Buying from a dealer - advice and tips
You still get dodgy car dealers - but there are lots of professional, respected dealers out there. And you get extra rights if you buy a used car from a dealer (or car supermarket) rather than privately or at an auction.
Dealers' prices tend to be higher than private sellers, although they may be open to haggling.
If you're trading in a car, remember to concentrate on both sides of the deal - you need a good deal on the car you're buying AND on the trade-in price.
Check what the price involves, too - does it include VAT, road tax and so on?
Dealers might give you a discount if you pay cash up front - and they might also give you one if you arrange any finance, such as a loan, through them. If you do go for dealer finance, make sure you check the APR and total cost of credit - ignore any "flat rate" that's quoted.
Your legal rights
When you buy from a dealer, the car must be:
- of satisfactory quality - taking into account how old it is and how many miles it's done,
- as described - so the dealer must answer any questions truthfully, and
- fit for the purpose - so it should be capable of being driven safely.
(When you buy privately, the car only need be "as described").
The dealer is also obliged to run certain checks on the mileage, the car's condition and to make sure the car isn't stolen.
If a used car turns out not to meet these requirements, you can reject it (if you act quickly) or claim for the cost of repairs.
These rights are on top of any warranty you buy - and warranties are another advantage of buying from a dealer. They will cover the costs of repairs for a certain period (but check what's covered).
Watch out for unscrupulous dealers
Opt for an established dealer with a good reputation - ask around friends or colleague for recommendations. Make sure they are a member of a trade association, such as the Retail Motor Industry Federation or Scottish Motor Trade Association.
Some dealers are in schemes - such as Ford Direct or Vauxhall Network Q - which offer car checks, warranties and 30-day exchange options.
Should you buy from a dealer?
There are lots of advantages of buying from a dealer, such as warranties, finance options, and extra rights if the car has any issues. But you're likely to pay more than if you bought the same car privately.
Any person buying a used car should also seek their own independent advice
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Help and advice
Some relevant frequently asked questions
When does the 60 days start? When I register, purchase or when I check the first vehicle?
The 60 days start from the date of purchase of the AutoCheck.
Can you buy a check over the phone?
This service is an online service only, so we are unable to carry out a check over the phone.
When do I get my check?
You report appears as soon as you have successfully made your purchase. The results are instant.
How much does the data check insurance cost?
There is no extra charge for the data insurance, it is included in the cost of your check.
Other articles you might find useful
View a sample report
Here you can see an example report of an AutoCheck.
This will show you how your report will be presented to you once purchased.