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Independent Used Car Dealers

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 5 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Used Car Sales Dealers Selling

Mention used car salesmen and many people will conjure up images of an unscrupulous character in the mould of Arthur Daley, clad in a sheepskin jacket and trilby hat and sucking on a fat cigar. The truth is that the majority of independent car dealers have long since shed this tacky image and can offer facilities similar to those at franchised dealers.

True, the cars offered by an independent dealer will probably have more miles on the clock than the ones sold by a franchised dealer, but independent dealers live and die by their reputations so buyers can expect a good standard of customer service and quality cars.

Buying from a car dealer should be one of the easiest and safest ways to buy a used car, first and foremost because they want to sell cars but also because they are bound by laws which give buyers certain rights if things go wrong.

Buyers Are Protected

Anyone buying a used car from a dealer in the UK is protected by the Sale of Goods Act 1979, which, in simple terms, means that the goods must meet an acceptable standard. As an extra safeguard, buyers can look out for dealers who have signed up to the Office of Fair Trading Consumer Codes Approval Scheme, the British Standard Institute (BSI) Automotive Kite mark, or the Retail Motor Industry Federation.

All these bodies ensure their dealers are reputable and will strive to provide a good service, but that does not necessarily mean any dealer not signed up is out to rip off buyers. Speak to family and friends who have recently bought a used car in the area and find out what experiences they have had at various showrooms.

The majority of the country's used car dealers are independent. The size of these businesses can vary greatly, from one individual selling a small range of cars at his home address through to massive sites with hundreds of vehicles in stock.

Limited Range of Services

Unlike franchised dealers, independent dealers are not affiliated to any particular car manufacturer. This means buyers can get the benefit of independent advice, but on the down side independent dealers do not need to maintain standards as high as franchises do, so some will offer only a limited range of services.

Even still, just about all independent dealers will take the buyer's car in part exchange and many will offer low deposits, finance options and warranties too. A part exchange deal has to be one of the most convenient aspects of buying a used car from a dealer, but buyers have to be realistic.

Get a good idea of what the car is worth before setting off and remember that independent dealers are, in general, more likely to be open to haggling than car supermarkets or franchised dealers. An independent dealer is in the business to clinch sales, but will offer less for a trade-in than it would cost to buy the car on the forecourt.

This is because the dealer will either tidy the car up and sell it on for a profit or sell the car on to another dealer. He may even take the car to auction, which can be a bit of a lottery, but he will not want to lose out. Those willing to sell their old car privately may be able to get a better price, so be prepared to turn down a trade-in offer if it is not up to scratch.

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