5 Downsides of Buying from a Private Car Seller

Car salesman handing over car keys

If you are thinking about buying a used car, you have two choices: purchase private or purchase through a dealership. Each one has its strong points, but you would want to pay particular attention to some of the drawbacks of buying private.

Lack of Guarantees from Private Sellers

Newmarket car stores or dealerships can be quite generous when it comes to their guarantees. It can cover a wide array of services that are in force for the first few years of the car’s life. Plus, the law also protects the buyers in this situation.

There is a cooling off law which basically allows buyers to return the car within a specific amount of time if there is a justifiable reason for it. Through private sale, this is unlikely unless you have drawn up an ironclad contract for the transaction.

Price Variations with a Private Seller

Most people say that private sellers are cheaper because they cut out the middleman. While this is true, you should also note that private sellers are less flexible with the amount. Unless they are pressed for time, private sellers are likely to resist a sale if they are not getting the price they want.

This is contrary to dealerships, especially if you are buying at just the right time. If you go into a dealership at a time when they are trying to meet their quota, then you should be able to get a better price.

Financing Problems with a Private Seller

If you are buying private, then you better have the cash on hand and ready for the sale. Financing is a unique deal that can only be had through an accredited dealership. If you are not sure about the cost or do not have the full amount, then it makes sense to go to a dealership where you can work out a payment process.

Paperwork Keeps You Protected

Most buyers think that paperwork only lengthens the transaction, but this is actually designed to help you. An ironclad contract backed up with all the paperwork will make sure you are protected in the event of a problem.

You might be taking home a lemon or a defective car – all of which can be easily solved if the contract provides for a solution or stipulation that lets you get your money back. In most cases, the law sides with the buyer as opposed to a private transaction where the situation falls into a he-said, she-said setup.

Lack of a Check Up

Man sitting inside vehicle while the dealer is with him
Many dealerships are mandated to fix a car before they sell it on. Maintenance becomes part of the service before they actually display it on the lot. This is not the case with private sellers. They do not have to first update or fix the car before selling it on – which means that the responsibility now falls on you.

This being the case, you would actually spend more on having the car inspected and fixed if you buy from a private seller. There can also be shady transactions, especially when it comes to down payments and instalments.

Of course, those are just some of the downsides of buying directly from a private seller. Note, though, that however you choose to buy, doing due diligence before pursuing a purchase is crucial.

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