When it comes to buying a used car, some people take great risks. Buy from a private seller and you better have your wits about you because the odd bit of tyre kicking just isn't going to tell you all you need to know. After the sale, you have no comeback if there is a fault. You could drive to the bottom of the road, have all the doors fall off and the engine fall out and you have no comeback. So, in this day and age where we all have to be that little bit more careful with our hard earned money, then it certainly pays to choose your used car purchase carefully.
Using a forecourt dealer with an established reputation is often a good idea. Of course, this is no fail safe but the risks are much lower than purchasing from a private seller. There are certain laws that cover what you get for your money and give you a certain sense of security and it pays to know your rights before you even begin looking for your car.
Of course, if you already know the car you are looking for and not aimlessly window shopping then a franchised dealer, such as the used MINI dealerships that are around, although a touch more expensive, comes with even further assurances that you are getting a roadworthy vehicle that deserves its price tag. Used MINI are famous for the reputation that they come with. So much so that they are actually now referred to as 'cherished MINI's' and many people trust such dealerships rather than taking their chances with someone they have no comeback with.
However, getting back to the point, some tips on how the law covers you for buying a used car:
Buying a car from a dealer means you are covered under the Sale of Goods Act 1994 that items bought should be of satisfactory quality and fit for the purpose that they are sold for. If you buy a car to drive around in and you get to the end of the road and it falls apart, it obviously didn't meet with these requirements and you are fully entitled to recompense.
The vehicle should be 'as described'. You cannot be offered one thing and then have it replaced with an alternative without your agreement. The above rules do not cover you if you simply change your mind about the purchase, don't like the colour, find it cheaper elsewhere if there is a fault that was already pointed out to you or would have been blatantly obvious before buying.
Purchasing a car over the internet entails slightly different criteria in that you have seven days to withdraw from the sale and return the car at your expense, unused. This is because the car hasn't been seen in person and everything was carried out via internet, phone or fax. If, once you have purchased your car, you find there is a fault you are entitled, under the Sale of Goods Act to insist on a full refund, compensation and/or repair or replacement.
Of course, these are all useful things to know but if you didn't want to take the chance of dealing with all this yourself then, as I say, go to a franchised dealer that will specialise in the make of car that you want. If you were looking for a used BMW, they have their own outlets that will be able to source any model that you requested with your own colour choice and you could put in specific requests to have your needs met.
You also have the same options when looking for a used MINI or used Lexus. In fact, most main stream car manufacturers want their cars seen on the road, new or used, so will have some type of facility where you can source their vehicles. To ensure this they offer extra checks, assurances and guarantees and if you can afford to go down this route then that extra few quid will be well worth it.
Vehicle sales expert Catherine Harvey looks at how used MINI along with other used cars are best purchased from dealerships.