2023 Vroom Review: Online Used Car Buying
Vroom is a platform that allows you to buy or sell a car from the comfort of your home. The company has been around since 2013, but it seems to have suffered a severe decline in quality beginning in 2020 when the company went public.
After facing lawsuits and losing its Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation, the stock plummeted in 2021 and has virtually flatlined since March 2022. There aren’t currently any signs that the company can dig itself out. Because the decline in stock value is so directly tied to customer experience, you might want to look to competitors rather than purchasing through Vroom in the current environment.
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How Vroom works
Vroom deals in used cars. It buys them. It sells them. The biggest selling point is that you can engage in the entire process without leaving your home. Vroom even picks up and drops off vehicles, so you can literally do it all without stepping foot outside.
Vroom offers no-haggle pricing — what you see is what you get. On one hand, this can relieve some of the stress that comes along with car negotiations. On the other hand, it also means you won’t be able to bargain for a lower price.
You’re buying a vehicle sight unseen, so Vroom does give you a short period to test-drive your car to see if you like the way it drives.
How to buy a car from Vroom
If you’re brave enough to buy a used car from Vroom, the buying experience is fully online. Here are the steps you’ll take with Vroom:
Shop Vroom’s inventory
Vroom’s inventory is easily searchable. You can filter results by almost any metric available: make, model, model year, price, mileage, transmission type, features and even color.
One thing to note when you’re shopping is the vehicle delivery fee, which isn’t visible until you click on an individual listing. This can add more than $1,000 to your vehicle purchase, and the delivery fee — unlike the car — isn’t refundable.
Select vehicle and financing
Once you find the vehicle you want to purchase, you’ll select it and choose your financing option. You can finance through Vroom partners directly on the site or in the app, but you also have the option to bring in your own outside financing. Use our auto calculator to estimate your monthly car payment.
This part of the process will require paperwork, like your driver’s license, deposit information and the purchase contract. Your deposit holds the car for 24 hours, giving you time to secure outside financing.
Wait for delivery
Typically, your vehicle will be delivered within 14 days. Depending on where you live, you have two options: You can have your vehicle delivered to your home, or you can pick it up at an in-person location nearby.
Guarantees and warranties
Vroom offers a lot of warranties and guarantees to its users. Some of them are free, while others will cost extra.
Vroom’s free limited warranty and roadside assistance
Vroom vehicles come with a free limited warranty, covering your vehicle for the first 6,000 miles or 90 days. Coverage extends to the cost of parts and labor connected to mechanical breakdowns.
Each vehicle purchase also comes with one year of roadside assistance. This policy covers up to $100 for each occurrence of issues like jumping your battery or towing to the nearest authorized service provider. As long as you don’t live in New York or California, you’ll also be eligible for up to $600 in emergency travel expense reimbursement under this policy.
Roadside assistance is now commonly bundled in with most insurance policies, so be sure to check your existing insurance policy to see which option offers you better coverage.
Vroom’s paid add-ons
You can also purchase an additional Vehicle Service Protection (VSP) policy, which is like an extended warranty. Vroom’s VSP covers certain mechanical breakdowns that aren’t already covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and lasts for 10 years or 120,000 miles.
Keep in mind that this policy does not cover damage caused by an accident, vandalism or acts of God. Those things would more likely be covered by your auto insurance policy. Vroom is also very clear that this policy doesn’t cover mechanical breakdowns caused by your lack of maintenance on the vehicle.
There’s also rental car and towing coverage, but again, these things are often covered by your regular auto insurance policy.
Vroom also offers GAP insurance for an additional cost. This sort of coverage can protect you if you total your car when you owe more than it’s worth. Not all drivers will need this add-on; unless you’re upside down in your auto loan, you can likely skip this expense.
How Vroom’s pricing compares
Vroom’s pricing isn’t terribly out of line with competitors like Carvana and CarMax, with one substantial caveat: Vroom tends to charge larger shipping fees than its competitors, depending on where the car is located relative to you. While buyers can find a $199 fee or even free shipping through CarMax, it’s common to see shipping fees of $899 and up on Vroom.
Here’s how Vroom’s pricing on a few popular makes and models stacks up against the competition:
|2019 Toyota Camry SE||$25,999 (36,702 miles)||$25,590 (38,891 miles)||$25,998 (33,000 miles)|
|2018 Honda CR-V Touring||$29,999 (36,273 miles)||$28,990 (39,985 miles)||$27,998 (40,000 miles)|
|2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk||$33,999 (48,389 miles)||$30,990 (46,989 miles)||$31,998 (49,000 miles)|
* These prices do not include shipping fees.
How to return a car to Vroom
You have seven days to return your vehicle to Vroom if you’re unsatisfied with your purchase. Although you’re supposed to stay under 250 miles, you can still make the return if you go over your allotted mileage. You’ll just have to pay an extra $1 for each mile you go over.
Typically, you won’t have to pay any extra fees when you return your vehicle, and you’ll be refunded the full purchase price of the vehicle. However, even if you return your vehicle within the permitted window and under the mileage cap, your initial delivery fee won’t be refunded, so you could lose hundreds of dollars in the deal.
How to sell a car to Vroom
Selling your car on Vroom is fairly straightforward. You’ll give Vroom the details of your car and provide supporting documentation. Vroom will make you an offer that’s valid for seven days or the next 250 miles you put on your odometer — whichever happens first.
If you choose to accept the offer, Vroom will send a driver to your house to pick up the car. The driver will provide a pickup receipt, which you can then upload into Vroom’s system. You’ll receive payment 2-3 days later via a paper check sent by overnight mail.
You can also use the selling process to trade in your vehicle if you’re purchasing a new-to-you car through Vroom. When you trade in, you might save some money on state taxes. The trade-in can count toward your down payment, or the purchase price if you’re buying the car outright without financing.
Financing a Vroom car
Vroom offers financing through partner lenders like Chase, Ally Bank and United Auto Credit, and claims that 2 out of 3 customers use this service to finance their car purchase.
Because Vroom works with a variety of lenders, you might be able to qualify for financing even if you have bad credit or something like a bankruptcy on your credit report. As with any form of financing, the better your credit score, the more likely you are to receive favorable rates and terms.
It’s always a good idea to shop around for the best deal on auto financing. Before financing with Vroom, check with any financial institutions you already bank with. By filling out a single form with LendingTree, you can also receive up to five offers for auto loans from lenders.
If you use outside financing for your Vroom car purchase, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Lienholder’s name
- Lienholder’s address
- ACH or wire payment in full for the vehicle made out to Vroom
Vroom pros and cons
While there are a few benefits to using Vroom’s service, the decline in customer service and product quality over the past three years is alarming. You may want to weigh the cons more heavily than the pros.
Relatively straightforward process for buying, selling and trade-in
Complete the entire process from your own home
A no-haggle car-buying experience
Relatively competitive pricing when compared to other no-haggle dealers
Seven-day return window if you aren’t satisfied with the vehicle
The quality of both product and service has declined dramatically since 2020, resulting in consumer complaints and lawsuits in TX and FL
No pre-purchase test-drive option
High delivery fees
No haggling can mean higher prices
Frequently asked questions
Since the pandemic hit, Vroom has run into a lot of trouble. Customers have complained that Vroom’s vehicles often have damage that isn’t reported or shown in the vehicle listing. The complaints were so severe and substantiated that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a warning in August 2021.
The company has also gotten into hot water with the state of Texas — where it is based — for failing to notify customers about delays in title and registration paperwork processing. In 2022, Vroom paid $87,000 in fees to the state of Florida for failing to meet state-mandated deadlines surrounding vehicle transfers.
Given its recent legal troubles and high shipping fees, Vroom may not be the best choice for your car-buying needs, especially when there are similar options on the market with better reputations.
No, you can’t test-drive a car from Vroom before purchase. This is one of the major drawbacks of the platform. You do have seven days after purchase to change your mind and receive a refund, but you won’t be reimbursed for the delivery fee you paid.
No, Vroom does not negotiate the sale price of its cars. The list price you see on the site or app can’t be bumped any lower. This might be a relief to those who hate bargaining, but it also means you’re not going to score a better deal by waiting until the end of the month or the sales quarter like you can at a traditional dealership.