Used Car Purchase: Dealer, private or online?
A new year has dawned and for many people this is synonymous with buying a new vehicle, for example because they need it to get to their new job. There are many ways to get your first vehicle. Do you search classically at the local dealer, look around in private advertisements or buy directly online from your smartphone? There are plenty of options, as well as advantages and disadvantages. The local used car dealer The used car market is always evolving, but one thing has stayed the same: Classic used car dealerships are still around in every city. Large or smaller yards, packed with a variety of cars, sometimes colorfully decorated, sometimes soberly designed and of high quality. But the principle is always the same: Stop by, test drive, buy a car. Buying from a used car dealer has many advantages. The greatest strength is certainly the selection. Many different models from numerous manufacturers are available in the portfolio. Within one hour at a used car dealer you can find out fast, which vehicle type suits you as well as test drive it. Test drives are also usually possible without any problems or obligation. Beyond that nearly all these used car dealers offer their vehicles via on-line platforms such as mobile.de or Autoscout24.de. This way, you can browse through the dealer's portfolio before vising in person. But where there is light, there is also darkness. Used car dealers do not have the best reputation due to a few black sheep. Many buyers have been misled by false promises or deceptive statements about the vehicle's condition and have lost a lot of money or even purchased an unsafe vehicle. The usually somewhat higher vehicle price compared to other purchase options also speaks against the classic used car purchase. However, an argument in favor of the dealer is that they have to honor certain warranties. If, for example, it turns out after the purchase that something is wrong with the vehicle, the dealer is responsible. In addition, the vast majority of dealers offer vehicle financing, so that even a more expensive model can be purchased without any problems. Used car dealers are definitely better than their reputation and it is worth looking for a vehicle there. The wide selection and legal safeguards make buying a car almost entirely worry-free. Buy from private By far the most popular way to buy a used car is from private sources. From private means that the current owner (or an authorized representative) advertises a vehicle on an online platform, for example, and takes care of inquiries, inspections, test drive and sale themselves. The biggest advantage, for both parties, is obvious: the price. Generally, privately sold used cars are cheaper than those sold by dealers. At the same time, private sellers earn more, as dealers' purchase prices are generally lower because they otherwise cannot make a margin. A classic win-win situation for both sides. The biggest problem, however, is the significantly increased risk for buyers. Private sellers are subject to virtually no warranty obligations; the principle of "bought as seen" applies. Buyers must therefore trust the information provided by the seller. Known defects or defects unknown even to the previous owners are often not mentioned. This endangers the road safety of the new owners and can lead to high follow-up costs. Another advantage is the fast, non-bureaucratic handling of a private purchase. It usually takes very little time from contacting the seller to the actual purchase. In the meantime, it also has become customary to fill out a purchase contract. If there are serious defects later, such a contract can be worth its weight in gold. Buy a used car online For some time now, more and more online service providers have been entering the used car market. The promises of these services are great: completely digital used car buying with the service that online buyers are used to, incl. free delivery and 14-day return policy. Buying a used car online is a completely new and unique experience. Just like regular online shopping, you click through the selection and choose the vehicle that appeals to you the most. After the order is placed, the vehicle is loaded onto mostly enclosed vans and shipped to buyers at no additional cost. Then, you usually have between 14 and 30 days to test the vehicle and if necessary, return it. Buying a car is almost like buying a piece of clothing. For buyers, it’s an interesting and quite convenient model. However, this slows down the car buying process enormously. The selection and purchase can be completed quickly online, but then you wait for the vehicle. And just as a piece of clothing often doesn't fit well the first time around, the same can happen when buying a car. While the risk posed by the aforementioned cancellation rights is minimized for the buyer, it will not be worthwhile for either buyers or sellers to transport multiple vehicles back and forth. So, buying a used car online is worthwhile primarily for buyers who have already decided on a particular model and now want to buy that vehicle with the greatest possible certainty. Strong consumer protection and, as a rule, freshly serviced vehicles minimize the risk. Conclusion - Find your own way The ideal vehicle purchase does not exist. Each path has its pros and cons, risks and inconveniences. For buyers, the increasing variety of options for buying a car is positive. New offerings such as uncomplicated online purchasing also increase security, as classic dealers or other providers must offer the same consumer protection to remain attractive. No matter which way you buy a car, one thing should always be standard: Checking the vehicle history. The history of a used car determines its value to a considerable extent and is also an indicator of the vehicle's roadworthiness. "Life events" such as passed or failed inspections, possible accidents, mileage and other events are - depending on the data situation - stored in the vehicle history and allow conclusions to be drawn about the vehicle's condition. Only those who are well informed when searching for a used car will be able to make a purchase with a good feeling!