Buying a used car should be a pleasure, not a pain.
The theme of this year’s National Consumer Week (4-10 November 2013) is ‘used cars and how to buy them wisely’ and as one of the country’s leading motor groups with over 600 used cars in group stock we just had to get involved!
The campaign asks three key questions of potential buyers: Is it safe, is it legal, is it what you want?
We’ve been listening to our customers and over the past 10 years have heard some real horror stories of dodgy dealers and people getting ripped off! So to help people to buy their next car safely and to celebrate National Consumer Week we’ve spoken to our service and sales teams and put together this short buying guide featuring advice on buying from a dealer and from a private seller.
Buying from a dealer?
This is the safest way to purchase a vehicle as it offers the maximum amount of peace of mind and legal protection.
Franchised dealers such as Vantage Motor Group rely on our reputation and good name so will never scrimp on service. Here are some helpful pointers when buying from a dealer:
- Know your budget in advance and stick to it. While some haggling adds to the fun of buying a vehicle, a reputable dealer will have priced their cars fairly from the start.
- Enjoy extra protection with a warranty. The typical warranty available on second hand cars is for one year but many of our vehicles still have manufacturer warranties – Toyota for example offers a great 5 year warranty.
- Spread the cost. Most dealers offer good value finance and service packages to help ease that initial outlay.
- When trading in your old vehicle, ensure it is spick and span and include all details of the vehicle’s MOT and service history.
- Check your dealer belongs to the Retail Motor Industry Federation.
- Cars sold through reputable dealers should have nothing to hide as all the necessary information checks will have been carried out before listing.
- Use an official manufacturer approved franchised dealer like Vantage. The technicians will be fully up to speed and trained to work on the cars they sell.
- Take the car for a test drive. This experience should seal the deal in your mind and reputable dealers would usually welcome and recommend this.
- Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. A good dealer will spend time with you to ensure you get the best deal.
- Trust your dealer. It will not be in their best interests to mislead or take advantage of any customer. After all, their reputation relies on giving the best service.
Buying from a private seller?
There are some great deals to be had out there but by following a few simple steps, you can drive away with a good deal not a costly burden:
- Visit the seller at their home address and take along a friend for safety. This could be doubly useful as they might ask questions you haven’t thought of!
- Beware prices that seem too good to be true. Use the free vehicle valuation tool from Vantage Motor Group. If the seller’s price varies, ask why.
- Don’t take cash with you. Suggest going to a bank with the seller to complete the transaction.
- Inspect all documents carefully. The MOT certificate will tell you if the vehicle is roadworthy. The V5C registration document will confirm if the car has been stolen.
- Check the car’s history. Online tools can give you a wide range of information, such as the car’s mileage, colour or plate changes or if the car has ever been written off. You may also want to confirm that the car has not been recalled by the manufacturer for safety reasons.
- Always see the car before buying. Buying online can be risky, especially between strangers, with many types of internet payment such as Western Union or ESCROW money transfers being open to fraud.
- View the vehicle in daylight so you can inspect the bodywork and equipment properly. Walk all the way around the car. As an extra precaution, you may wish to arrange an engineer’s check.
- Remember – you won’t have the same legal protection as you would buying from a reputable dealer.
- Check the mileage is accurate. Official paperwork, online data checks and the condition of the car should all match what you can see on the dial.
- Take the car for a test drive. If there is an issue that doesn’t quite match the seller’s description of the car, ask about it. Just check you’re insured to drive it first!
We’d love to hear about your experiences and what you think of our Buying Guide so as always feel free to leave a comment!