Buying a car privately

Buying a car privately should cost you less than from a dealer – but take care you don’t end up with a problem car that cost you more

Buying a car from a Private owner should cost you less than from a dealer – but take care you don’t end up with a problem car that cost you more


A private sale will give you a lower price

The benefit of a buying privately is the vehicle should always cost less (on a like for like basis) as opposed to buying from a dealer.

But don’t forget while the purchase price will be less if you buy a car privately, you won’t receive any of the additional benefits offered by a dealer. These include:

  • Better legal rights
  • Options to part exchange your old car
  • Dealer finance
  • Pre-sales check
  • Warranties

There are some sound value cars available to buy in the private market, but always be careful, if the price is to low to be true, the vehicle might be dodgy.

Be sure to get a receipt signed by the seller when you purchase a car privately. Here is a receipt you can download and use.


Ask the seller the right questions

To avoid buying a problem car and protect yourself legally when you buy from a private seller, don’t forget to ask the right questions.

Your legal rights when buying a car privately

Legally, the seller must tell the truth about any descriptions given of the vehicle and answer all your questions honestly. But if you don’t ask the right questions and there is later a problem, you will have no right to your money back. Finally, there is no obligation on the seller to check the car is roadworthy.

When buying a car privately, the vehicle need only be as described.

However, when you buy a car from a dealer the vehicle must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. The dealer should also make sure the vehicle is roadworthy, check the mileage, and confirm the car isn’t stolen.

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