Buying and Selling Online

Whether you plan to sell or buy on the Internet, there are only a handful of ways to go about it. The two most important online methods are traditional advertising and online auctions. The model that will work best for you depends on your degree of computer and Internet literacy. Let’s examine each method from a seller’s perspective. These techniques can be applied to all items but are primarily tailored to buying and selling cars, which often have greater risks involved.

Online Advertising

Advertising a car, parts or other items for sale on the Internet is easy because the process is so similar to traditional print advertising. The point of classified ads is to get the reader interested enough to contact you. Then it’s up to you to make the sale by phone, e-mail or in person. With that in mind, here are some tips for selling via online advertising:

  • Make ads clear and concise. Hit the high points of the car and don’t waste time with stories or telling others how much you spent on the restoration.
  • Photos are a must on the Internet, just as they are in print ads. Post multiple images and make sure they are clear and well-composed.
  • Documentation is critical when communicating via e-mail


Online auctions are a hybrid of advertising and live auctions. Just like advertising, you still need to take pictures, write a good description and arrive at a fair price before placing your car or parts for sale. The better you prepare your listing, the higher the rate of success. The online auction allows the process to be condensed into as little as one week, and it allows buyers to bid on the car without the seller having to referee the process.

Online Auction Selling

Being a successful seller on an online auction site requires you to be familiar with some of the traditions and unspoken trade secrets of doing business on the site. These lessons are best learned by reading listings and watching sales while trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Online Auction Buying

Rules and guidelines for buying through the Internet are simple and straightforward. Buying online isn’t that different from buying through traditional print advertising or at a live auction. When buying online, it helps to know a lot about the type of car you’re considering. As with any long-distance transaction, you also need to be prepared to assume some risk.

After finding the car, the process of buying online may require that buyers be registered members and familiar with the terms of use of the specific website, as in eBay. So make sure you know what you’re looking at, and ask the seller any questions before you bid.

This article is an excerpt from our pamphlet, Buying and Selling Online: Your Guide to Online Advertisements, Auctions and Payment Options. To receive the full version free, call our Ask Hagerty Concierge Service at 888-310-8020, menu option 3 or e-mail . (Members can go to the Library section under “Freebies” and download a copy.)


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