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Should I Buy a Second-hand Car from a Private Seller?

For more than a decade, car listing sites have posed a serious threat to dealers, making it easier than ever for buyers to purchase cars from a private seller. If you’re in the market for a second-hand car, it’s more likely than not that you’ll consider a private seller, but should you? Before you start making enquiries, keep the following in mind.  

You might beat the dealer on price…

Buying a car through a private seller is generally going to save you a bit of money compared to buying the same car through a dealer, and for obvious reasons. With no lot to maintain, no salaries to pay and no overheads, a private seller is able to offer you a much better deal than you’d otherwise get at a dealership. 

This difference can be substantial, with some models going for several thousand dollars less than could be found at the dealership. A good rule of thumb is that car is going to sell privately for between what the owner would get on a trade-in and what it sell for on the lot, so do your research if you want to get an idea of how much you could be up for. 

…but did you get what you paid for? 

Choosing to buy privately often allows you to get a better deal but does bring with it several risks. First and foremost is whether you’re getting the car that was advertised. Dealers have to comply with a raft of legislation whenever they sell a car, including certifying that the car is roadworthy, and functions as advertised. A dealer must guarantee that there is no money owing on a car, and buyers must be provided with a roadworthy certificate before taking possession of the car. Dealers may also be required to provide a statutory warranty of three months or 5000 kilometres on a used car and must make you aware of any existing faults not covered by the warranty. 

Penalties are stiff for a dealership found to be selling cars in non-roadworthy condition, so while they have a reputation for aggressive sales tactics, you can generally trust in the quality of the product. Less so with a private sale. Cars bought through private sale do not come with a statutory warranty and it is the buyer’s responsibility to have the car inspected – normally at additional cost. A buyer in a hurry may neglect to do this, potentially leaving them with a car that’s already in need of expensive repairs. Additionally, buyers need to check if there’s any money owing on the car – you may be liable for repayments if you purchase a car that’s not full paid off. 

The best of both worlds 

What if we said you could get behind the wheel of a new model car for less than the price of a private sale, with all the protections and warranties of buying from a dealer? And you never have to worry about renewal notices again? And you can change your car any time you want with two weeks’ notice? 

A better way to drive awaits you at Carbar. We offer an alternative to car ownership. Skip the late nights trawling car listing sites and days lost to visiting buyers and start driving sooner on our car subscription service. For as little as $109 a week, you’ll have your pick of top-quality, late-model cars from respected manufacturers like Jeep, Jaguar and Mercedes, giving you more choice than you’d ever have from a dealership. Included in your weekly fee are all registration, servicing, insurance and roadside assistance costs, so you’ll never have to worry about bills, renewals and late notices. 

To learn more about car subscription, browse our range of vehicles or join for free, visit carbar.com.au today.

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