Buying a Car From eBay Motors

#Kia, #Rio

I AM NOT A shopper; I'm a buyer. This is the main reason I don't really browse Web sites that have shopping cart icons and don't ever look at eBay. Ever.

OK, that's a lie. Everyone goes on eBay at some point. I did an office poll, and even senior editor Joe Lorio, whom you wouldn't peg as an eBay shopper, said, "Of course I do."

As you would guess, eBay Motors is our site of choice. We have bought, we have sold. But I have resisted even looking at this site for the past couple of years.

Because this is what happens: I get an e-mail from the jolly, Detroit-based "Motors" PR team in February. They would like to walk me through the newly redesigned eBay Motors site. I avoid them like the plague. I reschedule twice. I have no need to discover the "improved buyer experience." I don't need them to "help make buying a vehicle online even easier." Hmm. I read further. The new site does sound swell, with much better research tools built right into the pages. I could be more polite to them.

I agree to a conference call with the PR and eBay Motors folks. I call in at the appointed hour. The eBay folks are not on the line, but one PR guy is. We talk to each other for five minutes, waiting. The eBay folks burst onto the phone and beg for another five while they attempt to locate their product specialist.

And then I make my fatal error. I decide to log on to the site myself and poke around so I have some pithy questions ready. A family member of mine is going to need a used car soon, and I'm thinking Korean. I click on Kia. There is a pristine, one-owner Rio. The miles are low, the current bid doesn't meet the reserve, and the reserve has been lowered once already. There are only a few hours left in this auction. I type in a bid that's just a little bit higher. Congratulations! I am now the highest bidder! I could cry.

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