How to safeguard yourself when selling a car online.
Find out the exact steps to getting the best price for a used car via a car buying service.
It’s become the decade of car buying services. They’ve sprung up out of nowhere and now there are scores of car buyer websites across the UK, like We Want Any Car. Visit their website for a free online valuation.
Such companies are making good money in a growing niche of the motor industry. A key reason for their success is a large percentage of their target market tend to be individuals that have a vulnerability:
- Family crisis
- Financial problems
- Health issues
- Mechanical problems
Plus, car buying services offer a huge convenience factor.
Whether you fall into these categories or not, it’s important to understand that any buyers service is going to make a decent chunk of money out of your car should you choose to sell it to them.
In this article I offer some important guidelines to help you get the best price for your used car. I’ll also highlight some of the tactics employed to buy your car for less than you initially anticipated.
Working out your sale price
Car buying websites offer an online bidding service that gives you an offer for your car before its inspected. But, as you’re about to find out, the price you achieve can often be a lot less than what you are offered online.
Below I will show you how to ensure your online price is the same as your final offer after inspection.
If you’re not desperate for the money why not opt for Autotrader.
If you need to sell your car fast enter your vehicle registration number for an instant online car valuation. Quotes are with no obligation and you will learn what your lowest valuation is likely to be.
Some services like Trusted Car Buyers, will come to your house to appraise your car. But from my experiences the car buying service that offers the highest price is We Want Any Car, although they don’t come to your house.
Car Buying Websites Reviewed.
Finding the highest bid.
Here’s the market leading companies:
- We Want Any Car – My recommended service: I’ve added this company first because they always offer the most money. Although they’re not as well known as some others they are definately my preferred service. Thankfully they’ve been expanding their number of branches around the UK too so you will have one in your region.
- We Buy Any Car – My second choice to We Want Any Car: Good customer service but bid £160 less than the initial online quote.
- Trusted Car Buyers – My third choice: Offered £210 less than the initial quote, and there were no depots within a 20-mile radius of my address.
- Cash 4 Cars – UNKNOWN: Not dealt with this company before so can’t advise you. Personally, I’d use one of the above car selling services.
There’re lots more but you’ll find the ones I’ve listed in Google if you search “sell my car online.”
How it works – cash in the bank in 24 hours
Step 1 – Enter your car registration number
Step 2 – Now enter your car mileage, numbers of owners, service history details and vehicle colour.
Step 3 – Online valuation. Instantly you’ll get an online valuation and a follow-up email. You’ll then be prompted to book an appointment at your nearest branch.
Start your ‘buy my car‘ valuation
Note all the screenshots below
Be sure to select what you feel is an accurate measure of your cars condition. These range from ‘showroom condition’ to ‘poor condition’. It’s vitally important that you select a true representation here else you’ll get an inflated online valuation and a reduced offer upon appraisal.
Check out the vast differences in price based upon the condition of my car. There’s a £2,429 difference in my valuation from ‘showroom’ to ‘poor’ condition.
Fortunately, We Want Any Car make it easy to describe the condition of your vehicle. In contrast, We Buy Any Car and Trusted Car Buyers have complicated approaches that are easy to skip over. This leaves car sellers vulnerable to hugely reduced valuations upon physical appraisal at one of their depots.
Once you’ve got an accurate valuation be sure to check the criteria below:
Key points include:
- You must have the V5C registration document and the car needs to be registered in your name
- The car must be damage free (within reason)
- The car must have a current MOT certificate
- The car must NOT be an insurance write off
The next step (optional) is to add any photos of your car before you choose a time, day and location:
Click here to visit We Want Any Car
We Want Any Car Reviews
Via third party site Trust Pilot
We Want Any Car Reviews – Source Trust Pilot
More information here.
What to beware of when using We Buy Any Car or Trusted Car Buyer
Remember that the money you’ve been offered online is “in principle and subject to inspection”.
This is just fine but something you need to keep in mind. I have known individuals get crucified by up to a £1500 price difference between their online car valuation and the offer they were made after their car was appraised. Again, We Buy Any Car and Trusted Car Buyers are the worst culprits for this.
When going through the online process and finally driving their car along to the car buyers, with all their documentation, their driving license, utility bill and even a lift home, they naturally believe their car is already sold.
This creates a sense of anticipation in the car owner that a bank transfer is just half an hour away. So, when you arrive and are told your car has A, B, C and D faults it can come as a big surprise.
The subsequent offer for your car is usually several hundred pounds less than the initial quote from the online car valuation.
Take a look at Trusted Car Buyers terms and conditions:
In the majority of circumstances, the car owner will accept the offer because they have legitimate reasons for doing so.
It’s a common route to buying your car on the cheap and selling it for a much larger profit.
If you still plan to use Trusted Car Buyers or We Buy Any Car…
Follow my steps to getting a simiar price as your online valuation:
From an initial online valuation you’re given the option to provide additional information about your car. This tab gives you the opportunity to list any/all defects that your car may have.
This is the step that almost everybody misses, either because they didn’t see the option or they thought it wasn’t important.
In fact, this is the most important step in the process (apart from selling your car for the price you expected.)
Take note of my current valuation of £6,101, for my 62 Plate Renault Scenic 1.5 DCI TomTom.
Here’s the screen you’re taken to once you click the “update assumptions” tab (highlighted above.)
This page gives an opportunity to add any/all known damage, defects and faults that the car has.
- small scratch on the bonnet
- small dent to rear, external quarter panel
- an average condition vehicle interior – watch out with this option as it lacks specifics. What you class as good, average or poor interior condition may be a little different what Trusted Car Buyers think. It’s a wide open space to be exploited so try and be prepared.
These items are not major damage, and when I look around my car it appears pretty sound.
Car Buyers Services – Their Secret Sauce
Check out my valuation, since adding in the minor additional damage to my car…
Before declaring any damage to my car I was offered 6,101. Now, accounting for the small pieces of damage my offer is now £5,542. That’s a significant £576 less than my initial quote. If I hadn’t completed the ‘additional damage’ section I would never have known I was only going to fetch a little over 5.5k!
Trusted Car Buyers (and ANY car buyer services) will reduce money from your initial valuation for:
- Having more owners than you initially described
- Having a lesser service history than described
- Having a personalised registration plate without disclosing it
- Having an imported car and not disclosing it
- Having only one set of keys
- Not have a valid MOT certificate
- Having run the car as a taxi
- Having run the car as a driving tuition vehicle
- For not disclosing any/all damage to the engine, interior or exterior, improper service history or lack of spare keys.
The advantage with Trusted Car Buyers is that they provide the opportunity to declare damage/faults, as some car buy services don’t.
Car Buying Service Fees
Trusted Car Buyers charge around £50 for a bank transfer that lands in your account the same day. Alternatively, you must wait up to four working days for your money.
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