Carvana and CarMax are two of the most popular used automobile dealers in the United States. Their popularity has grown in recent years as drivers are anxious to simplify the car buying and selling experience, and both companies will buy cars from owners without requiring the owners to buy a new car in return.
While both companies are popular, many consumers wonder about what to expect when dealing with the used car retailers. For this reason, we dug into the discussion to compare Carvana vs. CarMax.
- Which is better?
- Customer service
- Warranty policy
- Selling a car to CarMax vs Carvana
- CarMax and Carvana pros and cons
1.Carvana or CarMax: Which is Better
When you have a car to sell, sometimes it is easier to let a company write you a check and take it away. That is the premise of both Carvana and CarMax. Both sell used cars, but both also buy used cars independently of sales. So which company is actually better?
The Carvana vs Carmax comparison shows that customers don’t always agree on the levels of service you can expect from the companies. In fact, when you compare Carvana to CarMax, you’ll find strong customers' opinions about both companies.
CarMax LLC was established years before Carvana LLC, and it has more locations. This may explain why there are more CarMax reviews across multiple websites. According to the reviews on PissedConsumer, customers have given the company a 1.9 rating based on 1200 different CarMax complaints. This sentiment is echoed in CarMax reviews on Trustpilot.com which gave this company 2.1 stars.
Google reviews disagree, however, and awards the company 4.5 stars out of a possible 5. Consumer Affairs produced a CarMax LLC rating in the middle of the spread, coming in at 3.25 stars out of a possible 5. It would appear that customer experiences with a CarMax used car are truly across the board.
So how do the mixed reviews for www.carmax.com stack up in the CarMax vs Carvana comparison? It would seem Carvana reviews paint a better picture for the company. According to the Carvana reviews on PissedConsumer, the company has earned a rating of 1.7. This low number is echoed by Consumer Affairs, which awarded the company 2.4 stars out of five stars.
Other customers seem to have far fewer Carvana complaints. The company reviews on Google, however, gave it a 4.8 rating out of 5. This spread of Carvana reviews doesn’t necessarily help answer the question: are Carvana cars reliable? After all, some reviewers seem to have had a wonderful experience, while others found their Carvana used car experience to be lacking.
One customer left a video review about his experience with Carvana. He began to notice that the paint was peeling off the bumper of his newly purchased car. When he brought it to a body shop, he learned that it had been damaged, repaired, and cheaply repainted.
When he called Carvana customer service, the customer was told that his car had been refurbished but that the refurbishment was not disclaimed. According to the customer’s video experience, www.carvana.com did not do anything about the peeling paint or the lack of disclosure. In response to the question, is Carvana legit, this customer explained he felt the company’s actions were fraudulent.
2. Carvana and CarMax Customer Service
Many of the concerns discussed by reviews in the Carvana versus CarMax discussion pertain to customer service. Customers want to know who they can trust when there are questions or concerns with their large purchase. The response of Carmax or Cavana customer service seems to be the basis of most of the reviews about the companies on Pissed Consumer.
So, who offers more customer support, CarMax or Cavana? We look to the reviews on our site and others to see what customers have to say.
According to the algorithm used on PissedConsumer, consumer rate Carvana used car customer service as only 1 star. Those who bought a CarMax used car, on the other hand, awarded that customer two stars for customer service through PissedConsumer.
Customers from both companies explain their mishaps with customer service in their reviews. In his Carvana review (#2068972), the author states that he and his wife took off work twice to accept the delivery of a car that never arrived. When they called Carvana customer service, they “waited 30 minutes to be told the car was still in the lot and had no idea what the problem was. Told they would call us the next day, never happened.” Finally the customer “went to a local dealer, spent a couple of hours, and bought a beautiful clean car sitting in my driveway.” He finishes his review by stating “I stilly have not heard from Carvana, they still suck!!!”
How to Contact Carvana Customer Service?
If you have questions or concerns, you can contact Carvana customer service in several ways.
- You may call the Carvana phone number at (800) 333-4554
- You may try to speak with an employee at nearby Carvana locations.
- You may chat with a Carvana contact on the company About Us page.
CarMax customer service may have a two-star rating with PissedConsumer, but it didn’t escape unscathed. There’s a poster who left a long review (#1923262) on the site explaining his experience with employees in one CarMax location.
…After standing at the counter for several minutes watching four employees standing side by side by the coping machine gossiping and pretending to be working and with no other costumers ignoring me…
After waiting, a poster spoke up when a man walked by. He “asked him politely if he could please help me with my car payment, he frowned at me and in a nasty manner told to GET AWAY FROM THE COUNTER! I told him you don't have to be so nasty about it he gave me a nasty look and glared at me and told that was our policy.”
How to Contact CarMax Customer Service?
If you have questions or concerns about carmax.com, you can contact CarMax customer service in several ways:
- You may call the CarMax phone number at (800) 519-1511
- You may send traditional mail to the CarMax headquarters at:
12800 Tuckahoe Creek Pkwy
Richmond, VA 23238
- You may visit nearby locations to find the best in-person CarMax contact.
3. CarMax Vs Carvana Warranty Policy
Carvana and Carmax both offer an extended warranty program on the used vehicles they sell. As you compare CarMax vs Carvana, consider how those warranties provide coverage on the vehicle you’d be buying.
The Carvana warranty policy is a limited warranty that covers certain repairs and conditions for either 100 days or 4,189 miles – whichever comes first.
According to the Carvana FAQs about the extended warranty, the plan covers repairs for many things, but does not cover:
- Interior or exterior cosmetic imperfections;
- Replaceable or wearable parts;
- Recommended maintenance;
- Aftermarket accessories.
Additionally, the Carvana FAQs explain that customers are expected to pay a $50 co-pay for every warranty request they make through this plan.
While the Carvana warranty policy does cover some things, it is limited, meaning it does not cover everything. Among the Carvana reviews shared on Reddit, one customer explained his experience with the extended warranty. After taking delivery of a vehicle from Carvana LLC, he took it for an inspection and found issues. The warranty company drug the repair process along to the point that the reviewer simply decided it wasn’t worth it and returned the car. He did praise Carvana’s 7-day return policy which allowed him to do so.
CarMax reviews tell a similar tale of the company warranty. According to the CarMax warranty policy, customers are about to return a car within 7 days and enjoy a limited warranty of 90 days or 4,000 miles, whichever comes first. The CarMax FAQs also describe the MaxCare program. It offers an extended Carmax warranty past the original limited one.
According to the company website, the CarMax warranty cost covers many things including loaner vehicles and roadside assistance. As stated in the CarMax FAQs, it does not, however, cover some things including:
- Maintenance on things like brakes and wipers;
- Vehicle components caused by corrosion, collision, or lack of maintenance;
- Tire replacement;
- Aftermarket accessories.
4. Selling a Car to CarMax vs Carvana
One service that sets both Cavana or CarMax apart from other dealerships is that both companies will buy used vehicles from individual owners without requiring a new sale. If you’re looking at CarMax compared to Carvana, you will find similar services between the two companies. There are differences in how Carvana vs CarMax selling a car works.
If you plan to sell a car to CarMax, the resource guide on the website explains that you simply bring your car to the dealership for an inspection. After they inspect the car, the company will give you a written offer for the vehicle. If you accept, you turn over the keys to the car, and they give you a check that day. You leave with cash in hand. If you don’t feel ready to add your vehicle to the fleet of CarMax used cars that day, the offer is good for a full seven days.
The resource guide for how to sell your car to CarMax also explains that you don’t have to buy one of the used cars on the lot to sell your own vehicle. There is no obligation to buy if you choose to sell.
The Carvana sell car service is similar in many ways to CarMax used car selling. You may sell your car to Carvana LLC without having to purchase one of the Carvana used cars as part of the deal. To set up the Carvana sell car service, you would start by visiting the purchasing side of the Carvana.com site. Here you enter some basic information about the vehicle you’re selling, and the company will give you a quote in two minutes.
Once you’ve entered the information, you will have the option to trade your vehicle as part of a deal for a new Carvana used car or to sell your car outright. Carvana.com differentiates itself from CarMax.com by dropping off any newly purchased car and coming out for an inspection and to pick up your existing one. Just like any dealership, there are additional Carvana fees associated with the transaction.
Ultimately, the best guide to CarMax vs Carvana selling is reading the CarMax and Carvana reviews. Many of the CarMax reviews on PissedConsumer explain issues with newly purchased vehicles. However, some include details of selling vehicles. In one review (#1863489), a customer explains that he brought in a car to sell and wound up waiting for hours because of a clerical error. He also noted that the offer for his vehicle “was ridiculously low and I mean really low...”
5. What Are CarMax and Carvana Pros and Cons?
While there are many similarities when you compare Carvana vs CarMax, there are several differences as well. These differences are what distinguish the pros and cons of Carvana and CarMax and might make one company better for your business than the other.
CarMax LLC has been established nationwide and has many physical locations. Customers who like shopping for vehicles in person and who like to test drive cars in person as they make a decision may prefer this feature. Carvana LLC does not have showrooms and instead relies entirely on online buying and selling with pick-up and drop off services. The Cavana FAQs explain that the lack of dealerships helps keep costs low for the company, which is a savings passed on to customers.
Both Carvana and CarMax reviews offer insight into true customer experiences. Many reviews seem to highlight quality issues with newly purchased vehicles and customer service. Carvana reviews occasionally mentioned delays with the delivery of new vehicles, which is a byproduct of the company’s lack of physical dealerships.
Both CarMax and Carvana offer a warranty after purchase. The FAQs on Carvana.com explain that the Carvana warranty is good for 4,189 miles or 100 days, while the CarMax warranty is good for 90 days or 4,000 miles. This may be a consideration if you are worried are Carvana cars reliable. CarMax FAQs outline the two options that the company has for warranties including the optional extended warranty program.
Under the Carvana and CarMax warranty, you should have peace of mind for at least the first few months of driving. Both Carvana and CarMax service is offered for their extended warranty programs through third party companies. One of the CarMax benefits is the presence of physical dealerships that can help you navigate any service issues that arise. Carvana.com issues are handled by phone or through the company’s website. In fact, according to the CarMax FAQs, you can schedule service directly at a their location if issues arise.
For many, a vehicle is a joy to own. For others, a vehicle is a necessity for work or for simply getting to and from grocery stores, schools, etc. Buying a new car – even a used one – is expensive. You want to know that you are working with a company that values your business and who you can trust. Want to learn more about Carvana and CarMax? Read the reviews on PissedConsumer to see what real customers have to say. You may also share your own experience with any of these companies.
By Rebecca Garland
Business and Education Expert
Rebecca Garland, M.S. is a business and education writer. She holds secondary teaching certifications in six areas, has a degree in Business, and earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. As an expert, Rebecca has been working with international clients since 2005.
*The company ratings on the PissedConsumer website are calculated using a mathematical algorithm that evaluates the information in the company’s profile. The algorithm parameters are: users’ rating, the number of resolved issues, the number of company responses and more. The PissedConsumer algorithm is also subject to change in the future.
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