How to buy a car online: home delivery, 14-day return policy

Don't fancy having to put up with pushy dealers, hanging around showrooms and rubbish coffee? There is an alternative: buying a car online

BuyaCar team
Aug 27, 2020
BuyaCar sales process

In recent years new car sales have been declining but business has been booming for online retailers, with orders dramatically ramping up as more and more drivers seek to simplify the car purchasing process.

Whether you're time-poor, looking to avoid pushy sales staff or simply can't face trudging around dealerships, the online buying process ensures that you can find your ideal car from the comfort of your own sofa - and have it delivered to your door.

That's reason enough to buy online but there are other significant benefits too. You can compare savings from across the country and be sure that you've taken your pick from the best deals available, with fixed prices so there's no awkward haggling. It's quick too: you can find and order your car, then apply for finance in just 30 minutes.

For more information, you can speak to a real person in BuyaCar's London call centre. And while you might not get to see the car before it arrives on your doorstep, BuyaCar only sources cars that meet a minimum standard from trusted dealers, and this arrangement means that it's classed as distance selling, so you have a 14-day money-back guarantee.

In the very unlikely event that the car isn't as described or you decide that you don't want it, you're entitled to a full refund - fair-use restrictions apply.


How to buy a car online: money back guarantee

The 14-day money-back guarantee that applies to distance selling is a huge safety net for online buyers. If you decide that the car isn't how you expected within this period, you can hand it back and have your money back, without having to provide a reason.

This is long enough to give the car a thorough going over: checking that the kids can get comfortable; that the dog fits in the back; and that you can load your shopping without breaking any eggs.

The Consumer Contracts Regulations (2013) will allow you to drive a reasonable distance within this time period to try out the car, and still receive a refund if you send the car back. Fair use policies do apply and if you go beyond a reasonable distance then the option to return the car may no longer be available. BuyaCar's cancellation and returns policy sets the distance at 30 miles, beyond which the option to return expires.


Check the specification of a car online

When choosing a car it’s important to check that it has all of the bells and whistles you want. Car manufacturers are always changing trim levels, and the amount of equipment fitted as standard to each trim level.

This isn’t so much of a problem when you’re ordering a new car, but ensuring that a car has everything you want can seem like an enormous effort when buying used, especially if you can't see it. Checking out the photos provided can be a good way to get a feel for what the interior and exterior are like and some of the equipment fitted to that specific car.

Every vehicle sold online should include a description and list of standard equipment and you can always ask a retailer to double-check that a specific feature is included, so you can be 100% sure the car has the kit you're after.

Apply for car finance online

Although you can complete the purchase of your car in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea, buying online means that you can take it at your pace.

This means that there is plenty of opportunity to look at prices for a variety of different models and compare finance quotes before committing to anything.

If you do decide to apply for finance with BuyaCar, we'll work with our panel of lenders to find you the best quote and confirm the offer quickly, so there's no delay in securing your car.

How to buy a car online: arrange tax and insurance

Arranging your insurance is easy, and little different to buying a car from a dealership. As always, it makes sense to get quotes before ordering your car to ensure that you're happy with the cost.

Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll be given the precise details needed to compare quotes and sort out insurance to begin on your car's delivery date.

When this is done and your car arrives, you’ll be able to tax your car. Your V5C logbook, which will be delivered with the car, has all the information you need to tax it. The process can be done within minutes online or on the phone.


How to buy a car online: delivery

Getting your new car delivered straight to your door certainly beats travelling across the country on a series of trains to get to a showroom to collect a car and then driving it back to your home.

BuyaCar deliveries are made from Monday to Friday and you’ll usually be able to choose the day of your delivery. You’ll be given an estimated time of arrival and you should expect a courtesy call from your delivery driver when they are about an hour away.

The cheapest way to get your car delivered is to have it driven to your address. There is also the option to have it brought to you on a transporter, but this is more expensive.

If you’re purchasing via finance, your car will need to be delivered to the home address on the finance paperwork. Cash buyers can choose to have the car delivered elsewhere. To a workplace, for example. 

If you’re part-exchanging your current car, it’s normally picked up from your home address, and when possible, at the same time as your new car is delivered. This means that you don't have to worry about doing without a car for any period of time.


The differences between buying new and used cars online

BuyaCar sells three distinct types of vehicles (in terms of age).

New cars in stock

BuyaCar offers new cars that are in stock. This type of car has already been built, and is already in Britain. These are likely to be registered to a dealer, meaning that you will be classed as the second owner, though as a result, they are often available for many thousands of pounds less than a brand new equivalent.

If the car has been 'pre-registered' by a dealer, it will typically have less than 100 miles under its belt and be ready for delivery. With such low mileage these cars are practically as good as new, though the prices are likely to be a lot less than if you ordered a new car from the factory.

Nearly-new cars

Nearly-new cars are typically less than a year old and have already had one owner and have been driven a small amount. Consequently, they are even more affordable than pre-registered models.

Most won’t have been driven far - potentially only a couple of hundred miles in some cases or several thousand miles for older models - again giving you 99% of that new car feel for much less than the list price. They are also ready for delivery.

Used cars

Finally, there are used cars. These are typically five years old or younger, and typically offer the best value for money, as most cars will have done most of their depreciating by this age, with cars losing value fastest when they're new, with the rate slowing down as they get older.

This means that if you're on a tighter budget or simply want the most car for your money, a used car could be for you. BuyaCar offers used cars that are up to six years old and have covered up to 70,000 miles.

All models - new or used - should be available with Hire Purchase finance, which spreads the cost of the car across a series of monthly payments and you automatically own the car once you've made the final monthly payment, while cars that are up to four years old are likely to be available with PCP finance, too, which offers lower monthly payments.

With PCP you have the choice to hand the car back at the end of the contract with nothing left to pay - provided you've stuck to the pre-agreed mileage limit and kept the car in good condition - or you can make the large optional final payment to buy the car outright.

For more information on how the BuyaCar process works, see our guide to buying a used car with BuyaCar.

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