Used vehicles have never been more in demand and at such steep sticker prices. When demand exceeds supply, there is also an increase in difficulty and pressure to obtain a reliable vehicle at an affordable price. Should a buyer choose to gamble with the risk of a private seller or try an auto dealer instead? If you're facing this choice, here are the pros and cons of choosing to purchase a used vehicle from an auto dealer.
Auto dealerships are governed by state and federal laws. Lemon Laws are regulations designed to prevent unsuspecting buyers from being duped by unsavory sellers. These laws protect a buyer. These regulations lessen the chance that you'll be left without financial recourse if your purchase doesn't function as advertised. You can check Lemon Laws by state to see what regulations are in place to protect you. Professional auto dealers will ensure they follow these laws to give you a car that functions the way it should.
When you purchase a vehicle from an auto dealership, you know that the car has been inspected by trusted mechanics. When you buy privately, there's usually no such peace of mind. Most dealerships perform specific inspections on every vehicle that enters their lot in order to prevent selling defective vehicles.
Free Vehicle History
Another advantage of buying from an auto dealer is access to the car's official VIN history without any additional cost. Before buying, you can view a full list of any previous accidents and all registered servicing for your desired vehicle. When buying privately, you'll have to purchase the report yourself.
When buying from a dealership, you may have the option to negotiate for additional perks like future oil changes and services, roadside service, upgraded wheels, or perhaps a new set of tires if the tires on the vehicle are more worn than you'd like. With a private seller, you will be purchasing the vehicle as-is with no possibility of perks or upgrades.
Registration and Paperwork Help
Another major benefit of buying through an auto dealer is that the dealership will take care of all of the paperwork including the bill of sale, title transfers, and registering the vehicle with the state, and many dealerships will even handle the auto loan through your bank or through the dealership. For many buyers, the opportunity to skip a trip to the DMV is worth buying through a dealership.
Less Negotiating Power
The most common reason that people choose to buy from a private seller over a dealership is to have more negotiating power in the purchase. Many private sellers are looking to offload their vehicle quickly, pay off an auto loan, increase cash flow, or upgrade to a new car. Because of this, many private sellers are willing to negotiate below their initial asking price more than an auto dealership is able to do while still maintaining a business. However, the additional negotiating power that comes from buying privately also comes with an increased risk of purchasing an unreliable car. If you're not mechanically inclined, the risks increase.
Pushy Sales Staff
Although many used car dealerships have wonderful customer service with very helpful salespeople, anyone who has ever shopped around for a used car knows that the stereotype of the pushy salesperson isn't completely anecdotal. Buying privately is the most reliable way to avoid a pushy salesperson that uses stressful tactics to get a sale.
If you've purchased a used car at a dealership recently, you know that the process can sometimes take several hours to complete. When you buy privately, the process can be as quick as handing the seller cash and then receiving keys and a title. However, you should factor in the time you'll spend registering the vehicle and transferring the title later as well.