buying a used car
Buying a Car August 9, 2019

Buying a Used Car: Dealer, Private or Auction?

With over 85,000 used cars on TradeMe, there’s oodles of choice when buying a used car. There’s also plenty to consider – SUV or wagon? Diesel or petrol? How many kms and how much to spend? You’ll also need to decide whether you buy from a dealer or privately. There are a few key differences, so we’ve laid out all you need to know to buy right.

Buying from a Dealer

You’re covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act and Fair Trading Act

This means the vehicle should be of acceptable quality, fit for purpose and as described. You can seek a repair, replacement or refund if the car dealer doesn’t comply with these obligations.

Dealers are often more knowledgeable of specific cars and models

Dealers are legally obliged to give accurate information, but they also just know their cars. It’s important to remember not all dealers are created equal – some are more credible than others.

You can view different options in one place 

Instead of traipsing around town to multiple private sellers, it’s handy that dealers have a whole range to see under one roof. Often, multiple dealers are even located on the same street.

Buying Privately

Buying directly from a private seller means you’re not paying the dealer mark-up costs, which can save you hundreds (or thousands). Although this may seem tempting, it’s important to note there are more risks involved. Most importantly, there are no warranties or guarantees when buying privately. If you’ve purchased a car with an engine that completely fails the following week, there’s nothing that can be done about it – other than pay the hefty repair bill.

There are a few ways to avoid buying a lemon – getting a professional pre-purchase inspection, checking the WOF, and checking there is no money owing on the car.

Buying at Auction

Going once, going twice. A used car auction can be a great way to nab the right car at the right price, but there’s a few things to know. It’s important to be prepared – bidding at auction enters you into an unconditional sales contract, which means you’re locked in to a purchase.

Know your limit

Buying at auction is different to one-on-one negotiating. Everything happens quickly, and it can be easy to get carried away. It’s a good idea to know exactly how much you want to spend (and can afford) before bidding.

Do your due-diligence

Buying at auction carries the sames risks as buying privately, with no guarantees or warranties. So it’s best to allow plenty of time to carry out any test drives and inspections prior to auction.

Have your finance sorted

Winning at auction means you’re legally obligated to go ahead with the purchase. If you’re using car finance, you’ll want to get pre-approved for a car loan before bidding. Getting your finance sorted in advance will help you know exactly how much you can afford.

Whichever way you end up buying your new wheels, Sprint Finance can help with a car loan. With 60 second approvals, fair rates and flexible criteria, you’ll be on the road in no time.

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