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We’re looking at the pros and cons of buying from used car dealerships, franchised dealers, auctions and private sellers.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to buying a new or used car; there’s no absolute right or wrong, but each has its pros and cons:

October 11th 2019 info

The ‘peace of mind’ benefits of buying from a dealer

A used car dealer will typically be able to offer; car sales, part-exchange and finance, with some also providing aftersales (car servicing) facilities as well.

All dealers operate with a duty of care to their customers and are also regulated by prescribed legal standards and regulations. Dealers are also responsible for ensuring that the cars they sell have; accurate mileage; are not subject to a finance (if it is they must settle any such agreement before selling it) and they must declare if the vehicle has ever been written off.

With findandfund, you have the added bonus of only seeing listings from MotoNovo approved dealers. You’ll be able to see their star rating and usually some customer reviews too. Our dealers go through a rigorous inspection process before joining the platform and are regularly checked, with the aim to keep all our trusted dealers rated 3 stars or above.

Buying from a franchised dealer

A franchised dealer is one who is authorised to sell a manufacturer’s such as Ford/Vauxhall/Toyota.

Franchised dealers have to work to a high standard and are likely to take great care buying and preparing their used car stock. They, as with all trade dealers, operate to a high duty of care under consumer rights regulation. It all means that while you might pay a little more, you can often do so with that extra level of confidence.

A franchised dealer will be able to offer a full service; the car sale, part-exchange, finance and aftersales (car servicing) which can be convenient.

Buying from an auction

Vehicles offered at a live auction come from a variety of places; trade-ins that dealers do not want to retail, end of contract fleet vehicles and finance company repossessions to name a few. It is possible to ‘bag a bargain’, but it comes with risks:

  • There is usually no opportunity to test drive the vehicle
  • Depending on the T&Cs you are likely to be buying ‘sold as seen’ so there are no regulatory rights
  • While some auctions do offer ‘guarantees; or insurance (at a cost) and a cooling off period – your rights are likely to be limited

Buying from a private seller

You’ll likely be able to find cheaper deals from private sellers and if you know the person and car then this could be a good option. But, if something goes wrong then your rights are limited and you won’t have the same legal protection as you would buying from a dealer. The legal terms that cover a private sale contract are:

  • That the seller must have the right to sell the car
  • The vehicle should match the description given by the seller
  • The car must be roadworthy (unless clearly advertised as being un-roadworthy such as a car being sold for spares or repairs/restoration)

In all private purchases, make sure you undertake rigorous pre-purchase checks to ensure the car has not been written off or is subject to finance. Lastly, always be very wary if a private seller wants to meet you somewhere other than at their home, or if their name is not on the V5C registration document; this might be a red flag.


Don’t forget to think through all your options before you make a purchase, price isn’t always the most important thing! Safety, trust and condition also factor highly in the decision making process when people are looking for their next car, van or bike.

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