Dealers that Trade from Home - Surrey_Scientist

I amlooking for anewer car, and so far virtually every car that I have had seen I like seems to be from somebody trading from home.

Either there is no website/address on thelisting on autotrader, or if there is a website it says "viewing by appointment only".

As I am looking at the £2-3K price range it sem almost ever ycar in this range falls into this category.

Is it safe to deal with one of these people ?

I phoned about one car and asked about the warrantyand was told it was "your statutory rights only" which of course made me put the phone straight down.

I feel distinctly uneasy about buying a car from one of these..........

Dealers that Trade from Home - pd

Well, frankly, you are looking to buy a cheap car. The margins in this sector are small so few dealers with large overheads can afford to operate in this sector.

You can look at it this way: at least you know where they live and many accountants operate from home but can still do a VAT return.

You will not get a very good warranty on a £2-3k car unless the car was very cheap when new (say, £6k). Unfortunatelty cheap cars are very expensive at the moment and if you want a belt and braces approach with some block paving and pot plants you will probably need to pay or it. :)

Of course, there will be many a decent private seller too, but they will not even need to offer statuary rights.

Dealers that Trade from Home - LucyBC

It doesn' t matter whether a dealer trades from home or not, or whether they trade part time or full time if they are engaged in selling cars for profit you are covered by the relevent consumer protection measures, most particularly the Sale of Goods Act.

At this level of the market any warranty you are offered free of charge by the dealer is likely to be almost valueless when compared to "your statutory rights" under the Sale of Goods Act.

Obviously there are some rogues in any sector but given that most of these people are trading on their own account from their residential address it is possible to make a case that you are afforded more protection than making a purchase from a dealership registered as a limited company and trading from a rented used car lot.

Dealers that Trade from Home - davmal
I have seen several cars that were advertised as "view by appointment", and some were actually on lots, that rather than being open to the public were more of workshop/viewing areas operated by part time dealers. No machines and carpets, but good prices.
My most recnt purchase, however was from a coffee machine equipped, carpetted "greenhouse", and I paid the premium for it:(
Dealers that Trade from Home - LucyBC

Can I add that if the meeting is by appointment and you are planning to hand over cash, make sure it is either at the trader's own business premises or at their home address and if the latter make sure you have both proof of identity and proof of address (original bank statement or utility bill, NOT mobile phone) in accordance with HPI's requirements.

I have two clients who currently have judgments in default against traders, the first because paper was served on a petrol pump forecourt with no seeming connection with the trader and the second because it was an automated car wash.

In both cases the cars went wrong and we have almost no chance of recovery, This is also prime territory for car cloners.

Edited by LucyBC on 19/05/2011 at 10:51

Dealers that Trade from Home - pd

Many dealers ask for "view by appointment" to prevent double bookings, people turning up to view cars which are not there, when everyone is at lunch (or at the auctions!) or when the car in question is behind 17 others.

I had some chap turn up last month who drove 120 miles on spec without talking to me only to find the car he was interested was out for a 24 hour test drive with a potential customer (who bought the car in the end). Apparently that was my fault.

Dealers that Trade from Home - unthrottled

So if the warranty is worthless what advantage is there to buying from Arthur Daley as opposed to a conventional private sale? I can see how dealerships add value to a car and can justify increasing the price, but aren't sole traders just middlemen? Buy a car for £2000, put some polish on the tyres and try to flog it for £2500. No added value at all. I wouldn't buy from one on principle.

Dealers that Trade from Home - LucyBC

Most of the warranties given away with these cars are borderline worthless - they are largely used as a sales aid - but the protection afforded by the Sale of Goods Act in purchasasing from any dealer - whether a home trader or not - is far from useless and for the average car buyer with minimal specialist mechanical knowledge buying privately is extremely risky and very probably a foolish activity.

A trader working on their own account from home means you have a very good "target" if anything goes wrong and they are personally liable for any resultant award.

Compare a private sale where there is almost no protection whatsoever afforded if a car goes wrong. Even if it breaks down 50 yards down the road from you exchanging the money for the keys the chances are you have no come-back. Caveat emptor applies.

Hence anyone who is not an expert should not even think of buying privately because they have no recourse whatsoever in the event of the vehicle needing repairs (minor or major), having a dodgy history or even being dangerous.

Dealers that Trade from Home - madf

I bought a Peugeot 106 five years ago for my oldest son: from a trader working from home. He had his own tame mechanic who sorted out problems : I met him when viewing the car.

It proved to an excellent buy and is still going strong with no major issues .

I am a fussy and reasonably competent buyer.. so have no problems buying from genuine home traders...Petrol stations etc are obvious no goes..

Edited by madf on 19/05/2011 at 17:54

Dealers that Trade from Home - 12345oncei

I've been encountering a few of these traders. Being aware of SOGA generally when a dealer spouts about 'oh and it comes with 3 months warranty' I cringe.

I spoke to one yesterday and conversation went like this after asking about service history, MOT etc:

- Me: Do you include a warranty?

- Trader: Well er, no, but, yeah, 1 month cos of the law.

- Me: Right.

- Trader: But if you look it up it is under book price so it's trade terms.

This was for a 4k car that wasn't IMO particularly cheap in comparison to others of similar age and specification.

Dealers that Trade from Home - piston power

At 2-3k all you want is full service history and 12 months mot.

Realisticly you may get part service history and 12 months mot.

You don't say what car you want and age or engine spec?

Look for receipts for work done, old mot certificates and if your still unsure have a RAC/AA mechanical breakdown check done on the car this will cost you approx £150.00 depending on the car.

Dealers that Trade from Home - madf

If you are fussy, know what you are doing, buy on condition, are prepared to travel AND buy a car which was sold in volume (and had a good reputation for reliability ) then you can do very well as many home traders buy the older but better main dealer trade ins that are too old for the dealers to sell.. and the trader offers just over auction prices.

So you can buy more cheaply.

Of course if you buy a model which has a poor relaibility record: eg Mercedes A class, or Renault diesel 2000 - 2005 approx .. then you are buying a potential money pit...

It pays to do your homework thoroughly . And always buy on condition unless very cheap and you can DIY and spares are cheap.

Edited by madf on 20/05/2011 at 14:14

Dealers that Trade from Home - unthrottled

I'd still rather buy direct from the owner-cut out the useless middlemen. People who want to make a career out of the automotive industry should learn to do something useful. Speaking to the owner can be very informative; I've walked away from cars that looked good because I didn't like the look of the owner.

Dealers that Trade from Home - LucyBC

Before you can make any such claim about them being "useless middlemen" I think you have to price in the "added value" that the Sale of Goods Act protection affords and which is ultimately met by the dealer.

That price has to take into account that they are generally selling older vehicles with service histories that might not be ideal and in a number of cases the car could fail completely making it an economic write off leaving the home trader with a toral loss.

On thast basis I would estimate that the SoGA protection afforded by buying from a dealer (as opposed to buying privately) is worth around £600 per car.

There are various other benefits of the home trader purchase over a private purchase centred around the requirements of the Consumer Protection Regulations.

Given the above of confronted with two seemingly identical cars, one offered privately the other by a trader the private sale would need to be priced at least £850 ahead of the car offered by the trader before I would even consider suggesting that the average used car buyer should buy privately.

In a sector which is dominated by cars in the £2000-£3000 bracket often bought for cash by families who can ill afford to lose the money I would recommend they use the home trader every time.

Edited by LucyBC on 20/05/2011 at 17:32

Dealers that Trade from Home - madf

I'd still rather buy direct from the owner-cut out the useless middlemen. People who want to make a career out of the automotive industry should learn to do something useful. Speaking to the owner can be very informative; I've walked away from cars that looked good because I didn't like the look of the owner.

Hmm. With dealer trade ins - often the source of many low mileage well looked after older cars, there is ZERO chance of buying from the owner. The owner trades in his carefully maintained car for a newer one and the dealer either auctions it or sells to a small trader.


I refuse to buy privately as in most cases, private sellers are too expensive selling tarted up rubbish.

Especially with modern cars and complex technology..

Dealers that Trade from Home - unthrottled

Alternatively-the owner trades in their car when it starts to cause trouble knowing that the dealer generally won't pay close attention to it since he is more interested selling a new car.

Buying secondhand is always a gamble. I'd rather put the dealer's profit margin into a car repair fund. I Take Lucy's point about the security though.


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