Thanks for stopping by to read my Tred Review.
Whether you're buying or selling a personal vehicle or doing it as a side hustle, the process is frustrating. You're dealing with titles and registrations, safety issues, as well as potential buyers (and sellers) who are out there scamming people.
I know the feeling, and to save myself the headache, I usually go to the dealership (and lose a lot of money in dealer markup and fees, as I'm sure you know).
Tred tries to solve this problem by taking a middle-of-the-road approach, but does it work?
This review will explain what Tred is, how it works, and why I think some are calling them a scam.
The main topics I'm going to cover:
- What is Tred?
- Is Tred Legit?
- How Does Tred Work?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Tred Reviews and Complaints
- What I Like About Tred
- What I Don't Like
- Where Do You Go From Here
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for Tred.com. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is Tred?
Tred (Tred.com) was founded by John Wehr (who is no longer with the company) and Grant Feek (current CEO) in May 2012. They are an online marketplace that initially connected buyers and sellers of used vehicles through a network of local car dealers.
Users were able to search listings from thousands of participating auto dealers across the country using filters such as price range, mileage, make/model, year model, etc.
A few years later, Tred switched focus to connecting consumers with private party sellers and buyers. They also provided a personalized service that included buying and selling the vehicles themselves, which was financially unsustainable.
Tred changed direction again in 2017. They became an all-digital platform that connects consumers directly with private party sellers and vice-versa, offering vehicle services that include:
- title transfers
- warranty protection
- pre-owned inspections
- auto financing
- vehicle valuation
- fraud protection and others…
Tred is located at 1517 12th Avenue Seattle, Washington, and has become one of the largest websites dedicated to buying and selling second-hand vehicles.
Is Tred Legit?
Yes, Tred is legit, but some online reviews are calling it a scam. In my opinion, those reviews are misleading at best and deceptive at worst.
For example, one reviewer calling Tred a scam was upset that vehicles sold were still used for daily transportation during the negotiation and sales phase. However, this is not an uncommon practice between private buyers and sellers.
In fact, it's not even uncommon for customers to continue driving their vehicle when negotiating a trade-in with a dealer.
Another reason one person called them a scam was because the vehicles on Tred.com do not have safety inspections, but that's false. Sellers are required to complete a safety assessment, and if needed, have their vehicles inspected by a certified mechanic.
Vehicles listed on Tred must pass a 150-point vehicle safety and quality test.
There are several other complaints that I'll discuss below in the Reviews and Complaints section, but none give substance to Tred being a scam in my opinion. Like all businesses, there are both happy and unhappy customers. Tred is no different.
As a company, Tred is legit.
Does Tred Work?
Yes. There may be many Tred complaints online; however, buying and selling vehicles using Tred.com does work as claimed. Tred has provided peer-to-peer sales and vehicle marketing services to its customers since 2012.
Companies that fail their customers rarely, if ever, survive that long.
As I mentioned above, I'll go into more detail regarding the issues some buyers and sellers have had with Tred, but for the vast majority of their customers, Tred works.
How Does Tred Work?
How you use Tred depends on whether you're a buyer or a seller.
Selling a car is almost like selling a home. There's a lot more involved than simply listing your car for sale and collecting cash when someone buys it.
Vehicle ownership must be verified for example. There are also registration fees and paperwork involved, which vary by state, vehicle leases, liens, loan payoffs, inspections, insurance, and buyer financing.
It's a pain, which is why most people trade their vehicle at the dealership, which is expensive. The dealer gives you an average of 30 percent less than what a private buyer would pay. That can add up to a lot of money.
Tred is a compromise. It's not as convenient as handing your car keys to the local dealer, but it's a lot more convenient than doing it all on your own.
Having said that, there are still some steps you'll need to follow:
Clean your vehicle inside and out (or have it professionally detailed).
Take photos of the inside and outside of your vehicle (at least ten, in good lighting).
Research the value of your vehicle on sites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com.
List your car on Tred's seller's page.
Complete the Tred forms, which include documents such as proof of ownership and authorization to sell. If your vehicle has a lien, you must also provide information that gives Tred the authority to confirm your payout amount.
All of these forms are similar to what you would fill out at a dealership.
Sellers must also complete a safety assessment to confirm that essential vehicle safety functions work. These include:
- Turn Signals
- Unobstructed Windshield
- Minimum Tire Depth
Have your vehicle inspected if required. For example, California vehicles require smog certification. Texas vehicles require DPS (Department of Public Safety) certification.
Tred will notify you when someone is interested in your vehicle and wants to schedule a test drive.
Once you've settled a deal and the sale is finalized, Tred takes care of the paperwork and transfer of funds from the buyer to you. Funds will be held in escrow until the buyer takes possession of the vehicle.
Buying a car from Tred starts as it does with other services such as AutoTrader and Cars.com. It starts with searching.
Open Tred.com's buy page, enter your zip code, and specify the size of the surrounding area you'd like Tred to search.
Below that, you'll find the standard filters to narrow your search, which includes:
- Exterior Color
- Year Range
- Price Range
- Mileage Range
If you'd like to expand your search to other areas of the country, Tred will also ship your vehicle (for a cost, of course).
Once you've found a vehicle that interests you, you have four options:
- Buy Now
- Chat Seller
- Test Drive
- Make Offer
Tred also provides a link to view a free Carfax Report.
Once you've chatted with the seller, taken the car for the test drive, and negotiated a price, it's time to buy.
If you're paying for the vehicle outright or have your own financing, Tred supports Wire Transfer, ACH Direct Payment as well as Credit and Debit Card payments.
Tred also partners with financial institutions and credit unions, providing competitive financing options.
Added to your invoice is a documentation fee that ranges from $80 – $199, which is far less expensive than the 30 percent a dealership would take (on top of their own documentation fees).
When Tred receives the funds (either directly from you or through the financial institution that provided the loan), you will receive an email that says you've purchased the vehicle.
The seller also receives an email notifying them their car was sold, and the paperwork process begins.
You will receive a Warranty Disclaimer stating your vehicle comes with a warranty or “as is” with no warranty. You will also receive a Power of Attorney document that gives Tred permission to act on your behalf when applying for the title and registration of the vehicle.
These forms are similar to what you would get when buying from a used car dealership.
Tred will notify you when the car is ready for pick up, and they will provide you with a temporary registration and “plate” that you can print and place on the vehicle. They'll also send you a pickup checklist to make the process as efficient as possible.
Depending on how vehicle registrations work in your state, Tred will have the Title Reassignment document sent to you for a signature, as well as the Title Certificate application (with a prepaid return envelope).
Again, this process as far as which documents you must complete, and the timeframe will depend on your state laws.
Recieve the vehicle title and plates in the mail.
Tred works by giving buyers and sellers the ability to transact online through their platform. The site allows sellers to post ads that include pictures, descriptions, prices, contact info, location, etc. Buyers can browse these listings based on their chosen criteria to find a vehicle they like.
Once a vehicle is chosen, buyers and sellers schedule a test drive and negotiate the price. Buyers and sellers can then click their respective “buy” or “sell” buttons within their Tred account. Tred will then direct them to another page where they fill out forms including payment details, shipping address, phone number, email addresses, etc.
The services that Tred takes care of include:
- Processing tax, title, and registration
- Temporary Permitting
- Payment and Vehicle Transfer
Tred is available for buyers in the following US cities:
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
- San Antonio
- San Francisco
Tred Frequently Asked Questions
Is Tred a Dealership?
Tred is not a dealership. Instead, they are a digital platform that facilitates the private buying and selling of vehicles without a dealership's high markup and fees.
How Does Tred Make Money?
Documentation fee charged to buyers that covers services such as temporary permitting, processing tax, title, and registration, as well as insuring your transaction. Depending on the state, the fee ranges from $80 – $199.
Additional Tred services include premium listings for sellers, such as more photos and a $20 wash coupon. Premium listings vary from $4 – $19.
There is also a vehicle certification program, which gives buyers a three-month, 3,000-mile warranty. Certification costs vary by vehicle.
A sale fee of $99 or 0.99%, whichever is greater, is also charged when your vehicle sells.
Also, if you connect with a Tred-sourced buyer, sellers who deactivation their listing fee get charged a deactivation fee that varies from $9 – $99 depending on the vehicle.
How Much Does Tred Charge?
Tred buyers pay an $80 – $199 documentation fee, including a temporary permit, tax processing, and title registration.
Tred only charges sellers when their car sells. The selling fee is $99 or 0.99% of your selling price, whichever is greater. This fee is significantly less than the fee a dealership works into your trade-in price.
How Does Tred Financing Work?
Tred is not a lender, but they partner with trusted financial institutions and credit unions such as Ally, BECU, First Tech, and Westlake Financial. Through these partnerships, they provide financing options with competitive rates and flexible terms.
Does Tred Inspect Cars?
Tred does not inspect cars directly, but they do outsource it. When a vehicle requires inspection, the seller must bring it to a certified mechanic for a proper inspection paid for by Tred.
Does Tred Ship Cars?
Yes, Tred provides shipping services within the United States, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and other insular offshore jurisdictions such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Does Tred Do Trade-Ins?
Yes, Tred does trade-ins. You can submit your vehicle and receive a Tred Trade Credit price, which can then be applied towards any vehicle on their site for purchase.
Tred may adjust the Trade Credit price based on the condition of your vehicle during inspection or pickup.
Does Tred Charge Tax?
Yes, Tred charges sales tax on the sale price of the vehicle and associated document fees. In addition, there are standard fees for Title and Registration.
Tred Reviews and Complaints
Like any company, Tred reviews range from great to not so great. There are also a considerable number of complaints.
Having gone through several dozen complaints though, some are legit, and others seem (to me at least) to be a misunderstanding of what Tred is.
Tred is not a simple marketplace where sellers advertise their cars like AutoTrader or Craigslist and deal with buyers directly. Instead, Tred provides a full-service that requires their customers to transact on their platform.
They also can't guarantee a sale.
However, there are many complaints of people getting charged a deactivation fee when they remove their listing and go off-platform to deal with their buyer directly.
Section 4.8 states, “you expressly agree that you will not use the Service to find an End Buyer and then complete a transaction independent of the Service, in order to circumvent the obligation to pay any fees related to the Service.”
As far as complaints from those who could not sell their car on the platform, I'm not sure what to say. Unfortunately, there are no websites I'm aware of that can provide that assurance.
In the case of someone unable to sell their vehicle and also getting charged a deactivation fee when removing their listing, Tred has responded with refunds.
I'm not defending Tred (nor am I associated with them) against some customers' legitimate issues, and some are undoubtedly legitimate. However, I also don't have specific details regarding those individual situations, and in most cases, there are two sides to every story.
Tred is certainly not perfect. However, I also think perspective matters.
For example, Ford Motor Company has a current rating of 1.15 out of 5 at the Better Business Bureau and over 900 complaints. Tred's current rating is 2.95… almost three times better than Ford, but I doubt many would claim Tred is three times better than Ford.
When it comes to customers leaving reviews, those unhappy with a company will always outnumber those who were not. Of course, that does not dismiss or minimize people's real issues (I've been a disgruntled customer before too). Still, I mention this imbalance because we often never hear from the majority who are happy with a particular product or service.
What I Like About Tred
- Straight forward process for buyers and sellers with prompt help from customer support.
- Escrow service that protects both buyers and sellers.
- Tred takes care of all documentation as well as working with financial institutions. They also handle vehicle liens, which are a pain for private buyers and sellers to deal with.
- Being able to buy, sell or trade from home without spending hours (literally) at a dealership.
- By avoiding dealership fees and markup, sellers make more when they sell, while buyers get more for their money. It's a win-win.
- Your car is also listed on several other vehicle marketplaces such as AutoTrader, Cars.com, and Auto.com.
What I Don't Like
- Tred may handle the legal and financial paperwork once they have it, but you still have to gather and provide the information by filling out forms, which is time-consuming. (In contrast, a dealership usually takes care of the forms, and all that's required of you is a signature).
- Only available in the US, and select cities for sellers.
- Tred is not as clear as it could be about its fees. Two common complaints are getting charged a deactivation fee when a seller removes their listing from the platform, and finding out after signing up that Tred charges a transaction fee (also for sellers) when a sale is completed.
Where Do You Go From Here?
If you're a buyer, you want the most for your money. If you're a seller, you want to get the best possible price for your car.
You also want the process to be as easy and efficient as possible. I get it…
I've lost a lot of money trading cars in at dealerships because it was simple. Tred does their best to solve that problem.
If you'd like to sell your car with absolutely zero fees though, your best option is to stick to free sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
On the other hand, for a fee that's much less than what a dealership charges, Tred can handle the hard stuff. They'll take care of the title transfer and registration, and they'll vet your buyers and/or sellers, ensure funds are transferred safely, and they'll provide customer support along the way.
For busy entrepreneurs who buy and sell cars as a side hustle, Tred is also beneficial. Of course, you won't make as much on each sale, but the time (and frustration) you save will allow you to get more done.
I hope you found my Tred review helpful and if you have comments, questions, or experience with Tred, please share in the comments section below.
5 thoughts on “Tred Review – Is it Safe To Buy & Sell Cars on Tred.com? [Must Read]”
Leave getting the title, registration and license and car, as well as send some third-party thousands of dollars?
There’s no way, That’s an absolute recipe for problems.
I could not count how many RVs, trailers, cars, trucks and motorcycles I’ve purchased off the Internet from private parties. You find a car you like you go and see it, if you like it you pay the seller. If it’s a dealer you wire the money, if it’s a private party you bring a cashiers check. They sign over the title ( you check Id and registration for same name) Can you hand him the agreed-upon price and a cashiers check, or cash.
You call your insurance company and I immediately, at that moment, they insure it, giving you time to re-register it (You have AAA do it for you) and the seller files with the state DMV a notice of non-ownership( called notice of non responsibility)
Going to all the trouble to go through somebody for such a simple process is asking for trouble.
There is no way to get scammed doing it yourself. If there’s a question of condition you just have a mechanic look at it, you check the seller make sure his ID matches that on the registration and title. You hand the private party the money any and he hands you the title.
One caveat is if you owe money on the car… I don’t buy cars that have liens against them on the title, Third party or not. Again asking for trouble and a hassle.
Awesome info Chris, thanks for sharing 🙂
I need a referral code please… we both would get $50.
I have made an offer on a vehicle that I have never seen. In past years I would never have done that but today’s used car market is completely different. I will share again at the end. That is of course if my offer is accepted. THANK YOU TRED!
Great article! Presently I am at the beginning process of buying a used vehicle, I must say it’s a bit frustrating that is trying to avoid being scammed! Seriously considering giving this method a try!