With recent British Retail Consortium figures showing 70% of UK household now have access to the internet, and 64% of adult surfers shop online*, Exchange and Mart is offering car buyers some top tips for buying online.
"The increasing popularity of online retail, particularly during the recession, shows just how successfully the industry allows customers to find exactly what they're looking for at a price they can afford," commented Debra Healy, Digital Director of Exchange and Mart. "When it comes to buying an affordable used car, ExchangeandMart.co.uk continues to be the first port of call for many. Whether it's a nearly new car to reduce fuel consumption and save on running costs, or a classic for loving restoration that the buyer's after, nothing beats the speed and convenience buying online can offer."
In our increasingly demanding instant-result culture, time is of the essence, and by using an online search, buyers are able to save time by entering their search criteria and looking only at the most relevant ads. Searchable criteria include make, model, fuel type, price and even location, meaning buyers get exactly what they want, where they want it.
"ExchangeandMart.co.uk not only offers a huge range of vehicles through private sellers and dealers," continues Healy, "but it is also a great place to research additional products and services such as car finance and insurance. With everything in one place, buyers have all the information they need at the click of a mouse, and in plain English, to ensure they bag a bargain and get what they pay for."
Exchange and Mart's Top tips for buying online
- Research, research, research: not only to decide what car you're looking for, but also to make sure you know its true market value - don't pay over the odds and beware of super-low prices as it may be a banger dressed as a bargain.
- Set up an email alert for the type of car you're looking for, to ensure that you're among the first to see new cars as they are advertised. This helps you find your ideal car before someone else does.
- Look for adverts that offer as much vital information as possible including age, mileage and specifications, and make sure there are plenty of photos which match the description.
- Purchase a full history check on the vehicle you are thinking of buying and walk away if the seller can't produce any vehicle documentation.
- The more paperwork the better: Check the most recent MOT certificate as well as older ones (if the car is more than four years old) to see if there is a consistent story on the mileage. A stamped service book is great, but actual receipts for servicing are even better.
- Make sure you get the contact details, including landline telephone number for the seller and check they match the address on the V5C registration document.
- Once you've done the online work always meet the seller in person, at the address on the V5C - never at a car park or industrial estate.
- Be aware of possible scams - check ExchangeandMart.co.uk and Vstag.co.uk regularly for up to date advice. If you don't feel happy, trust your instincts and walk away. Do not be tempted by that elusive bargain.
- Use Exchange and Mart's text valuation service to double check you're not paying too much: Text VALUE EX along with your vehicle registration and mileage to 80360. Example: VALUE EX V110ABE 74000.** You will receive a text containing three valuations for the car in good, average and below average condition
* BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor September 2009
** You need to copy this format exactly. Please do not include spaces in the number plate or commas to separate the fields. Texts cost £1.50 plus your standard network charge. See www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/smsvalues for more information.