Which? has found several online car buying firms asking sellers to agree to a legally binding contract prior to inspection, or to pay a fee if the sale doesn’t go ahead.
Which? took a closer look at the biggest online car buying firm, Webuyanycar.com. While it doesn’t ask sellers to commit upfront to contracts or fees, selling cars on this site, rather than trading them in at a dealership, could leave sellers more than £1,500 out of pocket.
One Which? researcher offered to sell her Renault Modus to Webuyanycar.com expecting an offer of around £4,000 - she was surprised by the site’s £3,320 valuation, which was reduced yet further to £2,550 when she took her car to the Webuyanycar.com depot.
Although a £640 deduction for bodywork repairs was eventually waived, taking the price back up to £3,190, the researcher felt the Webuyanycar.com employee’s tactics were so pushy that she felt in danger of leaving the depot without her car. Three out of the five Which? Car researchers felt they were offered very low prices and had experienced pressure buying tactics at Webuyanycar.com depots.
The consumer watchdog advises that people use this company only as a last resort. Part-exchanging your old car, or even selling it at auction (usually the least cost-effective method of selling) will probably be more profitable.
Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive, Which?, says:
“Next time you get Webuyanycar.com’s repetitive jingle stuck in your head, remember: just because they buy any car doesn’t mean they’re the best people to sell to. Think carefully before selling to an online car buying firm or you could be left seriously out of pocket.”