Buying a Used Car from a Dealership Versus a Private Seller 

You have two options when buying a used car: a professional dealership or a private seller. You could be tempted to choose the private seller If you want a quick, cheap sale: you’ll see some the extremely low prices on websites and in magazines. However, you can run into certain problems when dealing with an individual – problems that may cost you more in the long run.

Buying from a used car dealership is the smartest and safest way to go – and here are five key reasons why:

Financial Options

Paying for a car is expensive – even when it’s used. In most cases, a private seller will expect to have all the money at the time of the sale. If you’re buying from a friend or relative, they may allow you to pay in installments, as there’s a level of trust. However, with two strangers arranging a deal, both sides are likely to be wary of each other. As the buyer, you’ll want to see the car, make sure it’s as advertised, and pay only when you’re satisfied. The seller, of course, will not let you drive away without paying in full.

None of this is a problem with professional dealerships. First and foremost, dealerships often provide financing options, so you can pay over a fixed period of time, making it far easier to afford a more expensive vehicle than you might be able to buy from a private seller, especially if you need a car on short notice.

Dealerships will normally provide fair prices and payment plans for the used car in question. If there is even the slightest hint of a car being overpriced or finance payments are based on higher interest rates, the dealer’s reputation could be tarnished. A private seller, on the other hand, has no such reputation to consider. Bear that in mind.

Warranties May be Included

When buying a car from a private seller, he or she may not provide full background information, including any outstanding warranty that may remain on the vehicle.

When buying from a used car dealership, you can expect to be given full details of any warranty in effect. If a car is fairly new, it may still fall under the manufacturer’s warranty, which provides considerable peace of mind. Also, the dealership may offer a warranty for a few weeks, months, or a year, on the condition that the car be serviced by an approved provider.

Warranties may be available, but used car dealerships are not required by law to offer a warranty, however, most used car dealers will be happy to discuss warranties with you at length, and a package may be offered to help secure the purchase. You should certainly feel free to ask. Private sellers, on the other hand, may have no information about any remaining warranty, and normally will not be in a position to offer one.

Inspections and Repairs

Reputable used car dealerships will inspect vehicles and undertake repairs to ensure they’re suitable for sale. After all, if they can complete minor repairs to ensure a car is ready to be put up for sale, any small costs are worthwhile doing.

Private sellers may simply be in a hurry to get a vehicle off their own hands as soon as possible. While some may be honest about any potential mechanical issues or repairs which need to be undertaken, others might leave them unmentioned in the hope that the buyer won’t pick up on them until they have already paid and driven away. You can also expect a test drive at most dealerships to make sure you’re happy with the car’s performance, while private sellers may not offer to do the same.

More Legal Protection

When buying a car from a private seller, you have very little legal protection – if you agree to a price and fail to get the seller’s contact details, you may be in a tight spot if you find any faults after the sale is finalized. They are generally selling vehicles on an ‘as-is’ basis unless you have a contract with them that specifies otherwise.

Used car dealerships have to provide you with more protection. The Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule insists that every dealer displays a Buyer’s Guide in each used vehicle they sell, and issue buyers with a copy after the sale. This covers the car’s key mechanical/electrical systems, whether the vehicle is sold ‘as-is’ or includes a warranty, and recommends you search for a vehicle history online.

Dealers are not required by law to offer you a “cooling-off” period or a money-back guarantee, but they may. Be sure to ask about this, and check if they will be willing to offer one, and on what grounds. Again, this comes down to reputation; used car dealers want to ensure you’re satisfied, have you as a repeat customer, and get referrals. It’s in their best interests to provide you with the best service possible.  

Trade-in for a Better Deal

Most used car dealerships accept trade-ins towards the cost of a new vehicle. This, of course, allows you to save money when buying a used car, though this may vary from one case to the next. Even if a private seller agrees to a trade, which is extremely doubtful, they may not give you its full worth. With a private dealership, though, you can expect a fair price.

This is ideal if you don’t have the full amount to buy a used car, or for a down payment, but are happy to trade-in your current vehicle to cover those costs. The dealership will also have professionals on hand to check your trade-in without delay, and deal with all the paperwork involved.

Buying a used car from a dealership is safer and more secure than buying from a private seller. You’ll be able to visit a professional showroom, address any potential concerns, and possibly receive a warranty. You can also check reviews, speak with previous customers, and conduct more research on dealerships online than you can with private individuals.

 And for all these reasons, you can feel very confident buying your next used Car or Truck from  Eden Autos.