means of transportation and lifestyle. In terms of the mechanical concerns you mentioned, all of our vehicles go through two separate inspections- our initial 150-point inspection and a second pre-delivery inspection prior to the delivery of the car. All of our vehicles come with a 100 day/4,189 mile warranty for an additional peace of mind, but we are very sorry for the frustration we have caused you. We recommend getting in contact with Silverrock, our trusted warranty partner, to help resolve your concerns. You can always chat with us 24/7 if any questions arise. We appreciate the feedback you have provided us as we are always looking to improve the customer experience.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Apr 23, 2021

Selling car

By Cyndy H., South Carolina, Verified Reviewer

The most pleasant transaction! Thank you Carvana. I would recommend this to anyone who is in the market to sell a used car.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Trustworthy

Quick and clear communication

Professional and polite employees

No “cons” were specified in this review

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Apr 20, 2021

Sold my car

By Asusan M., Bristol, IN, Verified Reviewer

I sold my car with Carvana. They picked it up, with a wonderful young man Chris, out of Grand Rapids, it was fast, professional, and perfect!

I would recommend Carvana to anyone.

They gave me a great price for my car and didn’t push...buy one from us!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Efficiency and professionalism

Very helpful people when I had a question

Good price

No “cons” were specified in this review

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Apr 7, 2021

What a sham!

By Jeff N., St. Louis, MO, Verified Reviewer

Bought a $20k car 4 weeks ago for my wife for our anniversary. Following three failed delivery dates, still no car and anniversary has passed. They had one excuse after another with no answers on what the status of the car was. Said it had a bad headlight, but the supposed 150-point inspection shows the headlight was inspected and working. I have spent countless hours on the phone with them, to no avail. Plus a rental car for three weeks now, what a joke. Save yourself the headache and do not use Carvana! Worst customer service ever!

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

Company Response from Carvana

Apr 14, 2021

We appreciate you sharing your concerns and experience with us. Carvana strives to provide a streamlined and enjoyable car buying experience for each and every customer. We apologize that your experience has not followed our standards. Our teams work relentlessly to prevent delays in delivering your vehicle to you, as we know this can cause frustration, which is never our intention. We hold customer satisfaction to a high standard and if there is anything else that we can do for you, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (800) 333-4554.

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Apr 6, 2021

Buyer beware

By Nicolas B. , New Jersey

All well until they brought the wrong color car inside and out. They had the right color in the stock car but now they wanted almost $1500 more, same year but 5000m lower.

After I refused the car I could not get through to anybody until I initiated a purchase on the more expensive one. I asked them to give me that car for that same price because of their massive screw-up and all the trouble I went through with buying process insurance, etc., and the answer was, "we don't negotiate."

I asked to speak to a manager but none was available at the time but one called me some 24 hours later to give me the same answer. So buyer beware.

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

Company Response from Carvana

Apr 14, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to reach out regarding your recent Carvana experience. It is disheartening to hear that your vehicle was listed incorrectly on our website as our intent is to never mislead you. In order to be as transparent as possible, we list the original window sticker and provide a 360-degree tour of the vehicle. With every vehicle purchase, Carvana offers a 7-Day Money-Back Guarantee because we would never want a customer to keep a vehicle they do not love. We are very sorry for letting you down and appreciate any and all feedback. If you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to utilize our 24/7 chat service and we would be happy to assist.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Apr 5, 2021

Sold my car to Carvana

By Candra M., Minneapolis, MN, Verified Reviewer

I was skeptical at first but it was a very easy and quick process. I went online and requested a quote for the sale of my car (not trade-in). I was given a quote of almost $2k over KBB so I was happy. I owed a little more than the quote so I got a cashier's check for the difference. They scheduled the pick-up for 3 days out, they were on time, had the bill of sale paperwork all ready and loaded up the car. Exactly 7 days later I was notified by my auto loan company that the car had been paid in full. Super easy!

The one thing I did not like was that Carvana doesn’t make a note to your Carvana account to track the process. After they picked up my car, I didn't hear anything else from them by e-mail or phone. I found out the transfer was completed only from my car finance company. Overall a good experience with the sale. Would recommend!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Easy

On time

No follow up

No call or email saying payoff was sent to my bank or that the title was successfully transferred

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Mar 23, 2021

Dragging noise from rusted breaks on new car

By Caprese S., Dallas, TX, Verified Reviewer

I recently purchased a 2020 Kia Telluride with very low mileage. In less than ninety days of delivery, I start hearing a dragging noise underneath like something is hanging from the car on the ground as I drive. I turn the radio up to drown out the annoying sound. I take it for diagnostics and they confirm the breaks and rotors are rusted. Again, I just got the car. The car is still under the manufacture’s warranty and I paid for the extended warranty. Carvana is refusing to cover the cost of replacing the breaks because they said the rust does not affect the drivability of the car. The issue was escalated to management. The Kia repair service even sent pictures of all the rust and management declined to cover. I do not recommend using Carvana. This is poor customer service. Basically, they want me to drive around with a noisy car after paying thousands of dollars for it and an additional warranty. Never again will I purchase another vehicle from them.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review

Substandard level of customer service

Company Response from Carvana

Mar 25, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to provide us honest feedback about your recent experience with us. Carvana prides itself on providing our customers an exceptional car-buying experience coupled with high-quality pre-owned vehicles. We have high standards- we check to ensure the vehicle does not have fire, flood, and embedded rust damage. After reviewing your account, we do see that you have been in contact with a specialist to reach an amicable solution. If you still have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at (800) 333-4554.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Mar 12, 2021

Buyer beware!

By Catherine and Jed D., Las Cruces, NM, Verified Reviewer

First off, let me say that we have used Carvana previously to purchase a Mustang convertible during the summer of 2020 and that experience was pretty positive, minus the issues with registering the vehicle here in New Mexico. In this case, the car was delivered to us here, in New Mexico. We just had to take an Uber to pick it up. As for the registration, we are in a pandemic so hiccups were expected.

Our newest experience started over three weeks ago (3/10/2021), when we decided to purchase another vehicle, as our son now has his learner's permit to drive. I carefully took several days and looked at tons of vehicles, analyzing the pros and cons of the different models. Finally, I selected a vehicle and my husband started the purchase. This part was relatively easy and my husband made the comment that we would probably never buy from a dealership again. In hindsight, that comment was the kiss of death.

After the signing of multiple documents and contact with Carvana, a delivery date and confirmation were emailed which detailed that we were to pick up the car in Tempe, AZ. Keep in mind we live in New Mexico and the drive to Tempe is about 5.5 hours. There is actually a closer option, in Albuquerque, but that option was not offered on the website.

Upon the confirmation, my husband had questions so he texted Carvana. There was no follow-up phone call from Carvana, so my husband took thirty-five minutes out of his evening to sit and wait for a customer services rep. While talking to the rep and confirming the day/time of the pick-up, my husband asked if there was a way to travel to Albuquerque to pick up the car instead of traveling to Tempe. The rep informed him that she wasn't sure, but that it would probably cost more money and she would have to change things and unlock the vehicle's status. My husband told her that since it would cost extra money, that he would not change the pick-up location. He told her that we would travel to Tempe to pick up the vehicle. That was the end of the conversation and we prepared our plan for picking up the car on 3/6 at 1:00 p.m.

The week prior to our departure, there were no follow-up emails, texts, or phone calls from Carvana. Saturday arrived and we drove the 5.5 miles to Tempe, AZ, only to discover that there was no appointment for a pick-up and that the vehicle was no longer available as it had been unlocked and purchased by someone else.

Right away, we called Carvana and spoke to a customer service rep who was super apologetic and then promised that someone from the resolution team would be calling us (and also email us) within the half-hour to an hour. No one ever called, but we did get a canned email from Tyler with the executive resolution team that he would call first thing on Monday since he was out on Sunday. No phone call and no follow-up email from Tyler.

So far, we have heard absolutely nothing from Carvana. They sold the car out from under us, we drove and wasted gas on a 5.5-hour trip (during a pandemic), were ignored, and we have heard nothing from Carvana about what our next steps could possibly be. We are beyond frustrated. On Monday, my husband replied to Tyler’s email, but no response has been forthcoming.

Overall, I would no longer recommend Carvana to anyone at this point. Our first purchase was pretty easy, but this second purchase was horrible. It is definitely a buyer-beware situation.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

The efficiency of buying a car online, when it actually works and they do not sell your car out from under you.

Terrible communication.

Horrible wait times for communication.

Significantly deficient customer service.

Company Response from Carvana

Mar 15, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to provide us feedback regarding your recent car buying experience with us. We would like to thank you for coming back to Carvana for a second time, but we are so sorry to hear that your experience was less than perfect this time around. To start, please accept our apologies for any undue inconvenience while attempting to speak with our advocates. We have been experiencing an increase in our call volume, which has resulted in longer than normal wait times. Carvana prides itself on transparency and expects all advocates to convey clear and concise next steps to our customers to address any questions or concerns. We apologize that you drove almost 6 hours to our Tempe location, just to leave empty-handed. We can assure you that this is not a standard representation of Carvana.

Once again, we sincerely apologize for any technical difficulties during your purchase process. We are happy to see you have moved forward with purchasing a different vehicle with Carvana, if you need ANYTHING please feel free to reach out to us at (800) 333-4554.

Posted on Feb 18, 2021

Had my vehicle for over 3 months, still no registration

By Heather S., Evansville, IN, Verified Reviewer

The initial purchasing went extremely well. The car came when they said it would, full tank of fuel, clean, and more. The delivery driver was great. Very friendly and knowledgeable. However, I have had my vehicle for over 4 months now, and the registration still has yet to come through. They have issued me temporary tags to cover me until the regular plates arrive, which is great, just frustrating. I finally reached out to them and was informed that there is an issue with a prior lien release. I asked for clarification if this issue would be resolved, and they had no answers for me. My 3rd temporary registration is about to expire, and they have now told me that they will send me another one that will be good for 3 months. I’m really beginning to think they sold me a vehicle with a lien already on it, and they are having issues getting it removed. I even asked for proof stating that the vehicle has a clear title with no liens, and they have not provided it. Getting really worried about the eventual outcome of this.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Delivery

Registration

Company Response from Carvana

Feb 23, 2021

Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Carvana’s goal is to create a stress-free car buying experience and it looks like we missed the mark. We are working very closely with our third-party vendors to process our customers’ registration. Every state has different policies and procedures we must adhere to. Sadly, Covid-19, has slowed down our process considerably. Please reach out to us at (800) 333-4554 and our team of dedicated advocates would be happy to address your concerns.

Posted on Jan 4, 2021

Update 12/29/2020

By Bill H., Saint Paul, MN, Verified Reviewer

Finally got plates and registration today, just 92 days after purchasing the car from these mokes.

Carvana's third-party vendor sat on the application as it wasn't received by DMV in my state (Minnesota) until 12/2.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Ease of purchase

Good value ony trade-in

Extremely slow registration process

No accountability, for ANYTHING

Car was filthy and needed new filters and tires

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted
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