If you want to sell a car, one of the options these days is a car takeback service. They’re designed to make life easy so surely there must be some catches with them. We find out.
How car takeback services work
Go online and you’ll find plenty of car takeback services: We Buy Any Car, We Want Any Car and Carbaba are just some of the names out there. The premise is simple. You fill out an online form with your car’s details. You get a value back.
If that’s to your liking, you then take your car to a collection centre, perhaps in a local supermarket carpark. One of the company’s agents will look it over and if it’s as described, they’ll hand you the cash. It really is that simple.
What’s the catch?
For a start, the valuations differ massively depending on which company you go to. So if you are going to use one of these services, it makes sense to try valuations from a variety so that you can work out who will give you the best deal for your wheels.
In addition to that, the prices these services offer for cars are usually significantly lower than you would get if you were to sell the car privately.
What these services don’t tell you…
It’s very difficult to value a car accurately using the sort of sketchy information these companies ask for via their valuation service. And what one seller might see as a minor blemish, a car sales professional might argue convincingly is something that needs serious work.
As a result, there are plenty of disgruntled sellers out there who’ve taken there car along, only to have what they thought was the agreed price chiselled away by an agent knocking pounds off for the tiniest scratch.
Unsurprisingly, they don’t tell you that when you sign up for their service.
The usual rules of selling a car still apply
Abide by the same rules as if you were selling your car privately or to a dealer. You’ll always get more money for a car that’s clean and looks as good as it possibly can. So don’t take using a car takeback service as an opportunity not to bother cleaning your car before sale.
But there are some benefits
Without doubt, this is a very easy option if you need to sell your car. You don’t have to place an advert then wait while the only interest you get is from other car sales operations offering you cheap ads. You don’t have to deal with the general public. And you don’t have to put up with timewasters who come along because they fancy a day out.
Would we use one?
We’d avoid these services because we don’t think they offer value for money. And of course if you do have your car valued and you take it along and the price they offer isn’t to your liking, you can always drive away.
Where these services are useful is that they are a simple way of working out what your car is worth. Just don’t use the prices they quote as the only gauge of value.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.