WeBuyAnyCar - Con or Convenience?
There is no doubt that the advertisers behind webuyanycar have earned their money. The webuyanycar adverts with their irritatingly catchy theme song will be with us for a generation. If the adverts are to be believed then webuyanycar.com is an incredibly stress free and efficient way to sell your unwanted vehicle.
The premise is that you can text your vehicle registration number to them, or fill out a quick form online and receive an instant quote of what they are prepared to offer you. This article examines webuyanycar.com to see if it really is that straightforward.
There is growing concern, particularly in online forums that webuyanycar.com is a scam. To others webuyanycar.com is simply a convenient service helping remove the hassle from selling a car. Hopefully by the time you have finished reading you will have made up your own mind.
Love it or hate...
Webuyanycar - the concept
After a series of catchy adverts, webuyanycar.com has become a household name in the UK, but do you understand quite how the process of selling your vehicle with them works? Here is an outline of the process;
Having decided you want to sell your car, you contact webuyanycar either by texting them your registration number or sending it to them via a simple box on the website. Fill in some further details regarding the vehicles history, mileage and any modifications or damage. With this information webuyanycar.com can send you an email with a valuation and details of how to make an appointment should you decide to sell.
Webuyanycar are clear that this is only a valuation, there is no obligation to sell to them, however the valuation is subject to an in branch inspection.
If you decide to go ahead, you are asked to take the vehicle, with all appropriate paperwork to a local branch. Assuming the in branch inspection matches the online valuation then the process can be completed in 30 minutes and you can expect payment by bank transfer from webuyanycar within 3-4 working days.
Webuyanycar - the other side to the story
In researching this article it was clear that there is one issue that comes up over and over again in the case against webuyanycar; the reduction in offer once you have taken your vehicle to your local branch. In March 2010 an article was released by the Daily Mirror reporting an apparent webuyanycar whistleblower. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/03/28/we-buy-any-car-for-less-115875-22143643/)
The Whistleblower, a dealer working for webuyanycar revealed some startling information about just how these reductions were being achieved. It probably wouldn't be surprising if you took your car to a local branch and found out that the scratches along the side (that you neglected to mention online) were cause for a reduction. However what if you found out that dealers have been instructed that a 28% reduction in valuation is a minimum requirement? That the smallest paint damage, scratch or scuff should be used to achieve such a discount?
According to the Mirrors article, the top performer for Webuyanycar.com achieved an average reduction of 47%
webuyanycar - further research
Further research into webuyanycar.com might lead you to moneysavingexpert.com where there is pages of forum chat about webuyanycar and its customers. What is becoming increasingly clear is that there is a massive range of opinions varying from extremely good to horrifically bad.
One possible explanation for this is to understand how webuyanycar.com make their money. Webuyanycar are a part of Carcraft, the large national car dealership. It would appear that those that have reported good experiences have sold cars that are very much in line with Carcrafts typical sales. (low mileage, good condition, popular vehicles) If your vehicle is a lot older, in poorer condition or perhaps even the complete opposite and could be considered a luxury vehicle then you may struggle to get a good deal. Why? Simply because webuyanycar know they cant sell it quickly. Not illegal by any stretch of the imagination but possibly stretching the concept of business ethics.
Webuyanycar - A final word
The Daily Mirrors whistleblower report is deeply worrying. It seems that the seemingly acceptable practise of reducing the offer based on genuine faults has potentially been exploited to create greater profits. In the world of second hand cars is this genuinely surprising? That dealers are encouraged to buy low and sell high? Perhaps what unsettles most is that many of webuyanycars customers aren't 'trading up', they are selling due to necessity and there is a sense that they are being exploited.
There is something seemingly far more worrying about this; That people are so surprised that selling your vehicle through a '3rd party' such as webuyanycar wont offer the same financial reward as the WhatCar valuation! Selling a car can be stressful as idiot after idiot knocks on the door just to kick tyres and make daft offers. Advertising online or selling on ebay can be costly. Webuyanycar are offering a service for which their fee is reflected in the valuation. The manner in which they go about achieving this, however, is concerning.
After all, to be truly ethical they should simply readjust their valuation software to better reflect these valuation differences, but I guess then you wouldn't go to them in the first place! They certainly aren't the first industry to use a seemingly good deal to get their foot in the door with customers...
Don't dismiss webuyanycar as a scam or a rip off. They do seem to have some unethical practices but also some satisfied customers. Look at the difference between your own valuations and theirs. Is the time, effort and money involved in a private sale worthwhile?
Remember that just because a price guide gives one valuation, it does not mean that you will ever achieve that price on the open market!