If you are trying to gauge the direction of the retail automotive market Fair.com is worth watching. They’re a lot like Maven, Canvas, and Book except the cars are used, and you work directly with the dealership, not the manufacturer.
We opted to use Fair.com because my daughter wanted a convertible and I want her to want to come home for the summer. I also wanted her to be safe and in a relatively new vehicle. I found a fun car on May 9th and put in a request. All of my emails (which in reality are just chats initiated in the app) went unanswered.
Phones are spotty with Fair as well. They say office hours are 9-6, a second voicemail says 10-7, but the reality is that the phones were answered less than half the times I’d called midday. When I did get a person on the phone on May 19th they were like, “Ummm.. yeah, that car isn’t available.”
You’ll recall from my previous post that I’d been trying to get a car from Fair.com for a full ten days at that point.
I found another car, a 2015 VW Beetle convertible. It had 15,000 miles on it and was $800 down and $420 a month, you can turn it in with 5 days notice and the term is as long or short as you please. Additionally one of their employees had been sharing a coupon code all over the web. Recently I got my own so now you can use JG100 to save $100 on the drive off for a Fair.com vehicle.
It was simple. I signed docs online and then tried to confirm with Fair via the app (it’s email – but whatever) that I wanted to get the car that day. No one responded. I called. No one answered. I sent an SOS type chat through the app and got a phone call saying I could get the car the following day at 4.
There was no indication of who to speak to upon pickup. Communication from Fair.com is abysmal.
I risked it and had my son drive me to Thousand Oaks. He’s a damn hero for making that trek. As I wandered onto the lot, I was directed to the sales manager who had the car clean and waiting for me. He was very nice, it was one signature, he showed me the car, and I was done.
Sort of. The car’s been in an accident. The bumper has fresh paint on it, and it’s out of alignment. No, it doesn’t show on carfax. That doesn’t mean that work hasn’t been done. I’m not even concerned that it’s unsafe, I simply don’t want to get dinged for it when I return the car in August or September.
Of course, there’s been no response from Fair.com. No acknowledgment whatsoever that I sent emails and photos indicating prior damage.
But after speaking with the sales manager I understand why.
Fair.com buys the car from the dealer and leases it to me. When the term is complete the car will roll right out to auction. Fair.com isn’t in the car business. Fair.com is in the banking business. Which is fine, it just explains why they aren’t very good at cars. They’re good at meeting my fiscal needs, so that’s what made me their customer.
There’s a very limited warranty, but I’m not overly concerned as it’s a newer and low mileage vehicle.
I’d also like to add that one of Fair.com’s founders is also the founder of TrueCar.com. I’m going to assume that all pricing is… well…. neither True nor Fair. Again, it worked for me, but I’m waiting to see who comes out of the gates to challenge them because the experience thus far is lackluster at best.