Keen to buy a car safely during the pandemic? Then get yourself online! You’d be surprised at how easy and secure it is to browse new cars on the web, and even get them shipped contact-free, within government guidelines. Read our top tips, and treat yourself (confidently) to that set of new wheels you’ve been after during this difficult year.
1. Take Advantage of ‘Remote’ Rules
Buying a car online is usually hassle-free, and can be advantageous! Under UK law, if you buy 100% remotely, you’re covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which give you extra protections than if you purchased at the dealership. One of these is the 14-day cooling-off period, where you can cancel your order for a full refund without reason – however, this right does wane if you step foot in the retailer’s premises. You may also be restricted by mileage limits, so check the T&Cs beforehand.
2. Consider Your Needs & Budget
Whether you’re buying a car online or in-person, you need to decide on a suitable model and budget. Do you have children, or travel a lot for business? What can you pay? If you’re looking for the affordability factor, then second-hand cars are a good option. Or, if you’re after something brand-new, consider less popular brands, or a finance deal with monthly payments (but consider the interest). It’s not just the up-front cost to think about either – there’s the upkeep, fuel, and insurance as well.
3. Browse Trusted Sites
For any type of online shopping, you need to use a website or brand you trust – but especially for high-value purchases. Check user reviews (and their legitimacy), see if their website is up-to-date, and look at how active they are on social media. Be careful with private sellers too – though they can offer a better price, it can also be more challenging to vet them. Plus, keep an eye out for sites with money-back guarantees, in case you don’t receive what you were sold. You can never be too careful!
4. Go for a Test Drive
We always recommend test driving a vehicle before purchase. Online car shopping has become increasingly popular with recent events, so it’s pretty common for a salesperson from the dealership to bring the car to your home for testing. That way, you can try it on your local roads and see if it suits your driving style – as what looks good in the picture doesn’t always translate at the wheel.
5. Negotiate a Price
Buying a car online makes price comparison easy. Found the perfect model from a seller you like, but a cheaper price elsewhere? Then get negotiating! Make sure you’re aware of any potential fees in addition to the quoted price too. Even if you don’t think the dealer will shift, it’s always worth an attempt (try email rather than through phone or in-person, if you prefer), as you don’t know until you try. Or, if it really isn’t your thing, there’s a range of dedicated sites that can help you with price negotiation as well.
6. Find a Mechanic
Another important step is to get an inspection from a qualified mechanic – especially if you’re purchasing privately. It’s easy to find tradesmen on the internet (they don’t have to be local to you, it’s probably better that they’re local to the seller), and from the comfort of your home. If the seller doesn’t agree to this, be wary – there may be something they haven’t declared about the car, and/or it might not be the same model as the one in the pictures.
7. Research Trade-ins
Trading-in your existing vehicle might reduce the price of the new one, but you might have to be the one who takes it in. Of course, you can get the appointment arranged online, but the actual offer etc. will likely take place at the dealership. We advise doing your research beforehand, with a figure in mind for when you come to negotiate. There are plenty of well-known tools and sites that will give you estimates for your current car’s value too – and for free!
8. Receive Your Car
Crossed off all the above? Has the purchase officially gone through? Now it’s time to get those new wheels where they belong! Once you’ve bought a car online, the seller will contact you regarding next steps – whether that’s you picking up the car, or them dropping it off at your home. Alternatively, if you’ve bought your vehicle from abroad, you’ll need to get it transported overseas. Get in touch with a professional shipping company for a quote, and see how they will work with you and the dealer. That way, you can get the car where it needs to be quickly, securely, and in top condition.
Turn your dream car into reality by shopping online! It can be just as safe, fast, and convenient as buying from the showroom. Thinking about purchasing a car from the UK to ship abroad? Contact Andrews Shipping today, and we will help you with our expert Car Shipping service.