If you don’t have the best credit in the world, financing a car can be an incredibly worrisome time. If you need a method of transportation to get to work, or if you need a way to take your kids from place to place, having a car is an absolute must. CarsDirect offers people from all walks of life the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a new or used car.
We evaluated their entire process to see if their website and the people behind it are trustworthy.
The results might surprise you!
Years in Operation 20+
Type of Cars Sold New and Used
Financing Available Yes
Credit Accepted Bad Credit, No Credit, and Bankruptcy
Accepts Trades Yes
Application Process 24-48 Hours
Pros & Cons
How Long Has CarsDirect Operated?
CarsDirect started out of Los Angeles, CA in 1998. Their specialty lies in transparency, a lack of hassling customers, and good pricing.
Negotiating a car sale over the internet has been their priority from day one, and in 2005, they expanded their portfolio to offer home and travel, legal, and health services.
They now operate under the corporate umbrella of Internet Brands, Inc.
Dealers who wish to reach out to consumers not normally in their geographic range, and who want to find other targeted customers, can work with CarsDirect to find more potential buyers.
How Does CarsDirect Work?
By using CarsDirect, you can browse an inventory of automobiles without the pressure involved with visiting a dealer or car lot.
Without the constant presence of a sales agent, and the forced atmosphere that you feel when walking around the lot, you have the chance to browse much more inventory in a shorter amount of time.
CarsDirect offers you a simple formula for browsing their inventory.
The website has a simple interface, allowing you to compare vehicles against each other with easy-to-understand tables and reviews. Before you even decide on a price option, CarsDirect offers you special incentives for making a purchase. This might include trade offers or special financing for qualified applicants.
Once you have decided on the desired car type, you can narrow down your options according to color and accessories. You can find a red truck with a built-in DVD player, or a black convertible with electric warming seats, depending on how specific you want your features.
As you adjust your preferences, you’ll see the price of your purchase move up and down in real time.
After you have finalized your decision on a car, CarsDirect will connect you with the online department at one of their dealer partners located in your area. This way, you can avoid all of the shopping that would normally be done inside a dealer.
Having your vehicle already selected when you meet your sales agent is a huge advantage of using CarsDirect. You’ll already have a target price in mind once you open up the discussion with the sales floor, too.
How Much Does CarsDirect Cost?
There are no hidden fees associated with using CarsDirect. You can start an application with them, and all throughout the process, they are transparent and open about what to expect.
The simple act of finding a car has nothing to do with financing, and you can use the tool to select your future car as many times as you want.
The eventual cost of your car depends, of course, on many different factors. Mileage, features, and the overall condition of a used car will raise or lower the price. New cars are dependent on MSRP and CarsDirect does not place any kind of premium or added fee on their value while you shop for one.
How Safe is My Information On CarsDirect?
Let’s answer the important question: is your personal and financial information safe and secure on CarsDirect?
The answer is “Yes!”
You are volunteering your information for referral to different dealers, and CarsDirect will only share your contact info with dealers who match with your preferences.
There is no condition included in each referral and no reason for you to select an offer you don’t feel comfortable with.
Positive Aspects of CarsDirect
CarsDirect has both negative and positive components of the car-buying experience. Let’s start off on the right foot and figure out why buying or selling through CarsDirect can be a positive experience!
No Service Fees
As we stated above, there are no hidden fees or costs required to use the services of CarsDirect. You simply input your contact information, choose the style and extra features you want out of a car, and you’re all set!
If there is a match, you’ll be paired with a local dealer. You can expect to hear from one of these dealers quickly, as they are anxious to put a set of car keys in your hands as quickly as possible.
You only have so much time in the day or week to look for a car, especially if you have a full-time career to worry about. Sifting through so many different potential dealers can be time-consuming on its own. On top of this, finding a dealer that can work with you on financing will such even more time out of your schedule.
CarsDirect already has many potential lenders lined up, ready to work with you on acceptable terms. You can skip all of the internet searchings and go straight to CarsDirect to work on financing options.
Bad Credit Accepted
We all run into troublesome spots in our lives, and sometimes, our credit suffers as a result.
CarsDirect understands this and works with you to find a lender who can help you rebuild your credit while putting you in a car to call your own.
The lenders that work with CarsDirect are more concerned with your total debt-to-income ratio. Rather than going by a simple credit score, the lenders will determine your ability to make a monthly payment and find a suitable creditor to finance your car purchase from one of their dealers.
No hard credit checks are run during the process.
Flexible Lenders Available
If you have a solid credit history, you’re in the driver’s seat (no puns intended) when it comes to purchasing a car. You can use this to your advantage with CarsDirect.
When you directly work with dealers, you can find better terms of a financial agreement than what you might find with a credit union or bank who deals in auto financing.
Dealers might also have specific financial institutions they utilize when seeking financing for their customers. Typically, dealers who sell new cars expect a bit more positive history on credit reports.
If you fall into this category, you’ll be in good shape to negotiate great terms after beginning with CarsDirect.
Negative Aspects of CarsDirect
While CarsDirect offers a great alternative to starting a negotiation for a car at a dealer, it doesn’t come without its share of problems.
We’ll tell you some of the common complaints about CarsDirect to see if you still want to pursue a car sale through the website.
High Interest with Car Loans
If you are seeking a loan and don’t have the best credit, you’re likely to get hit with high-interest rates to make up for your history. This won’t be too much of a problem if you can easily make payments but be careful that you don’t miss a payment.
Taking on an auto loan is a major responsibility. When you miss a payment after 30 days from a high-interest loan, repossession typically isn’t far behind.
Keep track of your earnings and wages if you go through one of the lenders found through CarsDirect.
A Limited Network
Although CarsDirect increases your search parameters to find a car for your needs, it’s still limited to what is contained within the company.
If there’s another dealer willing to work with you and find what you need, you’ll have to seek them out on your own.
The same applies to exhaust your search with CarsDirect – if you run out of options on the website, it’s back to the drawing board for your car search.
This isn’t to say that you can’t find an excellent deal on CarsDirect. You’ll more than likely find something to fit your desired car choices. That said, if it doesn’t have the features you are looking for, you’ll have to resume your search elsewhere.
We won’t argue that your information is safe with CarsDirect. Unfortunately, you won’t find a lot of answers to the question of how the process works. The company keeps this information private, along with any potential financing rates for your pending offers.
It may be true that CarsDirect offers you more information than another similar website, like CarMax, Vroom, or Cars.com. Quick visits to their websites show you that the company is only slightly more open about their policies and procedures, though.
A good rule would be to look around at financing available through other dealers and websites. This way, you can determine a ballpark figure for when you receive an offer and compare it to anything else you have seen.
This is unfortunate but very true. Unless you immediately prove yourself to be a reliable, on-time customer with your payments, lenders from high-interest loans will be calling you non-stop.
Their common practice is to find multiple means to contact you and keep at it until they know where to reach you.
You can prevent this by scheduling your payments in advance and ensuring that you have enough to cover each month. If you don’t enjoy getting constant communication from lenders, which might be phone calls, emails, or text messages, CarsDirect might not be the best option for you.
Should I Use CarsDirect?
While CarsDirect is definitely a good choice for keeping your information safe, there’s still an important question to ask: should you bother using the site?
The answer will come down to your financial situation and credit history.
If you have run into a few hurdles along the way, you might find yourself with some black marks on your financial report. These usually don’t sit well when you go to a dealer, who looks for impeccable payment history and a large amount of available income.
With CarsDirect, you don’t have to feel pressured to show extensive good credit. It’s even acceptable if you have declared bankruptcy in the past, as it will find a lender for you.
The downside to this is that you’ll have to be prepared for what comes with bad credit history.
High-interest rates, persistent lenders, and the threat of repossession without an on-time payment come with the territory of car lenders. If you aren’t completely certain that you can make your payments on time, you might want to think about other options for purchasing a car.
If your history is good, you might be better off using a traditional dealer.
The headaches you will run into when going through this company and dealing with their prearranged lenders aren’t worth the convenience of finding your perfect car. The tools are fun to use, but car manufacturer websites offer the same thing and can point you to authorized dealers on their own.
The Final Word on CarsDirect
CarsDirect promises an easy experience for buying a car, regardless of your financial situation. You can pick your color, features, and mileage before you even set foot in a dealership.
Overall, it does exactly what it promises: sets you up with a potential dealer and lender.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t eliminate all of the issues and problems that come with dealers and lenders. There are some parts of the car-buying experience that you cannot avoid. The company won’t take out the follow-up phone calls, spamming emails, and possible pushy sales agents.
Don’t let the potential stress of buying a car stop you from at least glancing at CarsDirect.
There’s no obligation to follow through on anything you do with their website. If you decide that their approach isn’t for you, all you have to do is close the window.
Good luck with your hunt for a car!
Featured Image: CC0 SHRAVANKUMAR via Pixabay.