Buying guides

Doing The Deal

How to haggle, how to pay, how to minimise the chances of problems

When it comes to negotiating, ensure you pay less than the initial asking price. Any seller should set the price above what they're prepared to accept – so don't pay a penny more than you have to. Any discount on the initial asking price is a victory though, so don't be too greedy. Once you've settled on a price, remember these points when handing over your money:

  • Private sellers are required by law to describe the car honestly and accurately. However, that's the only requirement as the car only has to be 'as described' and you have no redress.
  • Getting your money back from a private seller or sorting a problem will be difficult, so check the car thoroughly before buying.
  • Use a banker's draft, as paying cash offers little comeback. Any genuine seller will be happy with this.
  • Make sure you have everything you need, including all the keys, the right tool to undo any locking wheel nuts and any fobs to activate any security systems.
  • Pay by credit or debit card, as it brings extra legal protection from the card company. A banker's draft is still a good way to pay here, too.
  • Dealers have a duty to describe the car accurately and it must meet a standard expected of a car of its age, mileage, price and condition. If it doesn't, you have protection under the Sale of Goods Act for the dealer to sort the problem, provide an alternative vehicle or even refund your money.