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Advice on car purchase please - independent trader requesting bank transfer

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

I am in the process of purchasing a £40k used XC90. It has 55k miles on it. 


The seller is Trinity Motors, Halifax. They have been very amicable so far and I haven't had any issues.

I am based in London. The price of the car is right, it has an 18 month Arnold clark warranty (the usefulness of which I won't ask to debate here), all the specs etc.


We have agreed on a price and they are asking for a £1000 bank transfer for deposit to reserve - fine. 


I am NOT financing the car. I am putting about £12k on a debit card and then rest by bank transfer - at their request. 


I am a little nervous about transferring a large amount of cash by BACS - even just on a fraud basis. On companies house the company is about 1 year old. On Auto Trader they have 25 5 star reviews reaching back 1 year but no further. They have lots of cars for sale on their website. They do offer finance as well.


I am not particularly suspicious but I want to know what my options are. Should I ask to put £101 on a CC so I can get Section 75 protection? (I've just read it doesn't cover over 30k)... Should I abandon ship? I am aware of the limitations of buying a car quite far from where I live but I am willing to deal with that.

Thanks in advance. 

Edited by tsptsp
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Hello, welcome to CAG.


You may already have seen our announcement in the blue strip towards the top of this page - we don't recommend paying by bank transfer. People like BankFodder also advise not to buy from a dealer who is hundreds of miles from where you live in case there are problems with the car, but it could be that you've set your heart on this one.


I'm not a car expert but I'm sure people will be along later to advise you on this.


Best, HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum




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I agree completely with what my site team colleague @honeybee13 has sent you above.

One piece of advice is – Don't.

The warranty has got nothing to do with it. Warranties serve as a distraction from your statutory rights and are often used by dealers to give people who don't know better, the impression that there is some special protection.

Warranties are an attempt to get somebody else to pay for any repairs or eventually to wash their hands of the whole matter.

If you pay by bank transfer you are losing control completely. If anything goes wrong then you will have a very substantial problem – especially as you are buying an extremely high value car.

We have enough difficulties here with people buying cars of between £5000 and £12,000 who buy at long-distance and who pay by cash or pay by bank transfer at the request of the dealer. As soon as you are over £10,000 you are going over the small claims limit and that means that if you have to bring a legal action to recover your money then there is a risk that if you lose you will face very substantial costs of the winning side.

For this kind of money if you really want the car that badly then you should arrange to pay on a finance agreement – even if it means that you have to borrow the money and then reimburse the loan almost immediately with the cash that you already have.

Even if you can partly finance the car using finance or a credit card, then you will get a measure of protection.

I'm also a bit worried because I seem to remember that there is a £25,000 limit on a finance agreement and that if you are getting finance of more than £25,000, then the protection of the consumer credit act does not apply. This needs checking up.

Of course the dealers are going to be amicable at the moment because they are looking for your business. All dealers are amicable when they think they're going to make some money. It's what happens later when the chips are down.

Have you had the car properly inspected? – And I'm talking about a proper thorough investigation by an independent third party chosen by you – and preferably in a different city.

Has it  got a new MOT? Who did the MOT? This I would suggest that you require that it is put in for a new MOT as an independent garage of your choosing and preferably in a different city.

The only other thing to caution you about is that having these inspections done on your instruction will to a certain extent even remove your statutory protections under the consumer rights act – because if you carry out inspections or have them carried out, then any defects which those inspections should reasonably have revealed, are deemed to have been accepted by you as part of the sales agreement.  This means that if there was a defect that should have been spotted but was missed, then the seller will not be responsible.

It's a very difficult situation. There is often a lot of benefit in not having inspection carried out at all because then this you are in a position where you can say that you had no reason to believe that certain defects existed and therefore they become the liability of the dealer.

I think the most important thing here is that you should be aware that if you are paying by bank transfer then you have very little protection if anything goes wrong. If you are buying at a distance then you need to factor in the cost of having to go back to the seller to have anything put right or even to have the car transported there. It would mean that you have to factor in the cost of getting there, leaving the car there, travelling back home, then travelling back to the dealer again to collect the car. And you have to factor these journeys in for quite a considerable time because of the £40,000 vehicle I would expect it to not manifest any kinds of defects that needed particular repairs for at least three years or more.

Of course none of this is intended to be a criticism of the dealer. I'm not sure that we have heard anybody complaining about them on this forum and I haven't looked around on the Internet – but once again, you are ticking all the boxes for maximum risk factors. Bank transfer, distance, second hand vehicle, young company.

Thar be dragons!

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Have you visited the garage? Have you actually seen the car?

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Yep. Seems fine but you can never tell, really, unless you get it checked. Garage seems fine but again, doesn't mean much. 


Sounds like I should just get it on finance...

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Yes, finance will be the safest – but you need to double check whether a loan of that size will actually give you protection under section 75 of the consumer credit act 1974.

Maybe somebody else will come along and contribute to this discussion and shine a light on the question

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