How to buy a car online

Online shopping is all about convenience. Buying a car online shouldn’t be any different, but you could find yourself a little spoilt for choice. Here’s what you need to know to help make your car-buying journey as smooth as possible.

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By Cazoo editorial team

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.

Finding 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 run-around?

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 are 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.

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 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.

Another option is a car subscription. The cost of road tax, insurance, servicing and breakdown cover is included in your monthly payment and you can tailor a car subscription to suit your needs. You’ll also get to choose from the latest car models. Whether you’ve got your eye on a family hatchback or you’re thinking of making the move to electric, you can pick the perfect car for you.

If you’re completely new to the idea of a car subscription, it’s worth spending some time researching whether it’s right for you and your budget. You can also check out our six reasons to subscribe to your next car.

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’s quite the opposite with Cazoo.

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 our thorough 300 point inspection before they appear on our website. You can see the car’s features and any imperfections – inside and out – in the car photos.

It’s also important to check 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 enter a few details and get a fair valuation for your current car entirely online. If you’re happy with the valuation, that amount will then be deducted from the cost of the car you’re buying. 

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?

Like any online purchase, you can get your car delivered to your home address or you can choose to collect it.

Most online car companies will be happy to deliver your car on a day that suits you. Car handovers can take up to one hour depending on whether you’re part exchanging your old car. It’s important to ask the person delivering your car any questions you may have before taking your car on the road, whether it’s about the car's mileage, safety equipment or the condition of its tyres.

Remember to have your driving licence ready to show and any documents that you’ll need to sign will be made clear to you before the handover day.

What about tax and insurance?

When buying a car online, you’ll still need to tax and insure 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 to see the V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book).

If you’re subscribing to a car, your tax and insurance will already have been included in the subscription price.

What if I want to return the car?

If you’ve changed your mind for whatever reason, you have the right to cancel the purchase at any time within 14 days from when you receive the car. Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations of 2013, some car companies will allow you to drive a reasonable distance within this time period and you’ll still receive a refund if you choose to send the car back.

Unlike a quick test drive, this is more than enough time to think it over and make sure it's the perfect car for you.

There are lots of high-quality new and used cars to choose from at Cazoo and you can now get the latest models with a Cazoo subscription. Simply use the search function to find one you love then buy, finance or subscribe to 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.

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