Car Dealer Research

Why every car buyer should research who they are buying from. Don't put your money at risk

An industry with a distinct lack of trust. Car buyers who don’t enjoy the car buying experience. The below outlines the major issues facing UK car buyers.

AutoTrader identified that only 7% of car buyers trust car dealers
of us know somebody who has been ripped off by a car dealer
buying a car comes only 2nd in expense after buying a house

So why aren't we doing more?

There are many factors that lead car buyers to make a purchase without taking due diligence and going the extra mile to learn about who they are buying from.

  • We get emotionally attached to the look of a potential new car
  • The salesperson makes a great pitch
  • Not enough information online
  • A recommendation was enough to convince us to trust a dealership


Spending 5 years reading reviews from car buyers has left me in no doubt that in this day and age that the above is not enough! We MUST do more to protect what is a big investment. The below steps I would suggest are the minimum car buyers should undertake.

  • Never hand over any cash before doing any research on the dealership you are buying from

Checks you must make before contacting a used dealership

The following advice, check and questions are really directed towards independent dealerships where you have little or no knowledge about them.

  • Google the dealerships name- what can you find out about them?
  • Always look for reviews. Read the reviews and not just the star ratings you find. Read more about online reviews here
  • One source of information is not enough- continue searching for more
  • Read the dealerships website- does it say how long they have been established?
  • Do any other dealerships operate from the same premises? Be wary if the answer is yes.
  • Negative reviews- what are they saying? If there is a common theme then listen to other car buyers. If someone else has been ripped off then there is a chance you might be too
  • If you find news articles online about a dealership then this spells trouble
  • No visibility of this business online? Experience teaches me that your should proceed with the upmost caution and in most instances I would say AVOID!

Your visit to the dealership

Having conducted your basic pre visit checks on the dealership your looking to purchase your next vehicle from we recommend you consider the following:

  • If more than one dealership operates from the same premises you must establish who you are dealing with. Does this match where what was on the advert?
  • Does the premises match what you saw on their website?
  • What condition are the other cars?
  • Is your car as described in the advert?
  • Was your car ready one arrival?
  • IF the answer to any of the above was NO, alarm bells should be ringing
  • You MUST ask questions and seek clarification from the dealership. Sometimes in life we have to trust our gut instincts and walk away. There are other cars out there.

Are you buying a car from distance

Buying a car from distance increases the risk factor so your checks become even more important than with a local dealer.

  • Warrany. Are you covered to get this fixed at a local garage to you or do you have to return the car to the dealership? If the latter, buying from this dealership may not be an option.
  • If the dealership agree to have the car fixed at a local garage to you, for peace of mind ask this via email before you visit the car or hand over a deposit on the phone.

Get any promises in writing

Do NOT make the same mistake we read about every day. Do NOT take a salespersons word as an agreement, they are not your friend and this will not hold up when making a complaint.

  • Ask the dealership to clearly outline any fixes they promise to make in writing
  • Check the name on the invoice or receipt is the same dealership you first saw the advert for. IF its not, ask why? If the dealership is well established the risk is lower than if they are relatively new.
  • If you have a warranty included in your purchase then you must get in writing where you are allowed to take the car to be fixed. If you are buying from distance and have to return the car to a chose garage then things could become expensive and complicated.

Order a car dealer background check today

Learn more about who you are buying from with the only car dealer background check available in the UK courtesy of our team here at Carbuco.

Author: Carbuco

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