Some dealers work hard for your custom, but read the fine print
Part-exchange to reduce the hassle
A good car dealer can make all the stress go away
Used car buyers want an easier life. I’m talking about ‘real’ people, not Autocarists like us, for whom the chase, the disappointments, the hours spent researching and meeting a bloke called Barry with an ‘MOT borderline’ are all part of the fun.
For everyone else, buying a used car is hell. Imagine, then, if a nationwide chain of car dealerships promised potential buyers that if you were interested in a vehicle located in Kilmarnock, but you lived in Kent (or vice versa), it would bring it to you to try. That dealer group would also commit to buying your old car.
This offer actually motivated an acquaintance to start looking for a ‘new’ old car on the company’s website. Within minutes of surfing to find the car that she wanted, there was a problem: both of the examples she wanted to buy – one at £5000 and another at £10,000 – ‘were not covered by this scheme’.
Evans Halshaw, for that was the dealer in question, had a customer, then lost her, within a few clicks. I could say shame on the company, but terms and conditions always do apply in these schemes. What they should not do is promote this offer on a telly ad in the breaks between an episode of Doc Martin.
Car retailers have it all to play for. I used to get bombarded with press releases from companies trying to make the whole process of buying a car easier, but that does not seem to happen as much these days. So what would be the most painless way to buy and sell? Well that has to be the traditional part exchange. Yes, it will end up costing you a bit, but not that much really and you won’t have the grief and hassle of trying to sell your old motor privately.
‘Part exchange welcome’ is reassuring phrase to hear from a dealer, because they should take absolutely anything. I phoned a trader to enquire about a humble VW Polo Match Edition 1.2 that was for sale at £6850 and there was nothing they wouldn’t consider in part exchange. Certainly if you get to the exotic stuff, you can swap a speedboat for a 2008, £88,000 Lamborghini Gallardo.
Buying a car can rival buying a house for some when it comes to stress, but a good car dealer can make that go away. However, what car buyers must start doing again is actually travelling to see the car. The alternative is paying an individual or a company to do the hard work and then pay them a percentage. In a future column, I’ll point out who you should turn to if you are time poor or simply terrified. That should be fun.
Good old-fashioned legwork is the best way to find a bargain
A speedboat for a used Lambo seems a reasonable trade