Used Car Dealers

If you're thinking of buying a used car, the best place to go is to a manufacturer's approved used car dealer or independent second hand car dealer, which are regulated by the Consumer Protection Act. Here we give you the low down on franchise and independent used car dealers and tell you why you should steer clear of scratch dealers.

Independent used car dealers

Probably the cheaper of the two car dealer options, independent used car dealers are not allied to any car manufacturer so they tend to offer a wider choice of used cars. They also sell a range of used cars from those that are nearly new to very old cars, so you can choose a car to meet your budget, regardless of the car make and model.

As independent second hand car dealers are not checked or rewarded by car manufacturers their stock usually consists of used cars with higher than average mileages or used cars in slightly less than perfect condition, which means their prices are lower than franchised car dealers.

The best independent car dealers follow the Society of Motor Traders and Manufacturers or Retail Motor Industry Federation codes of practice, and sell documented used cars and offer high standards of customer service.

In most cases their stock derives from part-exchanges and cars drawn from within the trade and from auctions. However, you must be aware that although independent used car dealers guard their reputation fiercely, there is no manufacturer monitoring operating standards so on occasions rogue cars can make it on to the forecourt.

Franchise used car dealers

Franchise used car dealers tend to offer the best service for used cars and after-sales support, as they are monitored and rewarded by the manufacturer. In many cases the manufacturers run approved used car schemes through franchise used car dealers so you know that all the used cars have undergone a thorough pre-sales inspection and all faults will have been fixed.

This obviously means that used cars from a franchise used car dealer will be more expensive than from an independent used car dealer, but the used cars on sale will probably be under three-years-old and you may even be offered the chance to part exchange your old car as part of the deal.

When looking to buy a used car beware of scratch dealers, who tend to operate out of mobile offices on pieces of waste ground. These used car dealers have no discernible trading name and do not belong to a trade association. You are unlikely to get any after-sales care from these traders and the used cars they sell are usually poor quality.

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