James Rup­pert

Some deal­ers work hard for your cus­tom, but read the fine print

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - James Rup­pert

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

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