According to industry analyst Art Spinella, nationally, online sales of used cars topped 500,000 in May, and could hit 1 million a month by the end of the year. He added that two major advantages for the consumer of Internet sales are the wide selection and quick responses.

eBay Motors, launched in late 1998, recorded more than 2.8 million visitors in a recent week, making it the No. 1 online auto site, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. But, it is facing increasing competition from other companies such as, owned by Cox Enterprises of Atlanta, GA.

Spinella said buyer beware is even more important online. In a CNW Marketing Research survey of 4,276 eBay buyers in March, 2003, 53 percent rated the vehicles they bought as exactly as described or better. However, 40 percent said their vehicles were slightly worse than described, and seven percent said they were significantly worse.