Dealers are being urged to ensure that the used cars they sell online come with suitable warranty cover.
It follows a poll of 1,000 UK consumers by warranty provider WMS Group which found that nearly a third (30 per cent) of them were likely to buy their next used car online without seeing it in person or speaking to the seller.
Instead, they said they would rely on pictures or videos of the vehicle on a website – especially because of the ongoing lockdown.
Citing separate research by Green Flag that showed the average car repair bill could be £574, WMS Group said dealers and customers therefore needed to make sure that all used vehicles bought online had adequate warranty cover.
Commercial director Craig Grant said: ‘The ability for consumers to easily buy cars online during lockdown is undoubtedly keeping the industry going whilst showrooms remain shut.
‘However, this shift in purchasing behaviour – where consumers are buying cars without even seeing or test-driving them – means warranty cover is now more important than ever in giving dealers and customers confidence and peace of mind.’
He added that with a third of Brits having less than £600 in savings, according to comparison site Finder, consumers ought to check that the car they were buying had a valid warranty for protection and peace of mind that expensive mechanical failures and repairs were covered.
‘Our own research shows 64 per cent of car buyers agree that extended warranties – which last up to three years covering all mechanical and electrical issues with multiple levels of cover available – are important, yet many may not be offered this at the point of sale.’
WMS Group said its research had also revealed the extent to which online sales platforms were taking over the used car market – speeded up even more by the pandemic, which had sent contactless online car sales soaring.
‘It’s clear that we’re at the precipice of an e-commerce revolution in the car-buying market.
‘And it’s commendable that dealer groups have invested heavily in making the online purchasing journey easier and simpler than ever before,’ said Grant.
‘Yet as this segment grows and evolves rapidly, we hope the benefits of warranty and motor protection products are still being promoted as, ultimately, this will benefit the consumer.’
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