eBay Motors vs. PrivateAuto for Cars

eBay Motors is an online marketplace for buying and selling used cars. PrivateAuto is a self-serve tech solution that facilitates every step of a private-party vehicle sale.
We'll compare these two sites across all the metrics that matter: security, convenience, speed, and more.

Spoiler: PrivateAuto comes out ahead in every area but one—eBay Motors has more users. This means more potential buyers and more vehicles for sale.

What if you didn't need to choose between the two platforms? We'll show you a solution that allows you to begin a deal on eBay Motors and finish it with PrivateAuto's transactional technology. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

How Does eBay Motors Work?

eBay Motors allows you to auction or sell your car on their marketplace using the same listing principles as eBay’s wider sales platform. The broader eBay company has specialized in person-to-person auction transactions since 1995, and the expansion into selling cars represents a natural evolution.

When listing your car on eBay Motors, you can set it as an auction for people to bid on, an outright sale for a set price (“Buy it Now”), or both. If you select both an auction and a Buy It Now price, buyers can determine whether they want to bid and get a lower price or pay your set price to buy the car outright.

When setting up an auction, you’ll set a minimum bid price, known as the reserve price. If your auction doesn’t reach your reserve price, your car won’t sell.
Image highlighting DealNow by PrivateAuto

What Is PrivateAuto?

PrivateAuto is a self-serve transactional marketplace that facilitates every step of the private-party vehicle sale. It brings security, speed, and convenience to a market that has lagged in innovation.

PrivateAuto offers benefits such as the following:

Private messaging in-app so you don’t give out any personal information during the sale
A scheduling feature for test drives
A secure, instantaneous payment method
Integrated services such as financing, car transport, and insurance

Comparing eBay Motors and PrivateAuto

While both PrivateAuto and eBay Motors facilitate person-to-person car sales, there are some notable differences in functionality.

Advertising Features

List vehicle

Buyer inquiries

Mobile app

Vehicle history report

Only for Vehicles with AutoCheck

Vehicle market values

Window brochure w/ QR code

Fraud Prevention



In-app chat without sharing private information

Driver’s license verification

Selfie verification

Banking-compliant background check

Deal Features



Verified Buyer Funds

Test Drive Scheduler

Offers: Accept/Counter/Reject

Bill of Sale - eSign (In App)

Payment Features



Proprietary Transaction Technology

PrivateAuto Pay

Integrated buyer financing

Available in all states (U.S.A.)

Available nights, weekends, and holidays

Split payment options

Transaction speed


Transaction limits


Transaction features: eBay Motors is an auction site, first and foremost. It doesn’t have transactional infrastructure. PrivateAuto has transactional tools to facilitate every step of the sale.
Payment options: eBay Motors doesn’t handle payments. Payments are made through the same legacy payment methods other sites use: credit, debit, check, cash, PayPal, etc. All of these options have limitations: they’re risky, slow, inconvenient, or have fees associated with them.
PrivateAuto’s integrated payment technology, PrivateAuto Pay, allows you to instantly and securely transfer up to $1M without transaction fees, any time of day, any day of the year.
Cost: both platforms charge a fee to sellers. eBay Motors takes a 2.8% cut of the buyer’s deposit as a “deposit processing fee”; PrivateAuto is totally free to the buyer.
Escrow: eBay Motors has no integrated escrow service; they recommend Escrow.com for those who want the security of escrow. PrivateAuto Pay offers escrow-like safeguards at no additional cost and is instantaneous and intuitive.
Scheduling: when buying a car through eBay Motors, the buyer and seller can use eBay’s built-in messenger feature to communicate about logistical issues such as the test drive meetup. This requires some back-and-forth. PrivateAuto has a built-in messaging and scheduling feature: the seller enters their desired location and availability, and the buyer selects a time. Both show up without ever needing to message one another.
Negotiation: eBay Motors’ auction format pits buyers in a bidding war with other buyers. The site’s “Buy it Now” feature does not allow for any negotiation. PrivateAuto streamlines the negotiation process, which may help buyers get a better deal or may help sellers get more for their vehicle. The PrivateAuto app has an easy offer feature that lets would-be buyers offer less than a seller’s asking price. The seller can then accept, reject, or counter the offer. Sellers manage all offers in one convenient dashboard.

eBay Motors Review

Like Facebook Marketplace, eBay Motors provides a platform facilitating peer-to-peer car sales without the need for physical dealerships. The platform has great adoption; if you’re selling a car, there are a lot of potential buyers on the platform; if you’re buying a car, you can browse a large selection of makes and models for sale.

eBay Motors Features for Sellers

eBay Motors offers you three listing options:
1. Basic plan: $19
2. Plus plan: $49
3. Premium plan: $79

These plans allow you to list your car for 7–10 days, after which the listing expires (if the car doesn’t sell, you’re out your listing fee).

Even with those options, the platform’s lack of transactionality results in some points of friction:

Buyer funds are not verified, leaving you to deal with eBay scammers.
The lack of a scheduling feature leads to tension with setting up the test drive meeting.
Lack of electronic docu-signing means more paperwork and hassle.
Since there is no integrated payment processing, you don’t have a good way to get paid for your car.

eBay Motors Features for Buyers

eBay Motors gives you a wide range of vehicles for sale. You can filter searches by make, model, year, mileage, and location. The interface is a bit clunky, with banner ads taking up large portions of the screen and distracting from listings.
A lot of people mistakenly believe that buying a car from a dealer saves money. The opposite is true. That is why they get surprised when they realize eBay Motors combines private and dealer inventory. Most buyers choose platforms like eBay to avoid dealer fees and shop private-party cars exclusively.

eBay Motors also lacks transactional features that lubricate the private sale:

No test drive scheduler means you must go back and forth with sellers to set a time to meet.
Cannot make offers—negotiating a lower price is awkward and clumsy via messaging.
No vehicle history reports leave you blind to any hidden issues or accidents.
No e-signing of the bill of sale.
No integrated payment system leaves you to muddle through unwieldy payment options outside of the eBay platform. Cash, bank transfers, PayPal, checks, and other external options introduce inconvenience, risk, delays, or all three.
Difficult to complete the purchase in one go—multiple meetings are often required to exchange paperwork, check the vehicle history, and handle payment.

eBay Motors Pros

More buyers
More cars for sale

eBay Motors Cons

No in-app features for closing the deal
No way to verify buyer funds
Limited fraud protection
Vehicle history reports are only available for vehicles listed by dealers with AutoCheck
Bidding wars mean you could pay more than the listed price of the car
No secure messaging or scheduling feature for test drives
Identity verification only happens if a buyer or seller is repeatedly reported to eBay for fraud
No integrated financing option
No fraud prevention system
Can’t instantly pay for the car you want to purchase
“Deposit processing fee”: 2.8% of the buyer’s deposit
Fees and hassle related to expensive and unwieldy payment options
Users who choose to use Escrow.com will pay additional fees
Listings expire after a short time and sellers lose their listing fees

PrivateAuto Review

PrivateAuto provides you with a seamless, end-to-end dealflow powered by advanced technology. It includes a full suite of features to facilitate transactions: listings, identity and fund verification, messaging, scheduling, payments, and paperwork signing.

Sellers pay a listing fee. They can choose between paying $99 at the time of listing or $150 when they sell their car. If they choose the latter, they only pay if the car sells. There are no fees for buyers.

PrivateAuto empowers peer-to-peer car transactions with the following:

Instant, secure payments of up to $1M with zero transfer fees.
Voluntary identity and fund verification make it easy to identify trustworthy parties who can afford your vehicle.
Scheduling features make planning a test drive easy for both parties.
Offer feature facilitates fast, easy negotiations without any awkward messaging back and forth.
E-signing of the bill of sale protects both parties and provides a legally binding record of the terms of the transaction.
Private-party cars only; no dealer inventory.

PrivateAuto Features for Sellers

PrivateAuto removes tension from the private car sale. Self-serve technology solves the problem of trust between complete strangers, keeps your personal information private, and gets you paid instantaneously.

Avoid scammers by choosing to deal with verified buyers only.
Avoid wasting your time on tire kickers by choosing to deal with buyers who have verified funds.
Manage all offers in one convenient dashboard. Accept, reject, or counteroffer buyer offers without having to juggle multiple conversations.
Set meetup location and availability with an in-app scheduler; buyers choose a time slot and the test drive is scheduled with no back-and-forth.
In-app docu-signing is convenient and reassures the buyer that they can send payment since you’re legally bound to deliver the vehicle.
Instantly receive up to $1M from the buyer with PrivateAuto Pay. This allows you to get the deal done when you meet up for the test drive.
Avoid costly and inconvenient escrow services with the escrow-like safeguards of PrivateAuto Pay. Buyers can even purchase a car remotely via an inspector intermediary and get the deal done on the spot.

PrivateAuto Features for Buyers

PrivateAuto makes it easy for you to make offers, schedule test drives, make payments, and get your car. PrivateAuto’s end-to-end transactionality gets the deal done in the following ways:

1. Complete the entire process, from initial contact through sending payment, without revealing any sensitive information or contact details.
2. Easily schedule test drives in-app without having to ask sellers about their availability.
3. Make your offers with our built-in offer feature. No more awkward convos along the lines of "Would you accept $600 less?"
4. Access vehicle history reports.
5. Apply for financing within the PrivateAuto app. If approved, our FDIC-insured lending partner will fund your PrivateAuto Pay account.
6. Both parties sign the bill of sale in the PrivateAuto mobile app before you send the payment. The seller is legally bound to follow through by signing over the title and delivering the vehicle.
7. Send a fee-free payment of up to $1M that the seller will receive instantly, enabling you to get the deal done on the spot.
8. Encrypted data protects you from hackers.
9. Self-service safeguards eliminate the need for an escrow service.
10. You can even sell or buy a car remotely with our escrow-like protections.

You get your car and the seller gets paid. It all happens quickly, in one session, with an intuitive step-by-step guided process that reassures each of you at every step along the way.

PrivateAuto Pros

No buyer fees
Easy offers and negotiations with no communication needed
Easy test drive scheduling with no communication needed
Apply for financing, get approved, and get funded without leaving the PrivateAuto ecosystem—no coordinating between multiple parties
Vehicle history reports
Identity verification for security
In-app messaging protects your privacy
Endpoint-to-endpoint transactionality
Very low fraud/scam risk
Guided documentation signing
Instant and secure payments

PrivateAuto Cons

There are no cons to PrivateAuto. We intentionally designed it that way.

eBay Motors vs. PrivateAuto: Listing Reach

eBay is what we call a “meetingplace”: it is great at connecting buyers and sellers, but that’s about it. It lacks all of the basic transactional functionality that makes PrivateAuto so nice to use.

But that’s completely fine. You can still use eBay to find your buyer (or to find a car for sale) and then use PrivateAuto to close the deal. Best of both worlds, and we’ll show you how it’s done.

You can list it on PrivateAuto, share it on eBay Motors, and get the best of both worlds! We’ll give you a URL and a QR code that you can share on other platforms, allowing people to get to your listing however they like.

eBay Motors vs. PrivateAuto: Fees and Pricing

eBay Motors doesn’t charge a buyer fee, but they take a 2.8% cut out of your deposit. Their listing fee ranges from $19 to $79 and lasts for 7 to 10 days. If the car doesn't get sold in those 10 days you will have to pay for the listing again. At PrivateAuto we don't do that.

PrivateAuto is free to buyers. Sellers have two payment options: upfront when they list the car or when the car sells. If you pay upfront, it’s $90 to list the car. It’s $150 if you choose to pay later—and you only pay if the car sells via PrivateAuto. PrivateAuto also allows you to share your listing on other websites at no additional cost.

eBay Motors vs. PrivateAuto: Transaction Features

PrivateAuto is the winner when it comes to features that make it easier for sellers and buyers to transact. Aside from our built-in messaging app, and escrow service, eBay doesn’t offer much transactionality; it's pretty much your standard old-school classifieds platform—nothing fancy.

PrivateAuto offers the following transactional features:

1. Instant, fee-free funds transfer up to $1M, works 24/7/365
2. Verified buyer funds
3. Messaging and test-drive scheduling
4. Accept and reject offers, or make counteroffers
5. E-signing the bill of sale

Funds Verification

Buyers can choose to verify their funds before making an offer, boosting the trust sellers have in them. Sellers can choose to deal exclusively with buyers who have verified their funds.

eBay doesn’t verify funds, and sellers have no way to weed out tire-kickers and scammers (there are a surprising amount of scams on eBay Motors).


eBay’s messaging feels like something out of the 90s, and many sellers will want to migrate communication to text or email, forcing both parties to give out their personal information.

PrivateAuto offers both parties easy, fast negotiations. Buyers can choose to accept a seller’s asking price or offer less. Sellers can accept, reject, or counteroffer with the click of a button.


eBay Motors doesn’t facilitate negotiations. Buyers and sellers can negotiate the old-fashioned way: messaging back and forth. This introduces friction and delays.

PrivateAuto builds negotiation into the workflow, allowing buyers to make offers and sellers to accept, reject, and counteroffer at the push of a button.

Test-Drive Scheduling

With eBay, all you have is unstructured communication and a lot of back and forth.

But on PrivateAuto, test drives can be conveniently scheduled in-app with no communication required.


PrivateAuto lets you sign the bill of sale right within the app. This can happen on the spot once both parties come to an agreement.

eBay Motors lacks electronic docu-signing and the trust that is built between buyer and seller when both have signed a legally binding document and each counterparty’s signature is confirmed to the other party.

eBay Motors vs. PrivateAuto: Payment Features

You can quickly process transactions up to $1 million with PrivateAuto Pay. You can also apply for financing without leaving the app. There isn't really a way to top that. Everything happens securely, with no need to exchange sensitive financial information. This provides much-needed speed and protection compared to traditional methods.

eBay Motors offers four payment options for buyers and sellers and each of those methods has serious drawbacks. Don’t test your luck with eBay payment methods, use PrivateAuto Pay.

eBay Motors vs. PrivateAuto: Other Services

eBay Motors doesn’t offer much beyond a “meetingplace” for buyers and sellers to find one another. PrivateAuto integrates insurance, car transport, financing, inspection services, and much more. Buyers don’t need to coordinate between multiple parties; PrivateAuto orchestrates the necessary logistics for them.

eBay Motors vs. PrivateAuto: Fraud Detection and Prevention

PrivateAuto wins in the area of fraud prevention. eBay doesn’t verify identity, and it exposes users’ personal contact information to strangers.

On PrivateAuto, both the seller and buyer verify their identities via selfies and driver’s license information. Sellers can choose to sell only to verified buyers, and vice versa.

The verification process is quick and simple, and PrivateAuto does not use your information for any purpose other than to verify your identity and make the vehicle-selling process safer for everyone—unlike eBay Motors.

PrivateAuto vs eBay Motors: the Verdict

PrivateAuto is the best place to buy or sell a used car online. It outperforms other platforms like eBay across every metric of speed, security, and convenience.

Don’t get us wrong, we don't hate eBay Motors and other "meetingplaces"; we understand that you might benefit from their widespread adoption and large reach.

That’s why we created DealNow: you can start a deal on OfferUp or some other site, then move it to PrivateAuto to fast-track the transaction and process the payment.

DealNow gives you PrivateAuto's identity verification, payment processing, digital paperwork signing, and other transactional features in a fast, intuitive dealflow.

Want to try it? Whether you’re a buyer or seller, start a DealNow, now. You’ll create your own private deal room, invite the other party, and enjoy the smoothest transaction of your life.
Image highlighting Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Sell Your Car on PrivateAuto

Sell your vehicle on PrivateAuto easily and conveniently. The sales process consists of a few simple steps:

1. Gather the required documentation
2. Create your PrivateAuto profile and get verified
3. List the car
4. Set your own terms
5. Vet incoming offers
6. Choose the buyer you like
7. Schedule the meetup
8. E-sign paperwork
9. Get paid instantaneously
10. Sign over the title

It’s so fast and so easy. Or, if you’re in the market to buy, browse our for sale by owner listings!

eBay Motors vs. PrivateAuto FAQs

Is PrivateAuto safe?

PrivateAuto is a safe, secure platform for buying or selling a car. You can interact with buyers or sellers without giving out your personal information, and we also offer in-depth fraud prevention through driver’s license and selfie verification.

How do I avoid scams as a private buyer or seller?

Is it safe to give out my VIN?

How do I know if a car is legit online?

Which are the most common eBay scams targeting buyers?

Which are the most common eBay scams targeting sellers?

What are the most popular alternatives to eBay?

How can I buy a car on eBay without getting scammed?

What payment methods does eBay Motors offer?