Why web-buying services will never give good value

BLOG Dented car
I can now reveal exactly why some web car buying services will never give customers good value for money. It’s all in the cost of repairs.

In order to sell your car on for a tidy profit, these companies invariably need to repair small dents and scratches and refurbish scuffed wheels. And rather than taking those costs out of their existing profit margin, they boost the money they make further by knocking it off what they pay the seller for the car.

It means the price you’re quoted when you describe your car online is rarely what you’ll actually get. On top of that I have it on good authority that some of these firms give their employees bonuses the more they manage to knock down the quoted price.

Then there’s the cost of the repairs. The fee the seller is charged for having their car made good is a retail cost. What the companies pay to have the work done is a cheaper ‘trade’ price, further inflating their profit. One new web buying operation, Trusted Car Buyers, claims the retail prices for fixes can be as much as a third more expensive than trade.

By charging people what it pays for repairs, Trusted Car Buyers claims it can beat Webuyanycar.com’s (WEBAC) prices by £195. It’s admirable to eschew one of this industry’s more sordid habits, not so impressive to hold WEBAC up as a standard. Whenever I’ve compared prices from samples of such companies, WEBAC always comes out poorly. If Trusted Car Buyers wants to be taken really seriously, it should be comparing itself with the companies that give the best deals, not those that advertise the most.


About James Foxall

My 25-year career has been built on writing words that audiences want to read. Those words have been clear, concise, and imbued with the personality of the organisation they were shaped for. They’ve appeared in specialist magazines and national newspapers as well as marketing materials for commercial organisations. I was motoring editor at the News of the World for seven years and I still write a regular column for the Daily Telegraph. More recently as companies become publishers I’ve transferred my editorial skills to commercial organisations. My entire career has been in the automotive industry; my passion for effective communication is still rivalled only by my love of cars and motor sport. View all posts by James Foxall

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