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Buying a car with keysavvy

Buying a car with keysavvy

I bought a new (to me) electric car (yeah – never mind my previous rants I changed my mind) . Since the seller lives about 200 Miles away and I wanted to get my tax-credit up front, the seller suggested keysavyy.com . I never heard anything about them and their service sounded almost too god to be true. Here’s my experience.

About three months ago, I bought an old Nissan Leaf locally. The dealer said the battery was almost dead, with an estimated range of just 20 miles. Because of this, I didn’t pay much for the car. After some careful driving and using Level 1 charging, I managed to increase the estimated range to about 40 miles. However, the battery was clearly on its last legs.

I loved how the EV handled and was hooked on driving electric. The Nissan had only 38,000 miles on the chassis and looked almost new. I started looking for a replacement battery and went to Nissan for a quote, expecting it to be around $5,000, which I was willing to spend. But they wanted about $12,000 for a 24kWh battery—ridiculous. I decided I’d never buy a Nissan car or truck again because they don’t seem to care about supporting their customers.

I sold the Leaf for a bit more than I paid for it and began searching for another EV.

I found “Sparky” in Albuquerque, a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt with an almost new battery due to a recall in 2022. The seller wanted $11,500, which, after the federal tax credit, would come down to about $8,000. It was a good deal, but I wondered how to get the tax credit upfront.

The seller suggested KeySavvy, an online dealer that acts as a broker between the buyer and seller. As an IT security engineer, I was skeptical. However, their website explained the process broadly:

  1. The seller provides all paperwork and documentation to KeySavvy.
  2. KeySavvy reviews and verifies everything, including ownership.
  3. If everything checks out, the buyer provides the money.
  4. After the buyer picks up the vehicle, KeySavvy releases the money to the seller.
  5. The buyer even gets a paper plate for the car after purchase.
  6. KeySavvy fronts the tax credit, meaning I only had to pay the difference.

I decided to use KeySavvy, and everything went as they said it would. There were a few hiccups, but nothing major. Here’s a more detailed report, including the minor issues I encountered:

Either the seller or the buyer can initiate the transaction. In my case, the seller started the process. I received a registration report from KeySavvy showing part of the car’s history. I also purchased a Carfax report on my own, just to be sure. The seller then uploaded a copy of the title and sent the original title to KeySavvy. They checked ownership, and once verified, I was asked to provide information to get the tax credit. This went smoothly, and I was asked to transfer the purchase price (minus the tax credit) to KeySavvy. I was a bit nervous about this part and checked extensively to ensure KeySavvy was reputable. Finding no red flags, I proceeded with the funding via ACH, the fastest and most convenient fee-free method.

After payment was verified, I was asked to sign a purchase contract. This was the first hiccup, as I wasn’t ready to sign without seeing or test-driving the car. I messaged with them and they said that I could cancel the deal even after signing. Yeah .. thanks – but no. But they agreed to have me sign (everything is online anyway) after I had checked out the car and that would be fine too

My husband and I drove 200 miles to Albuquerque to meet the seller and check out the car. Everything went smoothly. We signed the contract online after inspecting the car. But another minor hiccup occurred: we brought a small printer to print the paper license plate, but since it was a Sunday, KeySavvy couldn’t produce it. We added the car (now named “Sparky”) to our insurance and drove home.

We will get the title and paperwork in the mail in a few days. The paper license plate was downloadable the next day and “Sparky” is happily sitting in it’s spot sipping electrical energy from a measly Level 1 charger for now.


KeySavvy works well for both buyers and sellers. They essentially buy the car from the seller and sell it back to the buyer, allowing them to front the tax credit and provide a license plate (well .. except on Sundays). Both the buyer and seller pay a $99 fee. The service offers a nice level of protection and convenience, eliminating the need to carry cash.


  1. Clearly explain to buyers in writing that they can cancel the purchase even after signing the contract.
  2. Make it clear that paper license plates cannot be issued on Sundays.

Despite minor issues, I recommend KeySavvy and will certainly use them again for future car transactions.


Michaela Merz is an entrepreneur and first generation hacker. Her career started even before the Internet was available. She invented and developed a number of technologies now considered to be standard in modern web-environments. She is a Wilderness Rescue volunteer, a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician, a FAA Part 61 (PPL , IFR) , Part 107 certified UAS pilot and a licensed ham .

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