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Where to buy?

Essentially, you have three choices when it comes to buying your next vehicle; dealers, private sellers or at public sale/auctions. Each have their respective benefits, and equally each have their specific downsides. In this case, it is pretty much better to be cautious.


Buying from a dealer has all sorts of benefits, not the least from being a Registered and Licensed Motor Car dealer that is legally required to abide by an accepted Code of Business Practice.

In-depth details as to how these operates may differ slightly from country to country but the fact remains that buying from a dealer gives you peace of mind.

Another benefit could include the ready ability to trade-in your old car as part of the one transaction. The car you buy is also likely to have been prepared properly, in roadworthy condition and should come with a reasonable warranty. This possibility may have other supporting rules, which may also differ from country to country.

And dealers can be more realistic about price than private owners – don’t under-estimate the value of this point. Haggling with a private owner to buy his or her “pride and joy” can be an extremely painful experience when they let their own emotional baggage influence the price they put on the vehicle.


Buying privately may result in a cheaper car than buying through a dealer, but there are good reasons.

Firstly, private buyers are not subject to any licensing body or Code of Conduct (beyond the law, of course). So, inspect the vehicle carefully, or get expert advice.

Secondly, private sellers are in no way obliged to offer a cooling off period, or a warranty of any kind. So, buyer beware, what you see is exactly what you will get.

And thirdly, private sellers can often be reluctant sellers, for a number of reasons – none of which matter to you, the potential buyer. What matters is that these reasons may make the seller unreasonable on price, tricky to deal with, or downright obstructive.


Buying at auction can be a good way to save some money, but it’s not without its pitfalls. Buying a car at auction can be intimidating, especially for a first-time used car buyer. However, there can be significant benefits, especially for those looking for late model family cars or utility vehicles.

Auction houses are now more like car dealerships, offering finance, trade-in and even fixed-price sales. Government and fleet vehicles do often list photos and open bids for those wanting to avoid the auction process.

The downside to an auction is that shoppers are usually not allowed to test drive the cars. Luckily, many cars at auction will already have had a vehicle inspection to give an indication of condition.