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

Looking at buying a car online instead of travelling to a dealer? Make the most of great offers and get a used car delivered to your door

BuyaCar team
Jan 10, 2022
BuyaCar sales process

New car sales have suffered in recent years but business is once again booming, this time for online retailers, with orders dramatically ramping up as more and more drivers seek to simplify the car buying process.

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

That's reason enough to buy online for many drivers 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 car finance in just 30 minutes. 


For more information, you can speak to a real person in BuyaCar's London-based 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.

This arrangement means that it's classed as distance selling, so you have a 14-day money-back guarantee on every vehicle. 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 feel 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 apply, and if you go beyond a reasonable distance, 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 the features 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. If you're buying a car online without seeing it in person, 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, but you can always ask the 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 potentially 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 own speed.

This means that there is plenty of opportunity to look at prices for a variety of different models and compare car finance quotes before committing to anything. This helps you to be confident that the car you choose fits your needs and offers good value.

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

How to buy a car online: arrange tax and insurance

Arranging your car 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, so that it's ready to begin on your car's delivery date.

When this is done and your car arrives, you’ll be able to arrange 'VED' road tax. 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 and have it delivered

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 nearly at your door.

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

If you’re purchasing via finance, your car will need to be delivered to the home address on the finance paperwork. Cash buyers, meanwhile, 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. 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 will 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 up to seven years old, and typically offer the best value for money. This is because most cars will have already lost a substantial proportion of their original value by this age, with cars losing value fastest when they're new, and 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 an extensive range of used cars that still meet our strict standards.

All models - new or used - should be available with Hire Purchase finance, which spreads the cost of the car across a deposit and a series of monthly payments. After the final monthly payment, you take full ownership of the car. Newer models that are up to four years old are likely to be available with PCP finance, too, which offers lower monthly payments, although you'll need to pay a large, optional final payment if you want to own the car at the end of the agreement.

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 optional final payment to buy the car outright.

Be aware that the optional final payment could be as much as half - or even more - of the car's price at the start of the contract, so if you intend to pay this, it's worth thinking about how you will fund it. Alternatively, you can refinance the optional final payment, paying for this with a new finance contract. If you know that you want to own the car from the start of the contract, however, Hire Purchase may be a wiser idea, as you'd pay off the finance balance faster with this than PCP, meaning there's less interest to pay with a contract of the same length. 

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


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