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UK New Car Online Buying Sites Scorecard
The scorecard below allows you to see at a glance how the online car buying sites we've reviewed operate. If you'd like more in depth information, you can go to the UK New Car Online Buying Sites page where you can read our full reviews of online buying sites (such as OneSwoop and Autobytel).
Online Quote Request Method
A minority of the online buying sites in the UK use the quote request method. In this approach you configure the car you want and a local dealer will then respond with their price on the car you have chosen.
Unlike the US, the majority of online buying sites in the UK are actually that - online buying sites. They aren't quote request sites. On most of the sites we've reviewed you see an upfront price instantly (unlike the predominantly quote request sites in the US) and a substantial part of the buying process can be completed without going near a dealership. I don't know why this is the case in the UK but I say revel in it (you don't know how lucky you are).
Site type - B is for Online Buying Site - one that actually allows you to complete most of the buying process from home. Q is for Quote Request Site - one that allows you to request a quote on the car you have selected and then has a dealer (or dealers) respond to your request with a quote and availability information via e-mail or telephone.
Up front price given - Are you shown up front what 'your price' for the car will be or do you have to wait for a price to be sent to you via e-mail or telephone?
Dealer inventory shown - Can you see what cars are on the dealer's lot without paying them a visit?
Financing available through site - Can you arrange financing through the site rather than through the dealership?
Is Privacy Respected - Does the site respect your privacy by not asking for unnecessary personal information like street address, phone number or birthdate? (You should expect to answer these type of questions if you wish to apply for financing.)
Turnaround Guarantee - Does the site offer a response time guarantee and let you know where you can contact them if the deadline they specify for response is not met?
Online/live or toll-free help - Is there someone you can call or chat to online if you get stuck somewhere in the process or need a question answered?
Secure site - This is scored out of five - 1 point for a privacy statement, 1 point for a secure page for entering personal information and 3 points for a secure page when entering financial information (like a credit card number).
Free service - Is the car buying service free or must you pay a fee? (Sites that charge a fee but then take that sum off the final price of the car are considered 'free'.)
in the UK
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