More than three quarters of England’s population is now being ordered to stay at home in Tier 4 – but that isn’t stopping people searching for cars this new year.
A total of 44m people, or 78 per cent of the population of England, are now in Tier 4 where non-essential shops are closed but car dealers are able to offer click-and-collect or home delivery.
As more people enter Tier 4, there is more confusion about whether existing car purchases or future hopes of one can go ahead.
The rules are clear on what can and can’t be done, but Tier 4 car dealers are embracing the changes to keep businesses going through the New Year.
Can car dealers in Tier 4 sell cars?
Yes! They just can’t do it at the dealership.
The rules are clear on not opening non-essential retail, which car dealers fall into, and that means no dealerships should be open to the public.
Car dealers can run a click-and-collect or home delivery service, and the only reason a customer should come to the dealership is because they have paid in full for a car already and want to pick it up.
Where can car dealers open fully?
In Tier 1 to 3, car dealers can still still open their doors to customers.
Although these areas are now very limited, with no regions in Tier 2 and only the Isle of Scilly in Tier 1, those currently (Jan 2) in Tier 3 include:
• Devon: East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, North Devon, Plymouth, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torbay, Torridge and West Devon
• Liverpool City Region: Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral
• North Yorkshire: Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby
• Shropshire, including Telford & Wrekin
• Somerset: Bath & North East Somerset
• Worcestershire: Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon and Wyre Forest
Car dealerships in these areas must still operate with social distance in place.
What does click-and-collect or click-and-deliver mean?
What click-and-collect doesn’t mean is paying a deposit over the phone or booking a viewing to then visit and decide if you want the car.
These services work exactly the same as if you were doing your food shopping online – they must be paid for in full before you (or it) arrive.
That also means no test drives but it does mean you have 14 days to return the car.
However, customers and car dealers should remember that just because showrooms are closed it doesn’t mean the sales process is off limits. Sales people can still show the cars virtually and communicate with customers over the phone, text or email.
Can car dealers sell a car to someone in a different tier?
Yes, but it’s not advisable. Those in Tier 4 have been told to stay at home and not travel between different regions, but there are always exceptions to the rule where it’s the only option.
However, travelling unless for essential reasons should be avoided.
Equally, delivery is allowed and car dealers are permitted to bring a car to its new owner but it must also be paid for in full beforehand.