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Buyers Guide

Products Explained Buyers Guide

Buying cars from classifieds / online auctions

If possible always go to look at a car before committing to buy, however even if you commit to buy a car and find it is not as described then you are not legally obliged to buy it.

Always arrange to view or collect the car from the owner at their home address and check this address against the V5. If the seller would prefer to meet you at a services or is collecting you from a train station, insist on completing the paper work at their home.

Where possible view the car on a dry clear day as this will enable you to get a good look at the paintwork, which can look much better than it really is in the rain. Also you won't get wet when checking under the car.

Check everything works, the windows, the sunroof, any accessories. Once you hand over the money any faults you find after that will be up to you to fix. If you do find something is not working, use it to knock some money off the deal.

Check the Vin plate matches the V5 and that the VIN plate hasn't been disturbed. A clean Vin plate on a dirty vehicle is a bad sign. Anyone that has nothing to hide will not have a problem with hits :)

If the car has some history or old MOT's check the millage against them to check the car has not been clocked. Check for wear on the pedals, steering wheel and gearstick, any wear in these areas and low miles may indicate somethings wrong.

HPI check any car you are looking to buy, you can even do this by SMS for a few pounds if you don't have access to a PC.

If you are not comfortable with checking the car over yourself, you could get it inspected by an independent garage, or for a little more you can have a full RAC inspection. It may look expensive, but if the vehicle turns out to be a ringer or two cars welded together it could save you thousands.

Last but not least, if something doesn't feel right walk away.

Buying unseen parts via mail

There's a common saying, if its too good to be true, then it probably is! There's also another one 'Caveat Emptor' (Let the buyer beware). These are both worth keeping in your mind, however there are certain things you can do to protect yourself.

If you're buying from an online shop, pay with a credit card as you will have some recourse through your credit card company if the part never arrives or there are other difficulties.

If buying off a classifieds section or eBay then pay with PayPal as again there is protection offered if the goods are not as described or the goods never arrive. However always try to resolve the problem with the seller first as there may be a genuine reason for the problem.

Only pay by cheque if the seller is known to you, has a well known good reputation or has a feedback score which you can rely on.

It is a good idea to get contact details of the seller and speak to them (via e-mail or telephone) so that if there are problems you can contact them for an update.
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well worth the read. Makes the process simple for the trusting among us.
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