Ok, so the time has come to trade in the wheels, should you try to part exchange the car with the garage/dealership where you want to get its replacement, or should you sell it to one of the online buy-a-banger organisations who claim to take the pain out of selling your motor?
The short answer is that there isn’t a short answer. There is a welter of customer reviews on the web about the likes of We Buy Any Car but they range from the glowing to the ranting (and many of the ranting are of the opinion that the glowing are written by WBAC staff themselves). Since we can’t actually prove it one way or the other, let’s assume that the online car buyers are actually totally ethical and straight and just compare the concepts. (I’m not disparaging the ranting reviews….if you get what you feel to be poor service for heavens sake warn the rest of us poor mugs!)
Part exchanging through a dealer or garage gives the private seller leverage; the garage is taking your old car on the understanding that they are also selling you a new-to-you vehicle. This means that there is a quid pro quo…they know that to make the profit on the car they are selling you they have to give you a decent deal on the model they are taking off you. When you are selling to a WBAC-type outfit you have no leverage….they are offering to buy your car for a price which they are clearly going to make a profit on…..take it or leave it, they aren’t a charity.
Selling to a WBAC buyer at least gives you a starting point for the negotiation…you get a provisional quote online before you commit to even taking the car to them for an inspection, whereas taking your car to a dealer can be a hideous shock….I took my Renault Espace in to a dealer and was told it was in awful condition and they’d offer me £1500 in part exchange. I was really, really upset! I went home and put a “for sale” sign in the window of the car….I sold it after 8 days to a mechanic and his wife for £5995! That was five years ago and they are still driving it!
WBAC get a lot of stick for nibbling down the provisional offer on the grounds that the seller’s description didn’t include defects on the car…….this may be legitimate or it may be a deliberate tactic but either way they are in business to make a profit…if, as a customer, you don’t like their offer,you don’t have to accept it…that’s your leverage with WBAC.
A recent edition of Top Gear found that three second-hand, apparently identical BMWs (same age same spec, same mileage) were very different beasts and therefore in reality of very different value. If you want the best price for your old car you have to shop around, try the private sale, try the part exchange, speak to WBAC.
If all you want is an easy life then WBAC do offer an easy life…that is actually their proposition to the market; they will buy your car, but not at any price!