Is It Best to Buy a Used Car from a Dealer or a Private Seller?

So, you’ve decided you want to save some money and buy yourself a used car over a new one. The next question is whether it is best to buy from a dealer or a private seller? There is much debate over this topic and it depends heavily on the dealer or individual in question. Here, we will take a look at the pros and cons of each option.

Private Sellers

Buying from a private seller can be a double-edged sword. Whilst a reliable seller comes with the benefits of knowing their car inside out and being able to explain its full history to you, a less reliable seller may be predisposed to fabricate information about the vehicle in order to make a quick sale or get a higher price. This is why it is important to assess the reliability of a seller before agreeing to a purchase. There are a number of ways in which you can fact check their information, such as asking to see the car’s service history and receipts for any repairs, paying for an online check using their licence plate number as an identifier, or examining the car for any signs of damage or wear. Another negative of buying from an individual is that you are less likely to be able to get any compensation should anything go wrong following the purchase. On the other hand, you are dealing with the first point of call, which often means prices are slightly lower and the room for negotiation is greater. The key thing to remember, however, is that private sellers do not have their reputation on the line, meaning they have less incentive to tell the truth, so always be vigilant.

Car Dealers

Again, with car dealers, reliability is everything. The most significant reason to buy from a dealer over a private seller is that they have their business’s reputation to uphold, which means they are far more predisposed to want happy customers. This means they will usually be truthful about the state of the car, offer fair prices and follow up if any problems occur soon after the sale. For this reason, too, it is likely that you will only be able to receive finance on a used car if it was bought from a reputable seller and not a private owner. If you are looking for used cars for sale in Canberra, there are professional dealers who thoroughly inspect every aspect of the vehicle before selling and they also offer protection plans for your peace of mind.

The Verdict

Unless you are sure you are buying from a reputable private seller, you are safest opting for a trustworthy dealer instead. When buying from a private seller, always ensure that a comprehensive legal contract is drawn up and signed. If you want to feel confident in your purchase, however, a reputable dealer cannot be beaten, as you know you can always go back to them in the event of a problem.