How to Haggle with Car Buying Companies

Car buying websites have become hugely popular in the last few years but not without their fair share of bad press. Today we look at getting the best deal.

With the huge amount of businesses now taking to the internet to make things quicker and easier for their clients it probably comes as no surprise to hear that one of the most popular ways now to sell a car online in the UK is to use a “car buying website”. The reason these car buying companies have become so popular is the sheer ease of being able to obtain a quick car valuation without having to leave the comfort of your home or office. You don’t have any of the hassle associated with selling privately, no having to take photos, deal with potential buyers and what can be the huge costs of advertising.

Basic Details

The process of selling this way is extremely straightforward but as you may expect it does still have its drawbacks. When visiting an online car buying website most will usually ask you to enter your vehicle registration. This allows their system to draw from the DVLA most of your vehicle details such as make, model, derivative, colour, date of registration and number of owners. After this stage there will be a few more pieces of information the site will usually ask for; vehicle mileage, what optional extras the vehicle may have, details of service history, MOT and Road fund licence expiry.

Vehicle Condition

The next stage is to describe any preparation that will be required, this will include body damage, interior wear and any mechanical faults you are aware of. Now this stage is the most important and it is vital that you are as honest as possible because any valuation will be based on the information you have provided and if you haven’t accurately described the condition of the car the price will be adjusted and with most car buying sites requiring you to deliver the car to one of their drop off centres you could end up wasting a lot of time and money should you not be happy with the adjusted price.

The Offer

After the stage you will usually have been presented with an automated offer based upon the company’s valuation data. If you are happy with the valuation you can proceed to the next step which will be to leave some personal information such as name, address and a contact number and to arrange an appointment for you to deliver the car or if you are lucky for them to come and collect it.

Now I’m sure like most people you want to make sure you are getting the best price for your car so I would normally suggest at this stage to not make an appointment just yet and instead to shop around for more prices.

Comparing the market

Typing into Google “Car buying companies” or “sell my car” should present you with a good couple of pages of sites to visit, it will be a long process of filling out your details each time but you will find that prices will alter from company to company and in some cases the difference can be quite a lot of money.

Once you have a handful of offers you are in a much better position to haggle for the best deal. It will of course depend on the type of vehicle you are trying to sell, for example a two year old Ford Focus diesel 5dr hatchback in silver with 15,000 miles on the clock is going to be far more desirable than a 1994 Land Rover Range Rover 4.6 Petrol in Yellow with 160,000 miles on the clock.

Car Buying Comparison Website

Another alternative is to use a sell my car comparison website such as which means you can enter your details just once and the site will send your vehicle details to different car buying websites and motor dealers across the country. This obviously saves you a lot of time but also with the site also having hundreds of motor dealers registered will in most cases get you the strongest offer as dealers will be buying to retail your car and not necessarily trade it on.

Research reputation

One final thing to do before accepting an offer from any company is to see if you can find any feedback from previous sellers. Again a quick search on Google for the car buying companies name and “review” will help you see what experiences previous sellers have had especially look out for information about the final handover and if the original price given was in fact honoured as often car valuation companies, especially the automated ones will try to knock the price down.


With regard to payment, most will arrange payment whilst you are on the premises by BACS but some will make payment within 48 hours unless an extra fee is paid. Talking of fees make sure you check the small print as some companies will also deduct an admin fee from the final payment they make.

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