When you’re looking for a good university to study at, you’ll read public press rankings that list best private and public schools. When you’re looking for a good bank to keep your money in, you’ll read rankings in the specialised press. How do you look for a good dealer of second-hand cars, though?
Virtually anyone can sell vehicles. There are no licenses, examinations or certifications to prove that the seller is qualified to do their job. Why does this happen in a market where so much relies on trust? A doctor, engineer or lawyer need to graduate from very challenging studies followed by professional practice, certification, obtaining a license or proving their qualifications in another formal way. At the same time, a vehicle seller needs neither education nor professional experience. Would anyone pay for legal advice from someone who hasn’t even graduated from law studies? Would a self-taught doctor attract the same patients that an educated doctor does? Obviously not. Still, we do tend to be way more tolerant when it comes to the people we buy our cars from. As if the issue was much less serious. We accept the fact that the person we’re paying to might be some random stranger, unprepared to carry out the sales. You can read more on the phenomenon in the autoDNA publication: “Second hand car purchase roulette is over”.
Choosing a second-hand car: expectations
Before you start browsing through the offers, you need to consider what kind of vehicle you really need and what compromises you’re willing to make. Are you looking for a family sized SUV, an off-road vehicle, or a small car for daily driving in the city? Do you need a sizeable trunk, or is it more important that the car is economic? Are you willing to pay more for proven ASC repairs, or is low price the most important factor for you?
You should also consider leaving your old car at the dealer’s in exchange for a discount on the new one. One of the most important reasons why you do need to know the above before going through the offers is this: some of these requirements can only be met by authorised dealer shops.
Dealer shop: a good seller is one whose background you can check
When looking for a second-hand car, you’d probably prefer to buy it from someone who will:
- Not lie about the vehicle’s past, its mileage, damage or approaching repairs,
- Be able to present a documented history or repairs, e.g. those made in an ASC,
- Guarantee that the car will not break down the next day after purchase,
- Propose a reasonable price,
- Show you the autoDNA vehicle history report
Do sellers like this even exist? They do. You just need to know where to look. If you’re after a reliable seller, you have two options to consider: an authorised dealer’s shop, or one that is not authorised but has certifications. The first one is for those who can afford to spend a bit more money. A certified dealer will sell vehicles that are a few years old and that are usually left there by their first owners in exchange for a discount on the next purchase. Your options will be more limited when it comes to the brand (you won’t look for a Ford at a Toyota dealer, right?) but when you do decide on the salon, you will usually see a few different models with different equipment and at different prices. A dealer will also offer warranty. It’s quite common for second-hand cars to be so new that the manufacturer’s warranty provided upon the first purchase still applies. There’s another important benefit to buying second-hand vehicles from a dealer: you’re very unlikely to come across a car that was repaired at an unauthorised shop. All repairs are typically carried out by an ASC and they should be well documented. All in all, when you’re buying a second-hand car from an authorised dealer of the brand, you can be sure you’re not buying a pig in a poke. This certainly comes at a cost, though.
How do you find a good seller at unauthorised dealer’s? It’s best to look for certifications
If certified quality costs more, perhaps you should check out some cheaper options? You can find a relatively new car with well documented history of ASC repairs at most of the bigger and more reliable dealers. In some cases, the seller will show you the vehicle history report obtained by decoding the VIN number, as well as the results of DEKRA audit of the car you’re interested in. How do you look for good dealer shops? Choose those who can present a reliability certificate or are members of bigger organisations.
When looking for a good dealer, know this: no certificate will give you a 100% warranty that the seller is trustworthy. Still, if you do choose a certified or authorised dealer, the chances that you’ll come across one that is just, fair, transparent and supportive will be much bigger than if you just count on your luck.
How do you recognise a grey market cheat?
In the majority of cases, grey market sellers don’t run any business and don’t pay taxes. They typically bring second hand cars from Germany by buying them, legally, as a customer. In Poland, this sales arrangement gets cancelled. In order to avoid the tax, the seller won’t register the car in their own name; instead of that, they will be looking for a customer ready to sign a false agreement to make it look as if it was the customer who bought the car directly from the previous owner in Germany. The name of the previous owner in the contract may be real, or fake. The customer will not be able to validate this either way. Importantly, no matter whether the name is real or not, the whole agreement is falsified anyway. The seller in Germany did not sign it in blanco so that the Polish “importer” could find a buyer, avoid tax, and earn some extra money in the process. Such contracts damage the business, and image, of professional sellers.
It is the buyer who should pay special attention to not fall victim to such grey market cheats. If you come across a seller who refuses to provide the VIN number or says you won’t need it, do not even engage in further nhttps://www.autodna.pl/numer-vinegotiations.
Dealers who cooperate with autoDNA confirm that Customers who browse offers with the autoDNA report including vehicle history spend more than twice the time reading the offer due to this added content, while the dealers who use these reports get more than 30% additional phone calls from potential customers interested in the offer. This means that customers are tired of looking for vehicles they don’t know anything about, and appreciate transparent offers.