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How to buy a car online

Online shopping is all about convenience and buying a car online shouldn’t be any different. Here’s what you need to know to help make your car-buying journey as smooth as possible.

Cazoo Editorial Team Byline Icon

By Cazoo editorial team

Published: 18 June 2021

You can buy a car online from the comfort of your sofa. All you need to do is narrow down the perfect make and model, place an order and collect your car or have it delivered to your door. You could say it’s the new normal.

If you haven't bought a car online before, here's our guide to help you on your way.

Find the right car for you

Before making any important purchase, you should always do your research. Buying a car online means you won’t have to worry about haggling with a salesperson. So the first thing to ask yourself is, what exactly am I looking for?

The right car for you depends on your lifestyle, needs and budget. Do you need a car for the daily commute? Are you looking to buy a reliable family car? Or do you need a nippy city runabout?

Whether you’re buying a car outright or getting one on finance, it’s worth keeping in mind the features that are likely to be important to you in the long term. Sat nav, smartphone connectivity and parking sensors or cameras are just some of the features to consider, as is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support. There’s a lot more to car technology than simply being ‘cool’ – most bits of tech are there for your safety and to enhance the driving experience.

If you want some help finding a car that's perfect for you, take a look at our guide on how to choose your next car.

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I’ve found my perfect car online - now what?

When it comes to actually buying a car, there are a number of ways you can pay for it. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to buy the car outright. This means you won’t have to make monthly payments and you’ll own the car from the get-go.

There are also flexible finance options available, such as hire purchase (HP) and personal contract purchase (PCP). With an HP agreement you can spread the cost of the car by making monthly payments over an agreed term and once the final payment is made, the car is yours.

A PCP agreement often means you can make lower monthly payments and then have options when the agreement comes to an end. You can swap the car for another, hand it back and walk away, or pay what’s called a balloon payment to own the car.

At Cazoo, you can apply for car finance entirely online and get a decision within minutes.

Is it safe to buy a car online?

If you’re not much of an online shopper, the prospect of buying a car online can feel a little daunting at first. But when you compare it to the hassle of visiting a dealership and haggling over the price, it can be quite the opposite.

When you're browsing cars online, make sure the seller has provided a thorough description of the car’s features and specifications and that any cosmetic imperfections are highlighted. Depending on a used car’s age and mileage, general wear and tear is to be expected, but any further damage should be made clear to you before you go ahead with the purchase.

At Cazoo, all our used cars have passed a mechanical and safety check before they appear on our website and our car standards checklist gives you full details of what we look for. Every car on our site has a detailed photo gallery that allows you to see it from a variety of angles – we highlight imperfections, if there are any, so you know exactly what to expect when your car arrives.

It’s also worth checking out testimonials from other customers before purchasing a car online. Searching Trustpilot reviews is a handy way to determine whether the car retailer is reputable and trustworthy.

Can I still part exchange my car if I buy online?

Part-exchanging your car is just as easy online. Traditionally, you may have taken your car to a dealership for a price valuation. Now, you can enter a few details and get a fair valuation for your current car entirely online.

If you’re thinking of part-exchanging your car for a used Cazoo car, we’ll give you an instant car online valuation. If you’re happy with the valuation, we’ll deduct that amount from the cost of your Cazoo car and take your old car off your hands in one easy handover.

Can I get my car delivered?

Buy a car online and you generally get the choice of having it delivered to your door or collecting it from the buyer. Buy a car from Cazoo and you get a choice of delivery or collection at a time to suit you, seven days a week.

Whatever you choose, when you get the car there’ll be a handover that can take up to one hour depending on whether you’re part exchanging your old car. It’s important to ask the person handing over your car any questions you may have so that you’re familiar with all its features before taking it on the road. 

What about tax and insurance?

When buying a car online, you’ll still need to take care of tax and insurance for your car before you can drive it. Make sure you have the car’s registration number, make, model and MOT test number and you’ll also need the V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book).

What if I want to return the car?

If you’ve changed your mind for any reason, you have the right to cancel the purchase at any time within 14 days from when you received the car under the Consumer Contracts Regulations of 2013. You’ll get a full refund as long as the car is in the same condition as when you bought it – the cost to repair any damage caused during the first 14 days is deducted from your refund if necessary. 

Looking after your car

While buying your car online can be very straightforward, you’ll still need to look after it once you get it home. As with any car, it’ll need servicing and maintenance to keep it in good condition and running efficiently, but there are ways of making that more straightforward.

When you buy a car from Cazoo, you can add paint and fabric protection, which is a one-off treatment that helps protect both your exterior paintwork and the interior upholstery. That can help keep your car looking its best for longer.

While used cars from Cazoo come with a 90-day warranty*, you can choose to extend that period with a Cazoo extended warranty, which also includes 24/7 RAC breakdown cover.

There are lots of used cars to choose from at Cazoo. Simply use the search function to find one you love, then buy or finance it online. You can choose to have it delivered to your door or you can collect it from your nearest Cazoo Customer Centre.

We're constantly updating and adding to our stock. If you can't find the right one today, it’s easy to set up a stock alert to be the first to know when we have cars that match your needs.

*If you’ll be using your car for hire and reward (which is using it for services or transport in exchange for payment), we’re unable to include the 90-day warranty.

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