By Ron VandenBoom
Its hard to turn on your TV now-a-days without having Internet addresses flying at you right and left.
The vast majority fly by without the listener giving them a second thought, but occasionally one will stick in your mind.
Such is the case with Automall.com. Most TV aficionados have heard of it and some might even have taken the time to visit it, but Ive yet to meet anyone whos bought a car there. For that matter, Ive yet to meet anyone whos sold a car there, either.
Automall.com is just what it says a car dealer on-line.
While I cant imagine buying something as large and expensive as a car over the Internet, I assume by their commercials, thousands of people already have. And without any bitter aftertaste.
With that in mind, I gathered up my courage and drove over to their web site for a look see.
The site provides more than I first imagined. Most noticeably, a new and a used car section.
The new car section asks you the kind of questions you would expect to answer if you were shopping for a new car. What kind of vehicle do you want Buick, Ford, Chevy, or rickshaw? Well, maybe not rickshaw, but you get the idea.
Then you let your mouse walk through the list of common features like air conditioning, power steering, CD player, power seats, and so forth. The site will ask you if you are expecting to buy, lease, or finance your car and what your zip code is.
The reason for this last request is that Auto Mall will furnish you with a free quote from a dealer in your area. Of course, I suspect the dealers have to have some kind of a relationship with Auto Mall before their quote will be included in the bids that are supplied to you. So you may not get more than one quote from dealers in your area and it may not be a hometown quote.
The used car section will supply you with a list of vehicles currently posted on Auto Mall by people selling their cars a kind of classified ad via the Internet.
You specify the distance from your home you are willing to look for a used car and Auto Mall will provide you a list of all the postings within that area.
The postings provide the make of the car, model of the car, year of the car, and asking price for the car. The mileage is also provided for each vehicle.
A code at the bottom of the page tells the surfer if the car is a dealer car or if a picture of the car is provided.
Just put a check in the box of the car that interests you and learn more about the car, who posted the for sale sign, and how you can go about viewing the car.
If youre one who wants to sell a used car, you must return to the home page and click on Sell. All the information you need to create your ad will be provided.
Auto Mall also provides links to research material on cars like Kelly Blue Book, as well as a page on financing options and insurance quotes. Another section will help surfers find parts for their vehicles.
While Im impressed with the amount of resource material the site provides, Im still a little leery. Not because I think there is something wrong with the site or because I believe they are trying to rip you off. Quite the contrary, Im sure they are trying to provide an honest service. Mostly, I am concerned over the fact that I cant see where all of the money goes.
When I hand a check to a local dealer, I know the money will cover the cost of the car, the dealers overhead, the wages for his employees, and a commission for the salesman. I also know I will get some kind of a guarantee and a test drive.
How the Internet makes money, Ill never know.