Buying and selling

Undercover shoppers ask if it’s too easy to get car finance with shock result

Undercover shoppers ask if it's too easy to get car finance

The young driver walked into the Audi showroom and gazed at the gleaming new cars. They looked a million dollars, but unfortunately the 24-year old driver was unemployed and didn’t expect he’d qualify for a loan to buy a new model. He was wrong.

Within minutes, a salesman says he’s confident that a new Audi A1, worth more than £15,000, could be the young man’s. Spend £215 a month, for 48 months, and he can hit the road. And after a final payment of nearly £7000, the car is his for keeps.

Despite being unemployed, the process of securing a loan to own the car was predicted to be straightforward.

A salesman says not having a job won’t make any difference. He explains: “We drop it down to the finance company, they’ll do a credit check on you. It’s not a case of you not having a job today and having a job tomorrow. We just need to see what the finance company says.”

However, the young man was an undercover reporter for the Daily Mail. He was one of a team that visited 22 dealerships. And the findings were prompted the question: is it too easy to get a car loan?  Continue reading

Car buying online: your next motor could come from an internet dealer

car buying online

Peugeot already has an online car buying platform

The way we purchase our motors is changing with car buying online becoming increasingly popular. There’s no shock in that. What is perhaps surprising is that the move to buying over the internet is taking such a long time. New figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) show that figures for web car sales are currently miniscule. But within the decade a fifth of all new cars will be bought online. Here’s all you need to know about the online sales boom.

Surely you can buy cars online now

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Scrappage is back! How Vauxhall’s scheme works

Scrappage

Chop in a banger and Vauxhall will give you £2000 off a shiny new Corsa (Picture © Vauxhall)

The scrappage scheme is back. However, this isn’t the proposed government-backed scheme to remove the most polluting diesel vehicles from the road. This is an incentive devised by car maker Vauxhall in a bid to sell more motors.

Anyone buying a new Vauxhall Adam, Corsa, Meriva, Astra or Mokka X will have a contribution of £2000 towards their new car. But they must trade in their old model. Here’s how it works.

What is scrappage?

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Car safety equipment: the key kit drivers want to be fitted as standard

Car safety equipment

Car safety equipment such as self-braking can stop cars crashing if the driver isn’t paying attention (Picture © Thatcham)

More than four out of five drivers want safety equipment such as automatic braking to be standard on new cars. And safety campaigners are urging drivers to buy only cars with it fitted as standard. They hope this will pressure car makers into fitting the tech more widely.

Currently, only one of Britain’s top 10 best-selling cars – the Mercedes-Benz C-Class – comes with automatic braking as part of its normal equipment. But research has found that when it’s an optional extra, car buyers ignore it. Instead they favour more tangible everyday kit such as sunroofs or upgraded sound systems. And according to studies, a fifth of car buyers refuse to pay extra for safety equipment.

Despite this, researchers for Stop the Crash found that 83 per cent of drivers actually want safety kit such as automatic braking to be standard. Chairman of Stop the Crash David Ward said: “This research shows how important safety is to the consumer. But it highlights how this often fails to translate into safety options being purchased in the showroom. Manufacturers must offer safety systems as standard with proven ability to save lives.”

What is automatic braking?

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Buyer beware: how to spot a used car that’s been cloned

Buyer beware how to spot a used car that's been cloned

Buy a cloned car in good faith and it is likely to be impounded by the police, and you’ll have nothing to show for your money

Most people will be familiar with identity theft. Criminals gain valuable sensitive information about an individual in order to impersonate them and take out loans or credit in their name. But how many drivers have heard of cloned cars? And even if the expression is familiar, how do you tell a fake, cloned car from a genuine model?

A cloned car is a model that has been stolen then given a new identity. This is generally by replacing its number plates with those from a car that’s the same make, model, colour and even age. It means that the car won’t register as dodgy in basic ID checks such as those from police Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras.

It’s a problem that more drivers need to be aware of. Last week, eBay hit the headlines after it was revealed that organised criminals in Manchester had been using the popular car buying site to sell stolen cars as legitimate vehicles.

It means that when drivers fail to conduct full and thorough checks of a used car, they can end up handing over a small fortune for a car that will be taken off their hands by the police, leaving them with no car and no money. Meanwhile, the crooks vanish into thin air.

One victim, a retired police officer, lost £17,000 buying a Mercedes. Another paid more than £18,000 for a BMW that turned out to be stolen and was soon returned to its rightful owner by police, leaving him penniless.

These are the steps every used car buyer should take to protect themselves from buying a cloned car.

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Is Britain’s car finance market in danger of a PPI style mis-selling scandal?

Is Britain's car finance market in danger of a PPI mis-selling scandal?

How did you buy your car? If you entered into a finance agreement to help afford the model of your dreams, experts are warning that you could be a victim of the nation’s next potential mis-selling scandal.

Failing to explain the terms and conditions of complicated loan products and the true cost of borrowing could mean thousands of British drivers have been mis-sold finance products. It’s similar to the way payment protection insurance (PPI) was scandalously mis-sold.

Those are the warnings from analysts who allege thousands of drivers on PCP (personal contract purchase) deals may have been sold the loans without having the terms properly explained to them. The fear is they may be unable to keep up payments in an economic slump.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is now investigating the industry. It fears less well-off customers may be paying too much for credit. But its findings won’t be reported until next year. In the meantime, what measures can drivers take to see if they might be affected? Continue reading

Will a diesel scrappage scheme be introduced to cut air pollution?

Will a scrappage scheme be introduced for diesel car drivers?

As London brings forward the introduction date of its new Ultra Low Emission Zone and the government prepares to unveil “toxin taxes” on diesel cars driving into cities across England, rumours persist of a diesel scrappage scheme for motorists.

Up to 35 cities across England could introduce charges aimed at reducing pollution from diesel-powered vehicles, following the lead set by London. The move is an attempt to address chronic air pollution in parts of the UK, which is said to contribute to the deaths of up to 40,000 people a year.

Now politicians, industry representatives and driver groups are calling for a UK scrappage scheme, to help drivers replace the oldest and most polluting diesel cars.

The last scrappage scheme, in 2009, helped breathe life back into a flagging car industry, by giving £2000 in return for any car over 10-years old that was part-exchanged for a new vehicle. Could a similar incentive help replace the oldest diesel-powered cars?

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Finance confusion: new scheme to help drivers pick more honest dealers

Finance confusion

The customer thinks he understands what the dealer’s saying but actually he could be about to buy something he doesn’t need

Finance confusion is leading drivers to feel as if they’ve been overcharged or mis-sold products when they buy a car. But that could be about to change.

Dealers selling financial packages are being encouraged to sign up to a new accreditation scheme. This will enable customers to tell instantly whether their dealer has any code of conduct to abide by when selling financial and insurance products. The aim is to stop dealers bamboozling car buyers with confusing jargon to sell them things they may not need.

What’s behind the changes?

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Car tax changes: three quarters of new car buyers to pay more

Road tax will rise for the majority of drivers, from April 2017

Next month, the government introduces new charges for car tax. It will mean most people buying a new, efficient car will have to pay more in tax than they would have done under outgoing rules.

The proposals were outlined by former chancellor George Osborne in 2015. They are aimed at earning more revenue for the treasury, after the outgoing rules rewarded clean, efficient cars with low or no road tax. This resulted in buyers voting with their wallets and snapping up models that pumped out low levels of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Now only cars with no exhaust emissions, which means all-electric cars, will be exempt from paying car tax. Continue reading

Car pictures: the best way to photograph the car you want to sell

Car pictures

Choose an uncluttered background, ideally with plenty of space around the car

You’ve decided to sell your car privately which means you need to take some car pictures. And car photography is easy, right? You just go outside, bang off a few snaps with the smartphone and it’s job done. You could take that approach. But selling for the best possible price is a competitive business, and the first thing anyone is going to see when they view your advert is the pictures so it pays to have good images that show the car in its best possible light.

Cars are actually very difficult things to photograph. But follow these tips and you’ll have a good chance of capturing images that make your motor stand out.

Before you reach for your camera…

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