For cool concepts, it is hard to do much better than Carvana.
Customers who go to Carvana.com or use the mobile app can shop from more than 10,000 vehicles, arrange for financing, make a purchase and schedule delivery at their home or at the car vending machine as soon as the next day. The process, the company said, can take as little as 10 minutes.
And the vending machine is a unique concept. Standing nine stories high and built out of gleaming glass, it holds over 30 vehicles. So far, there are Carvana vending machines in 12 U.S. cities: Tempe (Arizona), Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Nashville (Tennessee), Raleigh (North Carolina), Charlotte (North Carolina), Jacksonville (Florida), Tampa (Florida), Orlando (Florida) and Washington, D.C.
Those who elect to pick up at the machine get a Carvana coin to activate the process and transport the car into the delivery bay. According to the company, the pickup process typically takes only minutes — much shorter than at a dealership. Carvana said every car comes with a seven-day return policy, and all vehicles are Carvana-certified.
The customer experience with Carvana is a bit mixed. The company displays customer reviews on their website that are mostly positive, but with some complaints referenced (usually along with some follow-up on how Carvana attempted to rectify the situation). Carvana also enjoys solid ratings on Yelp and Cars.com. What customers consistently like is the pricing model, relative straightforwardness of the purchasing process and the flexible return policy.
One very comprehensive review on Medium described the experience as mostly positive, but did caution that customers need to be very careful when taking the car for the seven-day test drive, as there are often issues to be discovered that perhaps were not included in the online listing. Moreover, though the experience was positive – and the vending machine is a neat feature – the Carvana experience is on offer at other places.
"The experience wasn't much different or easier than going to any other no-negotiation dealerships like CarMax or similar used car dealerships," the reviewer noted.
But he did note that in the end, he was happy with what he got and would use the experience again.
Among unsatisfied customers, the overall reactions were much more negative. Leading complaints about Carvana involved late delivery dates, unhelpful customer service and a disorganized process that makes it difficult for customers to work directly with the company.
"I should have known that there was something wrong with CARVANA when I first ordered my car 9 months ago and it took them 2 months to deliver it to the correct address. They spent 2 months canceling delivery dates on the day-of and delivering my car to the wrong address and state!" wrote one disgruntled customer on the CarvanaSucks website, the web portal where the company's unhappiest customers congregate.
Other annoyed customers wrote that a trip to a dealership would be like "a vacation to Tahiti" after the issues they'd experience with Carvana, noting that the firm was not worth visiting.
Carvana, when PYMNTS reached out for a comment, has not yet offered an official response.