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Carvana

Overall Rating

2.2

517 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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Carvana Review: How It Works, Warranty, Financing, Returns

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 517 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 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

Posted on Dec 4, 2020

Horrible experience

By Louis B., Delanco, NJ, Verified Reviewer

Found a car. Jumped thru all the hoops. Was told I was approved and the car would be there the next day. Gave back my leased car. Went back to the Carvana site and was told to call. The person I reached told me I had to provide around 6 more documents, told me my online sales did not count for my self-employed income! Bottom line: Refused to sell me the car after telling me I was approved. Had to buy the leased car from a dealer. Do not try to buy a car from Carvana if you are self-employed. Horrible experience.

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

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review

False approval

Rejecting my income (bank accepted it for car loan)

Wise girl representative made fun of my business

Company Response from Carvana

Dec 9, 2020

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. As a new way to buy a car, we aim to take the stress and roadblocks out of the process, so we apologize for the amount of stress and frustration you endured, especially during the current state of affairs. As Carvana continues to grow and improve it is important for us to recognize where we drop the ball. We can assure you the proper teams have been notified of your experience to prevent this from occurring ever again. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any further questions or concerns at (800) 333-4554.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Nov 26, 2020

Post review in reference to Carvana's response

By Ron W., Florida, Verified Reviewer

Your response verifies my points. I have called the 800 number dozens of times and get the same response. The post-sales team member sympathizes with my issues and says they will check into it but later only sends an email (from a no-reply address) that there is nothing they can do. Incredibly poor service after the sale.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Nov 15, 2020

Update

By Marie D., New York, Verified Reviewer

Four months in and still no plates! Mysteriously "submitted to DMV" has disappeared off my dashboard and now it says "processing". I was told by a Kathleen in post sales that I should have my plates in two weeks, so I called on 11/9 to my tracking number. To my surprise, I was given a tracking number. I was happy and relieved but that was short-lived. When I checked the tracking number it was not for my plates. When I called back to inform them of their error upset, the rep did not care. I told them I was going to get legal involved and the rep hung up on me. My plates are days away from expiring and Carvana does not care! They continuously blame the DMV, when they are the ones being shady.

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

Liars

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Nov 10, 2020

Canceled my delivery date the night before

By Lachona V., New York, Verified Reviewer

My delivery date was canceled the NIGHT BEFORE and rescheduled for an additional 10 DAYS. 10 DAYS. I rearranged my work schedule and am due to start a job the following day but now I have NO car for groceries or to bring my toddler back and forth. They sent the email an hour before closing. So I got a rushed agent ready to go home basically tell me with no remorse "things happe." I’m in tears. This has been such a stressful unfair process. I was told by the agent the car had arrived on time yesterday so what was the reason it could not be delivered? The agent went ahead without my permission and change my delivery date instead of leaving it to be fixed by another agent in the morning. You mean to tell me NO ONE can deliver the car before 10 days. NO ONE. The email was sent saying someone would contact me and no one ever did yet it was sent an hour before closing. How is this fair?

People wait on their cars for weeks and make plans to have a vehicle. I put everything I had for this deposit depending on this car to be told the night before I have to wait 10 days and I am in the local market. I missed work this weekend to receive this car. No compensation, no nothing. The reviews are very deceiving and I am not at all happy. As a single mother with a small child putting all my money together depending on this car - this was not fair. I waited for weeks to receive this car to be told to wait an additional 10 days. So between then and now I have no means of supporting myself and my child.

Carvana truly sucks. It seems like an easy-going way to buy a car but it is not. When I do receive the car I’ll be due for another insurance payment and have not even used the car...how is this fair? I cannot afford a rental. Had I know this, I would have not gone through Carvana.

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

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review

Deceiving delivery dates

Nonchalant agents

No consideration for customers' time

Company Response from Carvana

Nov 12, 2020

Thank you for the honest feedback on your recent car buying journey. Here at Carvana, we aim to provide full transparency and hold ourselves accountable for any inconvenience that we may have brought upon you. It saddens us to hear that there was a delay in your delivery. 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 to arrive on time for their means of transportation and lifestyle. After reviewing your account, we are pleased to see that you were able to call in and speak with the appropriate team to find a resolution. If you still have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at (800) 333-4554.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Nov 10, 2020

Update 2

By Johnny K., Calhoun, GA, Verified Reviewer

Last update! Finally reimbursed me the cost of registration that they failed to do, so I will call it resolved.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Delivery

Communication with customer

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 9, 2020

Left hand front bumper damaged and colored

By Pragnesh K., Fishers, IN, Verified Reviewer

After looking at the 360° view online, which stated three imperfections that I am fine with, and checking the Carfax report showing all good, the odometer shown as 34,755 for Nissan Rogue SV, I went ahead and made a purchase. The car arrived today and we noticed more than three imperfections (chips) as well as a major fact hidden by Carvana, which is about the front left side bumper being damaged, which is clearly visible. The other issue is the tires on the front and back are from different brands (Dunlop in the rear and Bridgestone in the front). I also came across a summary of repairs that were kept on the car that mentioned the front left bumper being fixed and colored. The surprise is it was done at an odometer of 34,750. There are also a few dirty patches on the driver and 2nd row seats which were not shown by Carvana as imperfections. I don't understand why these details were not shown in the first place online and how they carried out the 150 point-inspections and missed those details. I have been struggling to find the email ID of the customer support team of Carvana to write. I hope those details were not purposely hidden.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

The online process

Simplicity - no need to waste time running around dealers

Transparency

Company Response from Carvana

Nov 12, 2020

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. Carvana aims to provide customers with an exceptional car-buying process coupled with high-quality pre-owned vehicles. We are truly sorry that your vehicle arrived with more wear than anticipated. A 150-point inspection is completed on every car to ensure that it meets our high standards and we do notate the 3-5 most prominent cosmetic blemishes that reflect the vehicle’s years on the road. It pains us to know that we let you down and did not meet your expectations. Our team of dedicated advocates is always here to answer any of your questions, so please don’t hesitate to reach out via our chat service 24/7. We hope you enjoy many years of adventures with your new ride!

Posted on Nov 4, 2020

Great car but terrible experience with registration

By Amanda O., Minneapolis, MN, Verified Reviewer

Carvana was an awesome experience up until registration. Our temporary license plate is set to expire tomorrow (11/2) and I contacted Carvana on a status update to see where our permanent registration materials were, well, no information was available and all they could do is tell me they would upload another temporary license plate that would take 7-10 days to arrive. Mind you, they advised not driving the vehicle with an expired license plate. How does one get to work then? I received many different answers from different “advocates” and basically telling me I had to wait. I would not recommend them based on this experience.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Fast delivery

Quality vehicle

Registration delay

Rude customer service

Company Response from Carvana

Nov 5, 2020

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. We sincerely appreciate your feedback and patience as we work diligently in completing your registration. You can follow the progress of your registration by logging into your Post-Sale Dashboard for updates. As this can be painful to read, we are always looking for ways to improve.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Oct 23, 2020

No registration

By Brian W., Cambridge, NY, Verified Reviewer

Ordered a 2013 Mustang that was "delivered" at midnight in August 2020. Never received paperwork from the delivery company. Three days later after many phone calls, I get an email with temp GA registration and "plate." This temp registration expired on September 25, 2020. Today is October 22, 2020 and as you guessed, no registration or license plates. I have called Carvana many times and after holding for 2 to 3 hours each time, I am told the registration will be coming and if I get pulled over to show then some ridiculous letter that Carvana had sent me in an email. I don't think the police will accept that. So now I pay for a car that CANNOT be driven!

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Company Response from Carvana

Oct 27, 2020

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us regarding the issues you are experiencing with your registration. Every state has different procedures and requirements that we must follow when registering vehicles. Carvana wants to ensure we are providing every customer with accurate information regarding our registration process while working tirelessly to prevent any possible delays with processing the registration. With that being said, it is disappointing to hear that you have not had clear communication throughout the registration process. Carvana understands that your time is valuable and waiting on an extended hold is not ideal. Overall, your experience does not reflect the convenience and ease that we hope to provide for every customer. After further review of your account, we see that you have been in communication with a member of our Post-Sale Team to further assist you. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to us at (800) 333-4554, we will be more than happy to assist you.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Oct 22, 2020

2 months and no registration

By Rafi S., Michigan, Verified Reviewer

By far the worst company ever. It has been 2 months and I have not gotten my registration yet. Horrible customer service. They said the call is being recorded for quality purposes, guess what? Your employees working from home are worthless, keep telling people "we are going to call you back", and nothing. Obviously, no quality control whatsoever. Trash.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Company Response from Carvana

Oct 24, 2020

We very much appreciate you taking the time to let us know about your recent registration experience with us. Although we always desire the completion of the registration to be fast and smooth, sometimes things happen beyond the scope of our control that prevents this. 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. We are very sorry you have been affected in this manner. In researching your account, we see your case is being handled by one of our registration specialists as the state completes it and sends it out to you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (800) 333-4554 or utilize our chat feature that’s available 24/7.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted
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