Why is it that the more cash-strapped people are, the more likely they are to get a bad deal? Our latest investigation into online car buying sites proves that desperation to sell often means a bad price for your motor.
Imagine that you’ve just lost your job and can’t think of any way to buy food or pay your mortgage than to sell your car.
Doesn’t the sound of a buyer who won’t wince over the odd paintwork scratch, or suck air through his teeth looking at the state of the interior, and try to knock down your price sound like a dream come true?
Well, the likes of Webuyanycar.com and Trademymotor.co.uk say they’ll give you a fair price for your car and complete the deal quickly, safely and easily. But I say don’t be fooled into thinking they’ll give you a decent price for your motor.
How low will you go?
In our research all the prices offered by Webuyanycar were well below the trade value of our cars – that’s the price you could expect to get selling it at auction. This is generally well below the amount you could expect from a high street dealer or in a private sale.
Worse still, Trademymotor.co.uk not only offered low prices, but some were reduced – in one case by more than £1,000 because the inspector said it needed a re-spray – when the seller took the car to the depot. Afterwards, the seller was distraught and seriously concerned that her car had a major paintwork problem – it didn’t.
Yet, because our mystery shoppers didn’t really want to sell their cars, they refused these derisory offers. And surprise, surprise, the prices offered by Trademymotor.co.uk started to creep back up. It seems to me that it’s blatantly clear that the Trademymotor.co.uk buyers were simply trying their luck – and that could mean that the more desperate you are to sell, the less you’re likely to walk away with a decent return.
Trading Standards needs to step in
We think this is such bad practice that we’ve reported our findings on Trademymotor.co.uk to Trading Standards, and are hoping they take a closer look at the way the company operates.
Personally I think that any company that aims to make a living by paying well below the market value for goods – and in doing so leaves people even more short of money when times are already tight – should be closely monitored and penalised if they flout consumer protection regulations.
Have you obtained a valuation from an online car buying firm, or sold your car to one? If so, how did you fare?