The benefits of buying a used car are endless, especially for those who are looking to find a true bargain. However, the used car industry tends to struggle against a reputation that is less than kind - and despite the fact that millions of people buy used cars without problems every year, it’s a reputation that seems destined to stick.
If you have never bought a used car before, then the chances are that the fact used car dealers have - at best - questionable reputations can be enough to deter you from exploring this option. However, avoiding the entire used car industry can be hugely restrictive, so instead, it’s best to learn more about the techniques that dodgy dealers tend to use, so you know so you can always separate the good dealers from the bad…
Lack of online presence
An online presence is crucial for any business in the modern world, a fact that reputable dealers such as Motormill understand and seek to cater to. However, dodgy used car dealers aren’t running reputable businesses; they’re out to make a quick buck, so they’re not going to invest in establishing an online presence of any kind. As a result, if a dealer doesn’t have a website or social media accounts, it may be best to look elsewhere.
Deals that are only available right now
Trustworthy car dealers will occasionally run special deals on their vehicles, so the presence of a deal alone should not be considered a red flag. However, if you visit a dealership and they tell you that they can do you, specifically, a special deal today - and only today - then be extremely cautious. At the very least, ask for a few hours to mull the decision over; no reputable dealer will have a problem with this, so if you’re further pressured into making the decision immediately, then you may be best to walk away.
Dodging questions about service histories
When buying a used car, it’s important to ask to see MOT and service history for that specific vehicle. In some cases, these might not be available - there are legitimate reasons a service history can be lost, after all - but it’s always important to ask. A good dealer will usually be honest if some parts of the history are missing because they have absolutely nothing to hide.
However, a dodgy dealer may have something to hide such as a fault with the car or a history of accidents, so they will be far more evasive. Instead, a dodgy dealer will often try to cover for the lack of history, perhaps saying that they definitely have the documents somewhere, but they’re not sure where, and perhaps they could just post everything to you when it’s found. These stories are not to be trusted and hint that there’s an underlying reason the dealer may be trying to fudge the question.
By avoiding used car dealers who use any of the above techniques, you can be confident that any used car you buy is being sold by one of the thousands of legitimate, trustworthy dealers in operation across the country.