10 Things You Should Never Buy Online

Test driving a car offers a hands-on experience that's impossible to replicate online. DAJ/Getty Images

There are plenty of trustworthy car-buying sites out there that have great shipping and return policies and reliable customer service. They're usually touted as a way to bypass pushy salespeople and all the haggling that comes with buying a car in person from a dealer. And we get it — the traditional method of buying a car is so needlessly stressful, it's easy to see why you'd want to avoid it. We don't doubt that many people are perfectly happy with the cars they bought online, sight unseen. However, you should take into account your comfort with ambiguity, and how much you value learning through firsthand experience.

There are so many things you can't know until you actually drive a car. Exactly how it feels and handles, how it smells, how much legroom there really is in the passenger seat. If it turns out you don't like it, you have to deal with returning it, which is a hassle no matter how great the return policy is. And if you didn't buy from a reputable place, well, things could get ugly.

It's definitely a good idea to price-shop online before you make any car-buying decisions, but buying one presents a significant set of concerns – and that's not even taking into account whether you're buying new or used.