Why Are Facebook Marketplace Cars So Cheap?

By

Automotive Content Editor

Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, Automotive Content Editor - November 14, 2023
Facebook Marketplace

When you’re shopping online for a used vehicle with private sellers, there may be more risk involved in the overall transaction. However, you may find that private sellers list their cars for cheaper than traditional dealerships. Specifically, Facebook Marketplace listings may be considerably cheaper (or even ridiculously cheaper) than a run-of-the-mill dealer, but it may not be for the reason you think.

Why Are Cars Listed So Cheap on FB Marketplace?

In some cases, you may see used vehicle listings on Facebook for free, $1, or any other price that doesn’t even sound close to reasonable. Why?

It may sound like a scam, but it's not technically a scam. It’s a common tactic used by sellers to get their car listings at the top of search results. Many buyers shop online for used cars with a filter that lists vehicle prices from lowest to highest. So when a Facebook seller lists their vehicle for a ridiculously low price, they may just be trying to get you to see their listing among possibly thousands of other listings in your area.

You may find the actual selling price of these vehicles listed in the description, and it may leave a bad taste in your mouth. Vehicles that are listed so cheaply, but look really nice are likely to have a really nice car price tag, too. The low prices just get you to click on their listing.

Lower Priced Cars on Facebook Marketplace

Other cars that are listed for more reasonable prices on Facebook Marketplace can still seem cheaper than the vehicles you'd find at your traditional dealership, there are many other explanations for this. One reason for this is that a private seller may be more concerned with simply getting a fair price and finding someone to take the car off their hands.

Facebook Marketplace Car Listings

Dealerships, on the other hand, have overhead and profit to worry about, so dealer pricing is likely to be higher compared to a private seller. Like everyone else selling something, dealerships are usually trying to make some money on the sale. Private sellers typically have the same goal of making money on a sale but it's not their biggest worry, which could lead them to list vehicles for lower prices.

With the rising prices of used cars in recent years, you may find that both dealerships and private sellers are asking a lot for their used vehicles, so be sure to read the vehicle descriptions and weigh your price options carefully. Some Facebook Marketplace vehicles that seem too good to be true, actually are, so watch out for scammers.

There may also be more risk involved with a private-party transaction since all negotiations, paperwork, and inspections are left to the buyer and the seller. If you use peer-to-peer platforms to pay for the vehicle (such as Venmo or Paypal), and the transaction turns out to be a scam, most of these payment platforms don’t protect consumers in car-buying transactions.

Used Car Buying Alternatives

While buying a car with a private party and using platforms such as Facebook Marketplace have the potential to get you a good deal, a dealership may offer a more seamless experience. You may be able to purchase additional warranty coverage, qualify for special deals and rebates, and possibly find financing opportunities with the dealership as well.

Many dealerships offer certified pre-owned programs, which can get consumers a great deal on a gently used vehicle. And the prices of used cars have been falling in recent months, despite a rise in interest rates at the Federal level, so prices at dealers are likely to be a little lower than we've seen in a while due to fewer dealers selling vehicles for a markup.

Search for Used Cars In Your Area

, Automotive Content Editor

Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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