Originally Posted by getmeoutofhere
Online escrow service.
As far as I can tell, online escrow services do nothing except verify that something was delivered, which they have no power to do if one party is not acting in good faith. It depends on the honor of the recipient of the goods to carry out the confirmation process. There is nothing I can see in the descriptions of the services that an arbitrator is available to verify that the the delivered goods are as described.
I could put my money into escrow, and then refuse to acknowledge that the goods arrived. What does escrow service do then? If they actually do not arrive, how do I get my money back? If they do arrive and I refuse to acknowledge it, how does the seller get his money?
Sounds like just another online money-maker, to me. The escrow service gets the fee, but it's still up to the buyer and seller to resolve any issues that arise. Particularly in the case described by the OP, in which the seller is to personally deliver the goods.
The whole idea of escrow is that the two parties trust an intermediary arbitrator, who must exercise personal, hands-on judgment that the transaction has been completed according to agreed upon terms. I seriously doubt that either party is protected in that way by an online escrow service.
Now, to the OP. If you want to buy the car, drive the 100 miles and look at it, pay the owner for it, get the signed title, and make an arrangement to have it towed.