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The bottom line: Best for people who don't need to use their vehicle as a trade-in for another car or who have an old or damaged vehicle.
Pros and cons
How does Algo work?
Algo is owned and run by Auto Lenders, an auto dealership founded in 1979 with stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Algo was launched in 2016 to buy used personal cars, pickups and small business trucks and vans directly from people over the internet.
Algo buys about 2,500 vehicles per month from individuals across the country for resale at the parent auto dealership or auction.
Algo appraises cars online or with a video call, using sellers' information. After the seller has accepted Algo’s offer and mailed their title to the company, Algo then picks up the car for free with a check in hand.
Algo differs from some online buyers in that it doesn't also sell cars directly to consumers, so trading in a vehicle isn't an option. Algo’s offers are nonnegotiable and good for 24 hours. The only cost is a $95 administrative fee deducted from the offer upon sale.
Selling a car to Algo
To sell your car online to Algo, you’ll need to enter your car's 17-digit VIN or license plate number, mileage, vehicle options and any loan information. You'll also need to provide your ZIP code, email address and phone number and fill out a brief vehicle condition questionnaire for an instant “estimated value.”
Someone from Algo will contact you within a few hours to arrange a virtual inspection. The virtual inspection is done on a video call and takes 10 to 20 minutes. You can also opt to answer questions over the phone and upload photos instead. Algo will email or call within a couple of hours with a decision. If you receive an offer, it's good for 24 hours.
If you accept the purchase offer, you'll be asked to mail the vehicle’s title to Algo for verification. After Algo receives the title, a representative will schedule a pickup from your home or another site of your choosing.
You'll receive a check on the spot. The entire process can be completed in as little as two days, from entering the information online to when you deposit the check.
Algo may be a good fit for those who:
Want to sell an old, damaged or salvage vehicle. Algo requires only that the car be drivable and worth at least $1,000.
Want to sell a light commercial vehicle.
Are located in Alaska, Hawaii or another state not serviced by other online car buyers.
Prefer to do a virtual appraisal (a video call) rather than upload photos.
Algo details and FAQs
Can I negotiate with Algo?
Algo says it offers the best price upfront.
Will Algo buy my car if I owe on it?
Yes. You’ll need to provide loan information so Algo can pay off the lender. If you owe more than the amount of your offer, you'll need to cover any shortage. Algo accepts checks and money orders. You make the additional payment to Algo, and Algo pays off the lender.
Does Algo buy leased vehicles?
Yes, as long as the manufacturer allows third-party sales. Many do not. If the manufacturer doesn't allow third-party sales, you’ll have to buy out the lease first.
Where does Algo buy cars?
Algo buys cars in all 50 states.
What if someone else’s name is on the title?
Algo will walk you through selling a vehicle that has a lost title, has someone else’s name on the title or belongs to someone deceased.
To review Algo, NerdWallet sent Algo a questionnaire with dozens of data points and followed up with company representatives. The information was compared with other auto buyers that offer a similar service.