Buying a used car from a local car park display

Photo of Teresa Ribera at the Cepsa plant in Tenerife. Credit: [email protected]

IN times of financial crisis many people are looking for different ways to make ends meet and one of the most recent developments around the Costa Blanca are the number of car parks sporting used cars for sale.

In Torrevieja, some local car parks offer prospective clients more than 40 cars and vans for sale, all at what seem to be very competitive prices, with a phone number to call, on the windscreen poster.

If you are on the lookout for a new car, it could be the place to go. Or is it?

Over the years I have personally bought more than 40 different cars for personal use, but only five of these have been from a dealership. Prices from a private seller are usually better than from a dealership but it’s always a case of ‘buyer beware’ if you decide to do so.

The first thing that you will possibly notice as the browse the cars on offer, is that quite a few have the same phone number advertising different cars.

Thus, you should maybe expect that the number you call is either someone acting on behalf of other private sellers, possibly because of the language barriers of the private parties; that they buy and sell cars for a living or they just happen to own a couple of cars which they wish to sell.

Alistar Jenkins from car dealership Costa Cars in La pointed out the major differences in private sellers and what, by law, car dealers offer you.

There are a number of reasons that cars for sale on a private car park can sometimes be sold at a much cheaper price that from any registered dealer in Spain and it all comes back to peace of mind, guarantees, being 100% legal and paying taxes to the appropriate authorities.

Alistar said “As a professional car dealer, by law we must guarantee any car we sell for a period of 12-months. Before we sell any car we give it a service, repair any dings and dents, completely valet the car and offer friendly advice because we want you to be a happy customer and recommend our business to others.

We also have to cover lot rental, pay all of our taxes and be completely legal. Word of mouth is a most important factor to all car dealers and so we want to leave the customer satisfied.” About private car sales, Alistar continued “I’ve bought many a car from a private seller myself.

As long as you are sensible, you should not have any problems. I always take my mechanic with me to try and spot any potential problems and always take the car for a decent test drive.

“Always ensure that your insurance will cover any drive around the block. If anything happens on a test drive and you are not covered, you are responsible.

One of the most important factors is to ensure that the car can legally be sold and this can be checked though HPI at Trafico, with results in a few days, or almost immediately, for a small fee, from a professional Gestor.

“This check will let you know if there are any debts on the car, outstanding traffic tickets and who the rightful owner is. It’s all just common sense, so ensure that you have this check done before parting with any money.”

As the private used car market continues to grow, local councils are checking to make sure that cars for sale are actual private sales and that sellers are not running any shady business on the side.

There is nothing wrong with purchasing any car offered privately for sale, be it from the pages of the Euro Weekly News, a shop window, browsing on the internet or from a sticker on a car window.

It’s just a case of making sure that the car has a clean history and that once bought, you will not have to worry about ghosts from the past catching up with your new pride and joy.

By Keith Nicol

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