In these modern times, you can buy almost everything online. But, while us consumers purchase more and more things after a quick browse and a click of a button, you might not have considered buying a car online.

Maybe it’s because cars are much more expensive than your average online buy, but many consumers have been slow to take up online car sales as an option. A question many of us have is an important one – is buying a car online safe? We’ve put together this quick guide to explain how buying a car online is safe, and steps you can take to ensure your safety.

What are the benefits of buying a car online?

The best thing about buying a car online is that you have far more choice than you would if you were restricted to shopping at dealers and showrooms locally. You can look at dealers all across the country, ideal if you have in mind the exact make and model you want to buy. More choice means you can also find better prices, so you can find a better car for your budget.

Am I protected when I buy online?

If you buy from a reputable website or online dealer, then you will have a good level of protection. Before you go ahead with any purchase, do some research about the company or dealer you are using. Check reviews online and see what other customers have to say. A quick google can also reveal any news items about the seller that may make you reconsider.

If you are using one of the big classified or used car websites, they will often carry out their own checks on the vendors, so have a look and see how they assess the sellers on their website.

Can I test drive a car I buy online?

When you a buy a car online, in most cases you will have a 7-14 day period where you can return the car, no questions asked. This is to give you time to drive the car, get a feel for it, and see if it’s right for you. Some dealers offer no-questions asked returns, others will want more of a reason why. Again, check the terms and conditions when buying the car.

Can I return a car I buy online?

If you buy a car online, you should have a 14-day money back guarantee on the vehicle. This is part of the distance selling act, and allows you to get a full refund on all the money spent on the car in that period. You may lose some of the admin fees you paid, but you will get the bulk of your money back.

What warning signs are there to look out for a dodgy dealer?

Have a look for dealers with a large number of customer reviews, as that means they have been dealing with people like you for a long time. Google every dealer’s name to see what comes up. There’s always bound to be one or two negative reviews, but if there are a lot or an absence of reviews, that’s not a good sign.

Finally, if you are buying the car with finance, make sure that they are FCA approved. That way, you will be given more protection if something goes wrong across the length of your agreement, especially if you get into financial difficulty.

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