How to Sell a Car to Carvana – a CX Case Study

July 19, 2023
5 min read

It all started with the purchase of a Tesla Model Y

As you may recall, we bought a Tesla Model Y. It was pretty much an impulse purchase on my part. As far as selling our Pathfinder, I already had an old quote from Carvana and sent an inquiry to local dealerships to see what their offers would be. I had been preparing to sell the Pathfinder for some time. The Tesla rental experience pushed me over the edge. It was time to say goodbye to Sully (yet another Pixar-themed car name).

Meet Tessie. I didn't name her. Someone at Hertz did.

Selling to Carvana is almost too easy

I didn't think it would be possible to be this pleased with the process of selling a car. We were on a bit of an expedited timeline, not wanting to have the third car sitting around unused after my impulsive purchase of the Tesla Model Y. I updated our offer from Carvana and submitted requests to all of the usual suspects like, Carmax, and Vroom. I requested a trade-in quote from Kelly Blue Book (KBB). Lastly, I asked Tesla for a trade-in quote.

KBB came back with a far lower quote than what Carvana was offering as did each of the dealerships that reached out as prompted by KBB. Tesla's offer didn't even match KBB's. After a few dealerships were too slow in their response and/or unwilling to give at least a ballpark figure without me bringing the car to them - some of them were well over an hour-plus round trip away from us - I locked in with Carvana . So began the process of selling our Pathfinder to Carvana.

Image of the offer ready email from Caravana. There's a picture of the vehicle up top, the offer figure, and then a list of next steps and calls to action in the email.

Sell to Carvana in just a few easy steps

The process was so easy, I'm still somewhat in shock. I reserved our new Tesla on a Monday. The next day, Tuesday, I requested an updated quote from Carvana. I received the new quote on Wednesday - almost $3000 more than anyone else offered.

After a little back and forth to confirm details and provide all the documentation Carvana needed, the quote was finalized. I provided photos showing the condition of the car, including areas I identified as wear and tear. I uploaded documents needed to process the sale, including title, Driver's License, and Lien Release.

  • Image of an email detailing next steps to sell our car to Carvana.
  • Image of an email requesting upload of lien release letter to sell our car to Carvana.
  • Image of an email stating that Carvana had to adjust our offer due to incorrect trim selection.
  • Collage of images of our 2014 Nissan Pathfinder submitted to show the condition of the car.

After doing all of that - this is still Wednesday mind you - Carvana was ready to purchase our Pathfinder.

Email detailing next steps - selecting how to get paid and scheduling pickup/drop off appointment.

Scheduling the Carvana pickup appointment

I scheduled an appointment to have the car picked up on Saturday. I wanted it picked up on Friday but was unable to confirm certain details fast enough to book a Friday appointment. The unfortunate part about that is we had severe thunderstorms that Friday night. Poor Sully was left outside in the elements to endure the wind, some hail, and very heavy rain - it was no joke. The car was absolutely covered in pollen and tree debris when I pulled it out in front of the house Saturday morning.

  • Image of an email with scheduled appointment confirmation details.
  • Image of an email with a reminder about the appointment later that day.

Carvana pickup day!

On Saturday, the Carvana advocate called me to say she was running a little behind schedule, even though she was still going to arrive within the scheduling window. She could not have been more friendly or knowledgeable. When she arrived, she pulled the flat bed in front of the neighbor's house, met me at the Pathfinder, and got me going signing the purchase agreement and title over to Carvana.

Once that was done, she did a cursory inspection of the condition of the vehicle, pulled it onto the flatbed, and was on her way in the span of maybe 30 minutes. Before she left I received a text that the direct deposit was being processed.

Payment via direct deposit was quick and effortless

Later that Saturday I received emails letting us know that the payment was processing and detailing helpful next steps. Had I not already cancelled insurance, that reminder would've been especially helpful, as is the notification to report the sale to the DMV.

I already set up direct deposit using PLAID and the following Monday I received a notification that the direct deposit was complete and I confirmed the same with my bank. Did I mention it was $3000 more than any other quote we received?

Carvana communication was helpful and consistent

Email and text communications were timely and helpful throughout the process, letting me know what step I was on and what to expect. I even had a follow up chat to confirm I had everything I needed to get credit for the sale when I went to register the Tesla Model Y. The chat agent, much like the advocate that picked up the Pathfinder, was helpful and very pleasant.

10/10 would do again

I can't speak to the purchasing process with Carvana, but the next time we need to sell a car, we're giving Carvana first crack at it. The process from start to finish was as simple as could me. Communications were constant. Tone was helpful and consistent. I don't think I would change a thing about the process - unless they want to direct deposit more money in our account?

If you're looking for more bite-sized CX Case Studies, check out the rest of the series. Next up, How to Buy an EV from a Dealership.

Tagged: carvana · electrification · tesla

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