It’s not just safe to buy a car online. It’s great!
It’s not just safe to buy a car online. It’s great!
16 February 2021 Concept Car
It is pretty much just as safe to buy a car online as it is offline. One of the few benefits of the lockdown has been that more people than ever have given it a try. And most of them have been more than satisfied!
In this feature, we’ll go through all aspects of buying a car on the Internet with you. As you’ll quickly see, the process is more convenient than the traditional one in many respects. And what’s more, it may well be safer, too!
Do you want to make the most out of the lockdown and make your online car purchase a success? Then let’s dive straight in.
Buying a car online is no longer remarkable.
That, in itself, is a pretty remarkable statement.
In the early days of ebay, it seemed like an entirely alien concept that people would be courageous enough to look for vehicles on the Internet: So much could go wrong, so much money was at stake!
Then again, people were hesitant to buy a CD on a website back then! Clearly, we’ve become more confident when it comes to online shopping.
Improved consumer rights are largly responsible for this.
One of the greatest things about buying a car online is that you now get a 14-day cool-off period, when you can simply send back the item and get your money back. No questions asked.
Rules like this have made buying online probably the safest way of shopping overall.
The entire industry has moved to the web.
Add to that the fact that one reason why the car industry has hardly suffered from the lockdown is that they were prepared.
For a full decade, not a single major car company has survived without making a digital platform the core of their strategy. New players have entered the market as well, offering new options to consumers and further speeding up the transition to the web:
Websites like Parkers have made buying cars online more reliable. They are also excellent sources of information for researching which model is best suited to your needs.
Webuyyourcar and similar services have made selling your car online easy. Once you’ve taken the decision to sell your car online, the step towards buying no longer feels quite as big.
Even if you don’t intend to buy via ebay, you can get useful pricing information there which you can use as a gauge for your retail experience.
Dealerships have introduced digital showrooms which allow you to take a look at their selection prior to a physical visit.
All manufacturers offer videos and model configurators, so you can get a much better picture of a car even if you haven’t seen it in person yet.
All of these developments meant that there was a working infrastructure in place when Corona started causing chaos.
So how did the lockdown affect the UK car industry?
As with many other products and services, Covid hasn’t brought our country to a stand-still. Neither has it turned everything upside down. It has merely shifted the emphasis even further from physical retailer to online sellers.
The idea behind the lockdown is to reduce human contact as much as possible in a bid of curbing the transmission rate. Online car buying is little different from other products in this regard.
Can something still go wrong?
Sure. You could buy from a scrupulous seller who takes your money and runs. But that sort of rip-off behaviour has become exceedingly rare. Review systems have made it easier to discover fraudsters. And many websites require legal documentations to sign up. As a consequence, criminals are finding it harder not to get caught.
Obviously, you should be cautious. Citizens Advice have compiled a long list of points you should take into consideration. They all make sense. But then again, they’re pretty much the same points which apply for a traditional retail sale.
Online car buying has gone fully mainstream. As long as you take all necessary precautions, there is no reason to be weary of using it.
What about buying online from a private seller?
In theory, you can do this. But you will need to be very, very careful.
Buying on the private market definitely comes with a warning. Writes CarWow:
“If you need to buy a replacement car privately, you are still permitted to travel to collect it under the current lockdown restrictions. However, you must only do so if travelling by car is an essential part of your work and you should aim to stay as close to your home address as possible. Merely spotting a second-hand bargain isn’t a good enough reason – one driver received a court summons after being stopped by police on their way back from collecting a new car from a private sale.”
This is why we recommend to strictly buy with a dealer at the moment. At Concept Car Credit, we can offer you both click & collect as well as home delivery.
Take a look at our digital showroom to discover our wide selection of great and affordable cars. And give us a call if you want to talk about car finance – we can help you even if you’ve experienced financial trouble in the past.
What kind of consumer protection do I enjoy when buying a car online?
The lockdown is a bit of a confusing time in many respects. It is certainly confusing when it comes to buying a car.
Strictly speaking, all the rules and regulations of the pre-corona era still apply.
So, if you order a car online and have it delivered to your home, you will get excellent consumer protection and enjoy a 14 day grace period. During this grace period, you can hand the car back and get a refund. You will not need to provide a reason for doing so. It’s basically the same as ordering shampoo from Amazon.
However, technically speaking, click & collect is not in the same category as online buying. Because you’re picking up the car directly from your dealer, it falls under a regular retail sale.
Instead, if the dealer delivers the car in front of your home, it now falls under the protection of online sales.
So, should you avoid click & collect?
By no means. Buying a car has become incredibly safe. Your chances of unfair treatment are very low indeed. And consumer protection for physical sales are excellent all around.
Yes, home delivery does mean that you get those 14 days extra to change your mind. But don’t forget that the dealer is still responsible for any serious problems with the car either way.
If the deal is right, then buying click & collect is a perfectly safe way to do it.
Do get in touch if you’re looking to buy online and need car finance. We’ll gladly explain the process to you personally and we can also give you a first quote very quickly.