Before Covid-19, buying a car online was overlooked but when times were hard and dealerships couldn’t operate as normal during the pandemic, online car buying become more accessible. Now, more drivers are choosing to buy a car from the comfort of their own home. However, many consumers are still confused about how the process works, how long it takes and how safe it is to buy a car online. The guide below looks at the benefits of buying a car online and what to know first.

What are the benefits of buying a car on the internet?

There are a number of reasons why drivers may choose to buy a car online and many benefits to doing so. 

  • Huge choice. When you choose to buy a car online, you aren’t restricted to just the cars in your area that you are willing to travel for. Instead, you can browse cars all over the UK from the comfort of your own home and choose the car that’s right for you
  • Save time. Visiting multiple local dealerships and negotiating with dealers can be very time consuming and instead, you can view lots of cars online within your budget in a matter of minutes. 
  • Less pressure. Whilst buying a car online can be fast, it also means that you have the freedom to do it at your own pace. When visiting dealers, you will naturally feel like you need to decide there and then. When you buy online, there’s less pressure and means you can make an informed decision.
  • Speak with experts. Just because you’re buying a car online doesn’t mean that you don’t get the option to speak with the dealer. You can still sort all your finance over the internet but have the option to speak with the dealer at any time over the phone or video call to help make your choice a little easier. 
  • Delivered to your door. When you buy a car online, you can choose whether you would like to pick it up yourself or have the card delivered too you. It can be worth checking whether the dealership requires a fee for delivery first though. 

5 top tips for safely buying a car online:

Many drivers think that buying a car online is a grey area, but it doesn’t have to be! In many cases, you are protected by the same laws, if not more, when buying online and there are a number of rules you should follow to help make the process as stress-free as possible. 

  1. Set your budget.

Before you commit to buying any car, either at a dealer or online, you should always set your budget first. Be realistic about what you can afford to spend on a car, either when buying with cash or how much you can put towards your monthly car finance payments. When considering your budget, you should not just focus on the cost of buying a car but also the running costs too. Things like car insurance, MOT and servicing, road tax, fuel cost and breakdown cover can all bump up the cost of having a car.

  1. Shop for cars you can afford.

Once you’ve set a realistic and affordable budget, you can then filter cars online that fit in with how much you can afford. Shopping for cars online is a fast and easy way to see which cars you could get and compare both new and used car deals. Only shopping for the cars you can afford to help you to whittle down your choice and get a realistic idea of what sort of thing you’re looking for. 

  1. Compare finance deals.

If you’re thinking of getting a car on finance in the UK, there are a number of agreements you can choose from. Hire purchase and PCP car finance tend to be the most popular but they can suit drivers differently and monthly payments can vary massively. Before you commit to buying a car online it can be worth comparing different car finance deals to see which cars you can get for your money. 

  1. Read dealer reviews.

Before you buy a car online it can be worth checking the dealerships that you are considering getting a car from. There are a number of ways in which you can check if a UK dealership is reputable. First, you should read reviews from other customers to see how their experience was, there are third party review sites that can provide this or use their Google reviews. If you’re looking to get car finance, check that the dealer is verified by the Financial Conduct Authority and are allowed to lend you money. You can also check if the dealer is verified by the AA or RAC as they are two trusted motoring associations that approve car dealers. 

  1. Know your legal rights.

When you buy a car online, there are a number of regulations that are in place to help protect consumers. When you buy from a dealer online, you have the same rights as buying a car face to face. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 enable you to get a full refund or request repairs if your car is damaged or faulty. Buying a car through hire purchase also means that you are protected under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if anything should go wrong with your purchase.