Buying a used car online

Buy a car and have it delivered to your door with a 14 day money-back guarantee. Our guide to buying a used car online

BuyaCar team
Dec 6, 2017

You can find your ideal car at the perfect price by spending your weekends traipsing around dealerships. Or you could visit private sellers and spend hours inspecting cars for any potential gremlins.

Alternatively you could do the same from your sofa, searching for cars from across Britain and finding the best price for the exact model that you’re looking for.

Advanced technology and strong consumer protection laws now mean that buying online now gives you just as much reassurance as if you travelled to buy from a car dealer, and even more rights, including the ability to return the car for a full refund.

And with the ability to order and apply for finance in less than 15 minutes, getting a good deal doesn’t need to take days or cause hassle. It's why online car sales are growing at record rates.

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Is buying a used car online safe?

Reputable garages check a car's history, mileage and condition (this applies to all of BuyaCar’s vehicles), which means that you can rely upon a vehicle’s quality without seeing it.

And because buying a car online is classed as distance selling, you’ll benefit from a 14-day money-back guarantee, enabling you to return the car for a refund.

In addition, quality online sellers - such as BuyaCar - include a warranty with every car that they sell, backing up the checks with a guarantee that you’re covered for a certain period if anything should go wrong.

Scroll down for our full guide to buying a used car online or click on a link below to jump straight to a particular section.

Buying a used car online

  

Buying a used car online: money-back guarantee

By ordering online and having the car delivered to your door, you’ll automatically benefit from distance-selling regulations - just as if you had got a pair of socks posted to you.

Most importantly, this means that you have a 14-day money-back guarantee. If you decide that you don’t want the car after all, then you can end it back and have your money refunded. You don’t even need to give a reason.

The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 allow you to drive the car a reasonable distance to try it out and still receive a refund if you decide to send it back. But if you want to return the car after a few bumps and scrapes, or have used it for a week’s worth of long-distance commuting, then your refund would normally be adjusted to account for the reduced value of the vehicle.

   

Buying an approved used car online

Choose an approved used car from an online seller and you can rely on it being thoroughly checked and inspected before it’s delivered to you.

These cars (which make up much of BuyaCar's stock) are generally in good condition, with low-mileage, and have been cherry-picked for approved used schemes.

Every vehicle is inspected - from its mechanical parts to its paintwork, and its history is checked too, to ensure that there’s no finance outstanding, the mileage is genuine and that it hasn’t been in a heavy crash.

Approved used cars also come with a warranty as standard (as do all of BuyaCar's vehicles), providing an extra safety net in the unlikely event of any issues.

See the latest best used car deals

   

Test driving a used car when buying online

The advantage of online car buying is that you can search for cars from across Britain and find the best price without stepping out of your house.

This does mean, however, that test drives aren’t possible before you purchase the car.

That’s where the 14-day money-back guarantee comes in. Once your car is delivered, you’ll have two weeks to ensure that you’re completely happy living with it.

That’s plenty of time to ensure that the child seats fit, the dog can get comfortable or there’s space for your weekend break suitcases. If you don’t love it, then you’ll be able to return it.

If you choose to use BuyaCar, then you’ll also be able to rely on our knowledgeable sales staff who will listen to your requirements and advise on the best cars for your circumstances if needed.

Ensure you're fully informed with our car buying guides

     

Arranging tax and insurance when buying a used car online

You’re free to choose the best insurance policy for you when buying a car online. Once you’ve placed the order for your car, you’ll need to arrange this yourself, as you would if you were buying from a standard dealership.

It makes sense to get a quote as soon as possible, as these are usually guaranteed for several days. Once your car’s delivery date has been confirmed, you can then arrange for your insurance to start on that day. 

If you’re buying on finance then it may be possible to roll the cost of your first year’s insurance into your monthly payments. This may be cheaper than paying monthly with your insurer.

You will be able to tax your car once it is delivered, as you’ll need the official licensing documents that come with the vehicle. This is a fast process that can be done online or over the phone.

     

Guarantees when buying a used car online

You should expect a warranty with any used car being sold online: if the seller is promising you a quality car, then they should reinforce their claims with cover that protects you if anything goes wrong.

For nearly-new cars, this is likely to be the remainder of the warranty that the vehicle came with when new. If this has expired, then it will be an additional used car warranty.
For further peace of mind, you may want to consider extending the warranty yourself. You may be offered a discount if you pay for this when you buy the car.

     

Buying a used car online and having it delivered

With delivery to your door, you really don’t need to leave your house when buying a car online.

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

If you are buying on finance, then the lender will require the car to be delivered to the home address that’s on the finance paperwork. Cash buyers can choose to have their car delivered elsewhere; to a work address, for example.

Most buyers choose to have their car driven to their door, which is the cheapest form of delivery. There is also the option to have it brought on a transporter.

If you are part-exchanging your existing vehicle, then this would normally be picked up from your home. If possible, this will be done on the same day as your new car is delivered.

Search for cars that can be delivered within a fortnight

    

Buying a used car online: checklist

Once you’ve ensured that you’re buying a car that's been checked and guaranteed, you can worry less about its condition and more about its specification.

It’s important to check that you’re getting everything that you expect because car manufacturers regularly alter the amount of standard equipment that’s fitted to their cars. For example, if you buy a BMW built after September 2015, then it should have sat-nav, because all cars were fitted with navigation as standard from that date. If you’re buying a model that was built a year earlier, then you’ll need to look at its equipment list to see if it’s included.

Even nearly-new cars can be unpredictable: don’t assume that they will have the same options that are fitted to brand new models. You can quickly check the standard specification of used cars for sale by checking the description. But if there's an essential feature you require then it's safest to get confirmation from the seller.

    

Buying a used car online with BuyaCar

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

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