Any car, any condition. That’s the CarBuyerUSA claim to fame when it comes to providing offers on used vehicles. But is it wise to sell your Tesla to a company allegedly making up to a third of its purchases from junk cars?
Read on for 4 reasons NOT to sell your used Tesla to CarBuyerUSA, and what Find My Electric’s Instant Cash Offer can do for you instead!
Reason #1: Their Initial Quote Seems Like a Bait-And-Switch Tactic
Let’s hit this first point as hard as we can. CarBuyerUSA does give some of the highest initial quotes out there. There’s a specific reason for these high values, and it isn’t pretty…
Put bluntly, it’s a value they appear to hope not to pay. The CarBuyerUSA online quote is an “up to” price, meaning they give themselves an escape clause to potentially pay you less after inspection. For Teslas, this is quite often a lot less, to the tune of several thousand dollars.
When CarBuyerUSA gives you their “20 second” quote, they pull from their database of barely-nuanced Tesla pricing in order to show you the optimum, highest value configuration of your year, model, and trim level in order to get your attention. This means that their quote assumes you must have ALL the options, such as:
- Fully-purchased Full Self-Driving
- Premium Connectivity
- Wheel upgrades
- The highest value interior
- Higher-priced seating layouts (such as the 6 seat arrangement on the Model X)
Your quote may almost be close to an actual offer price if you happen to be selling a car with all the bells and whistles Tesla has to offer…except for one thing. The CarBuyerUSA quote also seems to assume that your used Tesla is in pristine, mint, and otherwise untouched condition regardless of mileage, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to us.
The CarBuyerUSA inspection appears to be set up to find as many cosmetic wear and tear details as it can to knock the offer as low as they can manage, and customers often remark that they weren’t told which options and upgrades CarBuyerUSA assumed they had before meeting with the agent or dropping off their car for inspection. Many people find the resulting quote to be a major shock after they’ve spent the time getting this far in the CarBuyerUSA process.
We’ll get back to their process in the next section of this article, but we want to make something clear about our Instant Offer process. At Find My Electric, we value accurate pricing information over sensational quotes; we take your right to a transparent process seriously. Just because a bait-and-switch scheme is legal doesn’t make it ethical.
We ask for more information than CarBuyerUSA does about your used Tesla up front so we can get you an accurate quote from our vetted and verified EV dealerships before an inspection appointment takes place. A pretty number doesn’t flash on the screen within 10-20 seconds, but our dealer partners actually review your Tesla’s information first before contacting you with a real offer.
Our dealers can tell from your information what your Tesla is likely worth; they don’t make wild assumptions in order to make their offer look better. We do ask for a VIN and a few other Tesla-specific details right away in order to create an informed estimate—it just makes sense.
CarBuyerUSA also asks for your VIN, but they claim not to need “any personal information” at the beginning of their pitch to get you to start clicking on their too-good-to-be-true fast quote. Sounds pretty disingenuous, doesn’t it?
Now that we’ve shown you the reality of CarBuyerUSA’s alleged bait and switch tactic, let’s look at Reason #2 NOT to sell a Tesla to CarBuyerUSA: the unorganized process.
Reason #2: The Confusing Valuation Process
We’ve talked about CarBuyerUSA’s practice of first getting your attention with a really high quote. What isn’t clear is how they can go from “high quote” to low offer so suddenly. The first part of this process is pretty typical: someone actually has to look at your Tesla.
Before any part of the actual sales process takes place, you’ll have to get your Tesla inspected, either in person by one of CarBuyerUSA’s agents or at a location where you will drop off your vehicle. There isn’t much information on who takes responsibility for any incidents or damage done during this process, though we’d hope any legitimate business would take responsibility while a vehicle is in their care. This inspection (and what we’ll talk about in Reason #3) is what determines CarBuyerUSA’s real offer for your Tesla is going to be.
Contracted location appraisers and auctioneers that CarBuyerUSA uses to physically inspect your car all have differing skill levels and opinions on what constitutes a problem with your Tesla and knock the price down accordingly. You may not even be told why the price was reduced even if it’s off by a couple thousand.
Worse, these subcontracted agents may be from any kind of auto shop or car lot and may or may not know the difference between a Model S and a Model Y. How can you trust a “hands-off” inspection to someone who may never have seen a Tesla multimedia touchscreen or examined a PMSR motor?
Outside of the people you’ll need to deal with, there’s also the CarBuyerUSA timeframe. Scheduling the inspection can take days depending on the area you live in. As much as CarBuyerUSA knocks private listings for taking too long, their own schedule may be longer than they claim depending on response times, agent or inspection availability, and organizing pickup. Many used Teslas, especially the Model 3, could even sell privately in the time it takes CarBuyerUSA to finalize your deal and collect your Tesla.
So far, we’ve looked at the potential bait-and-switch offer, the possibly questionable inspectors, the obscure inspection pricing, and an uncertain time frame before an offer is actually made. To add insult to injury, CarBuyerUSA’s offer is only locked in for 48 hours, so if you have complaints about the assessment or want any time to think about it, you’d better have free time to do it.
We don’t like uncertain terms. Find My Electric’s dealer partners spell everything out for you after making sure they already have a good understanding of your Tesla’s value. They won’t leave you guessing about timeframes, inspection procedures, changes to an initial quote, and so on. Used Teslas sold through our Instant Offer system typically complete the whole process within a few weeks and with reasonable timetables agreed with you up front.
Our next reason for avoiding CarBuyerUSA when you’re selling a Tesla is simple and something we’ve already hinted at: they don’t know how to value Tesla tech and features.
Reason #3: They Really Have No Idea What Your Tesla Options Are Worth
While CarBuyerUSA claims to be very knowledgeable about buying cars of all conditions, they offer no information whatsoever about their experience with differences in vehicle tech. If we had to guess, it’s probably because CarBuyerUSA has no idea what to do with them…except to show them to the next dealer in the line who may or may not know an EV from a hybrid.
And that’s pretty much what happens. Somewhere between your initial quote, inspection, and final offer, CarBuyerUSA allegedly puts your Tesla up for virtual auction to see what they can get for it. If a dealership at the online auction gives a potential offer that’s higher than what CarBuyerUSA has quoted you, allegedly they’ll make you a final offer at the quoted (lower) price, buy your Tesla, and sell it immediately to a dealership to pocket the difference.
In other words, CarBuyerUSA allegedly pre-sells your Tesla to another dealership who also may or may not know what a Tesla is worth. You’ll never know who these people are or how they came up with a price, either.
Obviously, if the online auction doesn’t go well, your offer will suffer. Typically, sellers find out that pricing is suddenly different after the CarBuyerUSA inspection and assume something was wrong with the car because the offer seems so low.
At this point, you’ll be trusting CarBuyerUSA’s agents to come up with a reasonable offer number at inspection and potentially hoping that the mystery dealership on the other end of the online auction also knows something useful about a Tesla.
Why would CarBuyerUSA understand the actual value of fully-purchased Full Self-Driving if they already don’t know how to remove it from their fast quote algorithm? If they don’t ask you about your AP hardware, who’s to say they’ll bother to add value if you’ve upgraded? Do they realize how much transferable Free Unlimited Supercharging is worth, or is that just something CarBuyerUSA thinks only Tesla enthusiasts care about?
Basically, unless you choose to educate whichever person CarBuyerUSA uses to contact you on Tesla pricing and tech, it’s like expecting a plumber to give you a fair quote on adding a new electrical subpanel. Sure, plumbing and wiring are both house things, but that’s not a plumber’s area of expertise. We’re pretty sure you wouldn’t want to tell a plumber how to wire up a subpanel, and we’re also sure you don’t want to waste time informing CarBuyerUSA that they’ve made pricing mistakes on your Tesla.
We won’t ask you to educate Find My Electric’s dealer partners on our favorite subject; we’re pretty happy to do that ourselves. Every member of our Instant Cash Offer network is vetted and verified by us regarding their knowledge of Tesla options, tech, software, and pricing. We don’t allow just anyone to join; they need to be dedicated to understanding the ins and outs of Tesla technology and value. We also make sure they are aware of the standards of the Tesla community.
Reason #4: Conflicting Information on How to Get Your Best Price
CarBuyerUSA’s process and requirements are all so confusing that we’d almost believe that they keep them that way on purpose. They say they take cars of any condition, but fault you for not having every little thing taken care of. They say cleaning isn’t necessary at all, but admit (deep in their FAQ section) that cleaning your car is one of the best investments you can make when selling it (and, of course, they dock value off your offer for the dirt on your floor mats). And having your paperwork in order? CarBuyerUSA says it’s not necessary, but they don’t tell you that details like paperwork make or break the speed at which you can actually sell your Tesla.
Find My Electric is dedicated to helping you get top dollar for your Tesla, and we want to do everything we can to help you understand how to prepare for that sale. We’ll tell you right up front that you can maximize your Tesla’s market value by:
- Getting your car detailed inside and out
- Rounding up all your banking and title paperwork
- Taking the best angle photos you can
- Educating yourself on your Tesla’s best selling points (and we do our best to help you determine what those are!)
Check out our seller’s guide How to Sell Your Tesla Online for more information on what you can do to get your used Tesla market ready. While the guide is focused on listing privately, most of the steps (like cleaning and collecting paperwork ahead of time) are also relevant to getting the best Instant Offer from our dealer partners.
Bonus: To CarBuyerUSA, Aftermarket Mods are Worth…Less?
If you’ve made any quality aftermarket modifications to your Tesla, don’t expect to get anything back for them through CarBuyerUSA. Much like most other instant offer sites, CarBuyerUSA will probably use aftermarket mods as a reason to lower your offer, not add to it.
At Find My Electric, we know that mods can be a great investment of time and effort. Our dealer network stays up to date on the most popular Tesla aftermarket brands like EVANNEX and T Sportline. If you’ve got valuable aftermarket mods on your Tesla to consider in a sale, the dealerships in our Instant Cash Offer system are willing to work with you to determine the mod’s added value.
Find My Electric: Stick with the Tesla Community and Informed Pricing
Don’t let CarBuyerUSA’s overinflated quote bait you into an uncomfortable experience with questionable used Tesla expertise. Let our trusted network of dealers make you the best offer for your pocketbook and peace of mind.
Get a real Tesla-informed quote with Find My Electric’s Instant Cash Offer today!