5 Tips for Buying a Used Car from a Dealer

Car buyer googling tips for buying a used car on macbook

Fourteen hours. That’s the average amount of time people take to research the used car model they want. This makes sense to us: buying a car is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. However, the same amount of time isn’t taken to research the car dealer to buy it from, which needs to change. We believe the right car will always come from the right place. Read on for our five tips for buying a used car from a dealer.

Choosing a reputable used car dealer comes down to lots of things. However, to make things a bit easier we’ve outlined the five main questions you should ask yourself before making any final decisions.

1. Does the dealer have a strong online presence?

A good, functional website is a positive sign of a reputable business. Take a look around and see if it’s easy to browse and navigate – a disorganised website could indicate a disorganised company.

Secondly, search for information around the dealer’s reputation. Any reputable company will want to promote the way they operate and their previous success. What’s more, you’ll also get a good indication of whether their approach to doing business matches with how you like things done.

Thirdly, make sure there is plenty of information on the cars they have listed. For instance, there should be be lots of images of the interior and exterior, a detailed record of specification, previous owners, mileage, etc.

2. Have you read the dealer’s reviews?

Reviews can give you a good understanding of the overall quality of the dealership. In addition, reviews give insight into their previous customers’ experiences. It is a great sign when the dealer is comfortable asking for reviews and posting them on their website or social media platform. This suggests that they are passionate and confident about their customer service.

As well as checking the dealer’s website, it’s also good to have a look at their social media platforms. Since these platforms encourage interaction between customers and business, you’ll get a good sense of their customer service levels. If there are questionable conversations on their social media platform, that’s not a good sign.

3. How long has the dealer been trading for?

Selling used cars can be a tough business so many used car dealers come and go. Of course, this can be due to a number of uncontrollable factors. However, it’s also important to consider that well-established dealerships remain in the market for a reason.

Bear in mind that if you have issues with your car and it is under warranty, you’ll not be able to get a resolution if they stopped trading twelve months earlier! Therefore, it is usually safer to choose a well-established dealership.

4. Is the dealer a member of any industry-recognised associations?

Being a member of recognised associations proves that you are proud of what you do. What’s more, you are willing to be held accountable for your work. All reputable dealers should display a trade association member logo. Probably more than other industries, this is considered a must in the car dealership trade.

Examples of associations that are worth looking out for are the ‘Financial Conduct Authority’ (FCA), the ‘Institute of the Motor Industry’ (IMI) or ‘Retail Motor Industry Federation’ (RMIF).

5. What aftercare would be available to you?

Buying a car is a substantial commitment. You’ll want to be sure that you are safeguarded if anything should go wrong. That’s why we believe every reputable dealer should have some form of aftercare scheme in place.

If a dealer is willing to offer good aftercare services (such as MOT, car repairs or car servicing) you know that they are committed to looking after their customers.

What My Car Credit offers

We recognised how challenging it can be to look for a used car. We hope these tips for buying a used car help you in your search. In addition, we have our own network of approved ‘My Car Dealers’.

My Car Dealers have been vetted by us for their status with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which establishes their trustworthiness and financial stability. What’s more, we conduct audits to ensure that they are personable too. You’ll get access to an extensive stock list of quality nearly-new and used cars. In addition, you can be confident that you’ll get a wide choice, the best experience and excellent after-sale service.

So, put these tips for buying a used car into action today and get the wheels in motion for your next car!


Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!

Is there a cooling off period when you sign up for car finance?

Vehicle skids around during cooling off period

Be honest with yourself, at some point you’ve judged somebody by the car that they drive. We know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but sometimes it’s far too fun! So, here’s some of the car brands and stereotypes people have about them.*

Whether you have rushed into your agreement or you’ve found a better deal elsewhere, you should be able to cancel your car finance agreement for up to 14 days after you signed on the dotted line. This two-week period is known as a ‘cooling off period’.

Cooling off periods

Under the Consumer Credit Act, you should have 14 days to withdraw from a credit or loan agreement. This is applicable to all finance agreements, regardless of whether you made it in person with the lender, over the phone or on via an internet process.

The 14-day period begins on the day you sign/agree to the contract, when you receive a copy of the agreement or from when you get a notification from your bank records that you have received the loan.
This applies to any Hire Purchase, Personal Loan or Personal Contract Purchase that amounts to below £25,000. Any higher amount will be susceptible to the terms and conditions of the agreement and/or the lender’s decision. In addition, the right to withdraw does not apply to any loan above £60,260.

How to cancel a loan agreement

You will have to provide a notice of your withdrawal either in writing or verbally. Most often you will have to repay any interest that has occurred between taking out the loan and repayment.
The deposit you can pay to secure some car finance deals will often be kept by the car finance lender. It is possible to get this back under special circumstances (i.e. if there has been unlawful conduct or you have signed the contract away from the premises) but it is highly unlikely.

Returning the car

Whilst you can cancel a car finance agreement, you will not always be able to return the car and receive your money back. If you have bought your car on the premises of a car dealership and signed a vehicle form at that location, you must pay for the car in full within 14 days, or within the specified time limit agreed in your contract via an alternative finance option. This is because a vehicle order form is a binding contract.

There are two exceptions to this rule: if you bought off-premises (i.e. via the phone or internet) and you did not sign a vehicle order form from the dealership, or if the car is not as specified in the contract (i.e. it’s different in specification or it is faulty).

We know that sometimes rash decisions can be made and you can jump into a car finance agreement without taking enough consideration. This is one of the main reasons that a ‘cooling period’ was created. However, it’s always important to know exactly what your options are in the event that you need to cancel a finance agreement. We hope this has given you more understanding of those options, for more information visit the GOV website here.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!

Will my dealer repair or replace the faulty car I bought?

Car mechanic checks over faulty car bought on finance

When you buy a new or used car, the last thing you want is for something to be wrong with your vehicle. However, this does unfortunately happen from time to time, and it’s best to know where you stand if anything should go wrong. Thankfully, there are guidelines in place – The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 – protecting you as the customer.

So, if you are experiencing issues that prevent your new car from operating as it should – you are legally entitled to have the car fixed or refunded. However, it’s important to be 100% sure that your situation falls within the remit of the guidelines. Here’s everything you need to know:

What is the Consumer Rights Act of 2015?

The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 was introduced in October 2015 and applies to any new or used car bought from a vehicle trader. This includes cars bought from a car dealership franchise and independent garage, but importantly not those bought privately via an individual or at a car auction.

This piece of legislation outlines the main criteria under which a car can be returned by you to receive a full refund. When you buy a car from a franchise or dealership: it must be of ‘satisfactory quality’, be sold ‘as described’ and be ‘fit for purpose’. If there is any breach of these conditions you can return the car within 30 days and receive a full refund. This includes any fault to the vehicle which has not been caused by you during that 30-day period time.

If there is a fault with your car, and it occurs after this 30-day period but before you have had ownership of the vehicle for more than six months, the vehicle trader must correct the fault. If they are unable to fix the vehicle, you can then return the car (note: the refund will however consider any use of the car up to this point).

In both cases, a replacement may also be a viable option. So, if you buy a car and really like the model, it might be more beneficial to ask the dealer for a replacement of the same model as opposed to pushing for a refund.

What counts as a fault with your vehicle?

This is where things get slightly more complicated. The basics of the matter is that anything which prevents your car from operating properly is a fault. For example, your engine cutting out, your windows not working or something wrong with the wheel axis, are all considered major faults. This would entitle you to a full refund.

If there are lesser issues, such as the seats not being able to be adjusted, the headlight bulb ceasing to work, or a problem with air conditioning (that was not specified on your purchase of the vehicle) your dealer is obliged to fix them. However, these issues do not entitle you to a refund.

Should there be any debate between parties over whether a fault is major or minor – we advise seeking legal advice and/or support.

How do you go about returning a car or having it repaired?

The first thing to do is make sure your complaint is recognised. ‘Recognised’ simply means calling up your dealer directly and informing them of the major or minor faults with the vehicle. This is standard protocol and gives you the reassurance that they know of your complaint. To back this up, you should always put your case in writing as well, this can be via email or post. We recommend email as the communications between you and the dealer are recorded and can be used for any legal procedures, if necessary.

If you have bought a car on finance, you follow exactly the same procedure but (depending on circumstances) the dealer will contact your finance lender on your behalf. To safeguard yourself, it’s always best to ask to be kept aware of these communications (via CC). You can also follow up with the finance lender yourself, if you wish.

When you buy a new or used car, the last thing on your mind is the possibility of something going wrong with the vehicle. In the unfortunate case that this does happen, it’s always best to know your options and have a good understanding of The Consumer Rights Act of 2015.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!