Role of dealership highly valued by used car buyers

By Staff
4 Min Read

Nearly half (48%) of those looking to buy a used car reckon visiting an established bricks-and-mortar seller provides them with the added reassurance that it has likely undergone rigorous checks.

The finding emerged in the latest Opinion Matters poll of 2,050 UK driving licence holders that was commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman, the independent watchdog for the automotive sector.

Furthermore, 43% of survey participants wanted a safety net if something was to go wrong with their car after buying it, as they would have more legal rights compared to if they had sourced the vehicle via a private seller.

The research showed that nearly one in four buyers (38%) would prefer to visit a showroom, as they would have a greater opportunity to view and understand a car’s history, including its servicing record and documentation.

A similar proportion, 34%, said that there would often be the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty agreement to help safeguard them from costly mechanical or electrical failures.

Lastly, if they were to buy a used car, a third of survey participants cited that they would steer away from a private individual, in favour of buying one from a seller that is accredited by The Motor Ombudsman to guarantee high standards of service.

Other findings revealed that four in ten respondents would prefer buying a car that had one or more previous owners, to help avoid bearing the initial depreciation after buying a car from new.

Nearly a third (32%) said there is often a large choice of vehicles available, whilst just over a quarter of survey participants (26%) agreed that they would be able to test drive and buy cars that were for sale on forecourts.

A fifth (20%) of consumers stated that they would prefer to avoid the wait for their chosen vehicle specification to be built and delivered, with the findings equally showing that buying used would give respondents the chance to read first-hand owner reviews and experiences about vehicle performance and reliability for makes and models that had been on the market for some time, to ultimately help in their purchase decision-making process.  

The Motor Ombudsman poll also highlighted that, for respondents who would opt for a used car this year, the overriding majority (46%) would buy a petrol model, with those in the 55+ age bracket the most likely to do so (52%).

Around a quarter (26%) explained that a hybrid would be their preferred choice, followed by a diesel variant (17%), whilst one in ten (10%) would look to buy an electric vehicle (EV).  

Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman at The Motor Ombudsman said: “Several million used cars change hands each year, and the second hand market, for some consumers, provides a more affordable and accessible proposition.”

“To help steer consumers in the right direction as they embark on their used car buying journey, our handy reference guide has been designed to outline some of the key considerations, from initial research to extended warranties, and to act as a useful prompt for questions to sellers before signing on the dotted line.”

To view and download the Motor Ombudsman’s #DrivingDecisions Used Car Buying Guide, visit

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