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The Internet: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer

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Shopping for Big-Ticket Items

Shopping for stuff like books, CDs, clothing, food, electronics, and other stuff is pretty easy. But what if you have a larger purchase in mind, like a car or a house? Although these aren't exactly point-click-ship items, you can still use the Web to search and see what's out there, indicate your interest in a vehicle or property, and get on track to make a purchase if everything works out for both buyer and seller.

Cars

The automotive sites in Section 6.6.1 are great places to research and look for new cars. Used cars, which are vast and plentiful, are also for sale on the Web, from listings in your local newspaper's online edition (Section 5.3) to sites like eBay (Section 7.2.2) and Craigslist (Section 7.2.3).

Your local car dealer's Web site can show you the latest models if you're mulling a new vehicle, and many of the automotive review-and-ratings sites like Cars.com maintain national databases of used cars that you can browse. There are also sites mainly devoted to the buying and selling of used vehicles, like these:

  • CarMax. Imagine a used car lot with 20,000 cars, trucks, and vans all parked out front, and you get some idea of CarMax's inventory. The company has 67 stores around the country; you can search their inventory at www.carmax.com. You can search for specific makes and models, set your price limit, and narrow down your search to the CarMax retail location closet to you.

    The site gives detailed descriptions and photos of each vehicle ...

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