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Buying a Used Car Online

Being able to purchase a car online is becoming a more widely available method to today's consumer. Many people often see the job of buying a car at a dealership as an extremely stressful and intimidating process. These people see that buying online can rid of the pressures from the direct sales person and leave them happy with the purchase they have made.

Buying a car online has many advantages:

  • There is more choice available to the consumer.
  • The prices are often lower.
  • Service is seen to be much more efficient and pleasant.
  • The car is delivered to your door.

To buy a car online the process is much simpler than in the dealership itself. The consumer types in the model of car that they want along with all the requirements that they would like to come with it and it is then posted to dealers online who are serving that particular site to find you the car.

It is best to find a site that advertises the prices upfront so you can use this as part of your initial decision making process and not be shown the model that you asked for at an unsuitable price. Once you have decided on the car that you want and a dealer has found one for you, you will then be asked for your details and to make a deposit. You should always make this deposit with plastic for safety reasons. After this point the online sale starts to become part online and part offline because a contract will need to be signed by both parties before the car can be delivered, This is usually faxed to you and asked to be returned. But once you are happy with your purchase and the contract is signed and received then the car can be delivered to your home.

However, there are some things to look out for when buying any car online and in particular a used car. There is a large element of trust that lies between you and the online salesperson, far more than in an offline deal. The opportunity to be able to check the car is limited to pictures and written evidence from the seller. These can be deceiving. When buying a used car in general one must check for certain things before considering the sale. These include;

  • Service History
  • HPI checks
  • Validity of Tax and MOT Testing
  • Warranty
  • Condition of Body Work
  • Cost of and availability of parts for that model
  • Mileage - are there any contradictions with past readings
  • Full UK Specification

The above are just a few of the items that need to be checked when making such an important purchase. As you can see all of these things cannot always be reliably sourced over the Internet. Even if the price is cheap you will not save in the long run if professional checks have not been performed on the car. So, again the purchase takes itself offline for part of the duration in order for these checks to be made.

There is no difference in the time spent making such checks with an on or offline purchase as the same routes should be followed. However, the one main difficulty will be the test drive. As it is an online purchase, the job to hand is somewhat impossible. This is where your own trust and judgement skills take over the decision process. One possibility is to, once having found the deal you want online and made the relevant checks is to agree to an immediate purchase after test driving the motor.

Or you could have enough information from the relevant checks and go ahead with the purchase. You must make sure that you will be covered if the purchase is below the advertised standard and that the dealer will acknowledge and compensate this.

The decision to purchase a used car fully online is a difficult but often worthwhile process. As mentioned earlier the prices are often more attractive and the choice varied. Although, it is better to find your used car online through sites that;

  • Are run by established and reputable companies
  • Have a proven track record of selling quality used cars
  • Offer prices upfront before taking your personal details.
  • Or one that you instinctively feel trusting with.

Whether you are buying on or offline, again the above criteria is important in the purchasing process.

In spite of the often inability to see the product in the flesh before the purchase is made many consumers find buying a used car online a much preferred method of facing the stressful process of buying a car. If only for the fact that they do not have to deal with intimidating, pushy sales people that leave you wishing you had never left the house, let alone thought about the prospect of buying a car from them!