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Better deal for your four-wheeler

Online platforms can help buyers and sellers get a fair price and assurance on the car's health

Tinesh Bhasin 

Better deal for your four-wheeler

Buying or selling a used car has never been this easy. If sellers are uncertain about the value, they can visit one of the popular used car websites and find the approximate price. If a person is planning to buy one but is worried about the mechanical health, he can opt for a car that is certified and comes with a warranty. Online portals are aggressively adding new services to offer end-to-end solutions. For this, many have also partnered with lenders to let buyers apply for a loan. Some plan to introduce services that will take care of the paperwork involved in transfer of cars. Atul Tewari, chief operating officer at Quikr.com, says all this has helped bring down the transaction time. "A year ago, the average time to complete a transaction was 10-12 days. It has come down to six-eight." Pricing Based on transactions on their platforms and offline surveys, almost all websites offer an indicative price that a buyer and a seller can expect. Take Quikr.com. A person can specify the car variant, year of manufacturing and his or her location. It then throws up a result for maximum selling price (MSP) of the vehicle, depending on its condition. CarTrade.com, CarDekho.com and even online auto forum Team-BHP.com offer this feature, too. Some even tell the price difference a person can expect when dealing with an individual or a dealer. Parameters that help decide the price are dynamic. Based on each company's experience, these are changed regularly. The pricing of the same vehicle, however, differs on each platform. If a person is selling a CNG variant of a 2013 WagonR in excellent condition, CarDekho's recommended price is Rs 3.78 lakh if sold to a dealer and Rs 4.02 lakh for an individual. Quikr's MSP is Rs 4.59 lakh and Team-BHP gives a range between Rs 3.62 lakh and Rs 4.01 lakh. To get a better price, experts say, a seller should provide as much information as possible, including number of owners and repairs done, and should maintain the service history. "Listings with pictures of the cars get two times more response than those without," says Vikram Alva, product and digital marketing head at CarTrade.com. Rush Parekh, founder of Team-BHP, suggests sellers also ensure that the car looks good before showing it to anyone. If there is minor mechanical work required, the seller should fix it. Polishing the exterior helps create a good first impression. For buyers, he suggests they visit different websites to check the price at which the desired car is listed. For the real price, "knock five to eight per cent off the median value". Condition Online portals offer certified cars. This means the vehicle has gone through various checks pertaining to engine, suspension, transmission, air conditioning, interior and exterior, among others. Certified cars also come with a warranty. But, most websites offer certification on cars that belong to dealers. CarDekho, for example, has a Trustmark for cars sold by dealers. Such cars are subjected to a 120-points check. It also assures that it has never met with an accident, was never damaged due to floods and has a warranty between 100 days and 12 months or 4,000 km to 15,000 km. It varies with the certification plan chosen by the seller (dealer). "The certification not only helps buyers get a car that can be trusted but also helps the seller command a better price and negotiate better," says Umang Kumar, president, CarDekho.com. Quikr is among the few websites that offers car inspection to an individual seller.

It is currently free. But, the company doesn't have certified cars. The seller can get a health report of the vehicle but there's no warranty offered with it. When a person lists his car, Quikr's partner, Carnation, calls the owner and offers inspection. The report is then put with the listing and buyers can look at it. Finance Websites have tied up with lenders and loan aggregators. When a person clicks on the option that he or she wants to avail a loan for the used car, the lead is shared with finance companies, which call the customer directly. The loan for a used car starts at 14.25 per cent and can go as high as 18 per cent. Kumar of CarDekho says the time to buy a used car is between September and December. "Most owners put their four-wheelers on sale in the last four months of the calendar year. As soon as the new year starts, an extra year gets added to the age of the car and its value depreciates," says Kumar. If you plan to buy a used car, the best time to start looking for one is now. Parekh of Team-BHP says if a seller is upgrading, he or she should first approach an authorised dealer than looking for a buyer online. "Manufacturers always have exchange schemes, where a person not only gets fair value but also exchange bonuses," he explains. Tips for buyers

  • Research thoroughly before buying
  • Choose a car with a fully documented service history
  • Prefer cars certified by company dealers
  • Unpopular cars are available at a bargain
  • Avoid modified cars, discontinued models
Tips for sellers
  • In ads, include at least 5-10 photos
  • Maintain service history
  • Always present a clean and serviced car
  • Don't let potential buyers take a test drive alone
  • Sign documents only after full payment
Comfort of certification, warranty Certified used cars are the latest offering on most websites. The feature is for buyers who are willing to pay a premium for vehicles that are thoroughly checked by professionals for defects. To boost buyer confidence, online portals also offer warranties that range from a few months to a year. However, all certified cars sold online belong to dealers. In most cases, this means the buyer will need to shell out extra, as dealers also price in their profits. For example, a certified Maruti Suzuki 2010 Ritz is available for Rs 4.35 lakh on one of the websites. A non-certified car can be bought for Rs 3.7 lakh. For sought-after models, the difference is wider between certified and non-certified cars. In non-popular ones, it's one-three per cent. If an individual wants to get his car certified before selling, it's not possible at the moment. Quikr offers free inspection. But this is more like a report card of a vehicle's health.

Opting for a loan helps in car evaluation Yogesh Tiwari, 30, got a three-year old Maruti Ritz Zxi for Rs 3.25 lakh. He had first finalised a Zen Estilo. But when his loan was getting processed, the lender informed that the car was repaired after an accident and rejected his application. He then went for a certified car listed on a website. "I met the seller along with the dealer. They quoted Rs 3.75 lakh. I bargained hard," says Tiwari. He says opting for a loan always help, as the finance company rechecks the car thoroughly and is the most unbiased evaluation. Bargain as a seller or a dealer will always quote a higher price, he adds.

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First Published: Sun, September 20 2015. 22:20 IST
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