Used cars are the most frequently purchased items online and in person, the survey says

new york – Buying and selling used items can be a tricky business—one in four Americans feel “intimidated” by the thought of making a deal they’re not sure about.

According to a new survey of 2,000 American adults, 69 percent of those who have personally sold or bought a used item admit they want to return before making a deal, so they can do things differently — especially when it comes to cars. In the past year, used cars were the most commonly purchased items both online (34%) and in person (31%).

Commissioned by CarLotz and conducted by OnePoll, the study found that 65 percent of Americans have purchased a vehicle from another person — but only 27 percent have purchased their car in person from a stranger. According to respondents, 66 percent of their used cars were purchased online. Meanwhile, 15 percent of respondents sold a car directly to another person, with most of those sales occurring in person (69%) rather than online (19%).

Half of those who have sold a car (49%) believe the process has taught them a lot about cars and the car market. With the rise of online marketplaces, vehicles are still a commodity where almost half of those polled (49%) still prefer to meet in person.

41 percent of potential buyers of any used item — from phones, to books, to clothes — are fine with shipping, with one in three meeting in person. More than a third (38%) insist on bringing someone with them to meet with sellers, while 37 percent will only interact with sellers via texting or messaging.

Let’s put it online

Interestingly, sellers are more cautious about meeting potential buyers than other methods. Only three in 10 are willing to meet buyers in person – half ship items directly and 29 percent prefer to interact with buyers only online. Like their potential buyers, if they plan to make a deal in person, 41 percent prefer someone they know.

The tendency of buyers and sellers to want to deal in person revealed a lot about people’s overall comfort level. Although seven in 10 people consider themselves “beneficial” because of their experience, more than half (55%) hesitate to buy or sell items to others.

Hesitations include fear of being lied to (42%), sharing personal information (41%), and dealing alone (37%). Two in three (64%) say it is important to keep their personal information private when they are dealing with others. If someone violates their privacy, 45 percent will be withdrawn from the contract. Similarly, 41 percent would refuse to give their real phone number and 40 percent would not reveal their real address.

Don’t forget to clean your car

Still, personal information (19%) topped the list of items found in used cars, followed by old CDs and cassettes (17%) and car spare parts (17%).

“Simply put, the modern vehicle is like a cell phone on wheels,” Liz Messick, Carlotz’s vice president of operations, said in a statement. “Four out of five vehicles sold last year contained personal data such as phone numbers, addresses and our garage door codes. Often, people sell or flip their cars to third parties for sale without cleaning them.”

Ironically, many believe that if they have access to their personal information then it is okay to do a background check on the person they are dealing with.

46 percent will check their social media accounts, 44 percent will try to find out if they live in a good neighborhood, and 36 percent will try to find out where the other person works. To add a level of comfort, many insist on meeting in public places such as shopping centers (29%) or police precincts (17%).

Two in three think research is important before buying a used item. These respondents take up to 36 hours to research before agreeing to a deal. This preference stems from an underlying fear of not knowing as much as possible before making a purchase. Using the right platform also makes a difference in how people feel about making deals. Facebook Marketplace has the highest level of excitement (44%) while Craigslist generates the highest level of frustration (15%).

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