back to article Online car-buying firm agrees to more transparent pricing

An online car-buying company has agreed to change the way it operates after consumer regulator the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said that was not transparent with customers about its pricing. A year-long OFT study revealed that nearly 96 per cent of people who sold their cars to received less for their vehicle …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Naughtyhorse



    they valued my car at about 60% of the market value in the first place. the transaction didnt proceed any further than that.

  2. Ragarath

    Yea, okay then

    So asking a used car salesman (that's all they are really) to be honest. That's going to work isn't it. Fine them, they intentionally ignored the rules (no ignorance is not an excuse as we are so often told.)

  3. Paul 25


    Next you'll be telling us that Cash4Gold and the likes are undervaluing the jewellery that people send them...

    Sorry, I think I just sprained my sarcasm muscles.

    1. Richard 120

      I think

      That happened some time ago.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    They valued my Peugeot at £50.

    Sold it privately for near a grand.

    The point of it is like a trade / auction sell, you wont get anywhere near private sale price.

    5% of it's value is a bit harsh though.

    1. Leona A
      Thumb Down

      same here

      I went on line to value my partners Micra, same thing happened, they valued it at £50, we got a lot more than that privately, total con and rip off, avoid at all costs.

      1. Shonko Kid

        Re: Avoid at all costs?

        I don't know about you, but the adverts tell me that alone.

    2. petrolhead


      Thats whats known in the trades as a fuck off price. As in they don't want your business, but if your stupid enough to accept the offer the amount of profit makes it worthwhile.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget the transaction fee......

      Same here - also bear in mind that they charge a "transaction fee" of about £49.99 so you would have effectively got 1p for your old car!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        We Buy Any Car.

        They've shot themselves in the foot there. It means they have to make an offer for every car punted at them. They probably know they can't expect to shift cars that are older than a certain age so they just offer a stupid undervaluation in the hopes that the punter will clear off. If the punter goes through with it then at least WBAC will be able to scrap the vehicle for mor than they paid for it.

        They probably have a list of cars and ages that they will buy and anything that isn't on the list they will offer £50. I've come accross plenty of companies who don't transact online who do exactly the same thing. One dealer I know is brutally honest about it. He will offer punters peanuts for their cars because he knows he won't be able to do more than scrap them or bung them through an auction. He will, however, tell them that they can get a handsome trade in for the same car because he builds that amount into his forecourt prices. So he might offer £50 cash or a grand trade in.

        1. DrXym Silver badge


          "They've shot themselves in the foot there. "

          Oh I doubt it. Car dealers have a book of prices that old vehicles are worth. So just takes those prices, lop off 50% or more and then puts pressure on their collection agents to screw the customer for even more.

          Yeah they probably will buy a few cars which are barely roadworthy. More often than not, the cars will be in working condition. What they do with them is a good question but I expect the runners get farmed out into the 2nd hand market and the deathtraps get broken down for parts / scrap. Even a heap of shit that doesn't start is still work £50 scrap to recover steel, rubber, copper, platinum for the catalytic converter etc.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You'd have to be a right idiot to accept that.

        Especially given current scrap prices, you're probably looking 3x that for something that doesn't have to run (although it's a lot easier to drive a car to a scrappy).

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Reel Them In, Shake Them Down

    Colour me surprised. The only way a company like this can make a substantial profit, it to convince it's gullible/desparate/stupid customers that their car has low value, then re-sell it at a much higher price.

    Anyone who thinks about the buinsess model for this firm would be able to deduce they will be offering far lower than market value.

    The one thing which should be penalised however, is the advertising one thing and offering another in 96% of cases, clearly means the valuation given is not a true reflection.

    By the time you get to the assessor/dealer, you've already made your mind up to sell it, so most muppets will take whatever is offered.

  6. IsJustabloke

    I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

    In other news...

    ursine excrement found in wooded areas..

    resident of vatican found to be a catholic.

  7. peter 45
    Big Brother

    Well I never !

    You mean that new companies that spend load-a-money on flashy adverts to suck punters in are a bunch of snot't always give you top valuations.

    Thank you Mr OFT for your helpful investigation.

    P.S. where do you get the money to find these flashes of the bleeding obvious? Would that be the taxpayer by any chance?

  8. DrXym Silver badge


    These kinds of companies thrive in economic downturns because so many people are desperate for quick money that they'll take whatever they get. I bet tells people one insultingly low price and then their agent arrives to pick up the car and trots out a bunch of bullshit reasons (e.g. scratches, dents, wear etc.) that they're not even going to pay that.

    As a rule of thumb any TV advertisement that offers to buy anything off you should be considered from the point of view that it is trying to rip you off - gold, cars, inventions, debt consolidation, whatever.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Not actually true.

      They don't come to pick up the car, you have to take it to them before they decide that it's not worth as much as they previously told you.

      So you may as well go to your local shady car dealers instead anyway. More likely to get a decent price that way, as they know you'll see what they sell it on for on the forecourt.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Didn't know that

        I kind of assumed they'd want to pick up the car for the reasons you suggest - just drive it to local dealer / scrap yard. That makes the deal even worse IMO.

  9. Tim #3


    Only 96%? Whatever went wrong with the other 4%

  10. Lamont Cranston

    The OFT should put up a maddeningly annoying advert

    to let everyone know that is a massive ripoff.

    Although, how anyone thought that they might not be a massive ripoff, is beyond me.

    1. CD001

      Get the tune...

      Get that irritating bloody tune in your head and repeat:

      "We rob anyone, dot com"

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Sorry, but.

    They're going to move these things on in bulk through the trade or auction, i.e. at the rockiest and lowest of rock bottom prices.

    You can colour me extremely unsurprised that they are a) quoting the crappiest possible price and b) trying to reduce it later. How the hell else did you expect it to work?

    What was the difference between a scam and a business again? Ah yes, marketing......

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The valuers will be getting their comission out of the profit made on the car. Just like a lot of salesmen can only offer discount out of their own comission.

    You'll always get this sort of behaviour for as long as sales people are on low basic wages an high comission. OTOH when I bought new a car from an online broker a few years ago the salesman told me he was paid a basic wage and a fixed amount for every sale. Admittedly he didn't tell me this until I'd spent two weeks grinding him down to the final sale price. As such it was in his interest to find me the best discount to make the sale. Not enough discount, no sale. Overall his employers probably made more money with that model than the traditional model because they would sell more cars.

  13. Chris Harrison

    Lets weed them out

    Companies like this could be closed down really easily if we simply all went online and applied to sell our cars then refused their new offer when they turned up face to face.

  14. HP Cynic


    I'd like to see them prosecuted for some of the most annoying ads ever to pollute our screens too!

    On a more serious note I think it was all of one week before I started to hear horror stories about how these slimeballs operate: sure they need to offer below-market rates to give themselves a margin but they were clearly scamming people with a distance offer which was dramatically reduced once you made the effort to take your car down to a site.

  15. Dr. Mouse

    Six of one...

    I know someone who used to work for webuyanycar.

    Although I am not saying their practices are right, fair or even legal, he told me the main problem was that people failed to mention defects on the online valuation. They would not mantion the scratched bumper, dented wing, chipped windscreen etc. then complain that they weren't offered the same price. Let's be honest, if you sold your car on ebay, for instance, and you didn't mention the faults correctly, you can't expect the buyer to want to pay as much (most often they will cancel as the car is not as described).

    The other point is that they are making money from people's laziness. You know they will never offer full market value, because they need to make a profit. It saves you time, so you can accept a lower price, but you will get more if you put in the effort to sell privately.

    Once again, I'm not saying they are right... Just that people slag them off more than they deserve sometimes.

    1. bob 46

      Flame grilled whopper

      Hi, you're about to be flamed, and deservedly so.

      96% of people didn't get the value they were quoted online. So your aquaintance is saying that 96 out of every 100 people, knowing their valuation may be lowered if they give false information, lied about the state of their car? Really? Is that "the main problem?"

      And how is this the "lazy" people? The process is :

      1. You go online and fill in several pages of information about your car, then

      2. drive to the nearest "webuyanycar" garage, where the car is inspected and they give you a price.

      Any other way of selling your car would involve either step 1 (eg. Autotrader) or step 2 (eg take it to your local car dealer), but not both. Not really sure how that saves you time...

      It seems that, up until now, people have slagged them off a lot LESS than they deserve.

      I notice you were careful not to describe this person as a friend. As the old saying goes :

      "the character of a man can be determined by the quality of the friends he keeps."

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Not quite...

        I am not defending them. I am sure that they have been dodgy. I am only passing on what he told me, the opinion of one former employee (who I suspect was too honest, which is why he wasn't with them very long)

        As for my assertion that it's for lazy people, I stand by that. I consider selling to a dealer even more so in most instances, but sites such as webuy are a very quick method of getting shut of a motor, where they (or more precisely the dealers they sell the car on to) take on the hassle of trying to get a good price for your car. Yes, you must fill in details about your car and drive it to them. But if you were to sell privately, you will likely have to spend more time putting several adverts out there, showing potential buyers your car, haggling, and generally putting in effort. Selling your car privately will most often bring you the best price (eventually), but it is a much more laborious process. Webuy (or part-exing at a dealer) is a quick and easy method of getting shut, but they will never give you what the car is really worth (they need to make a profit, even the honest ones!)

  16. brakepad

    Worked for me

    A couple of years ago I sold a Civic Hybrid (don't flame me, I'm a petrol head really!) on for a very fair price, and around £500 more than I was asking for it on Autotrader at the end of a 2 week advertising period with not a single enquiry.

    The price quoted on their website was exactly what was paid and the chap that came to value it commented that I'd been pretty honest about the condition (odd scratches here & there were declared up front). It would not surprise me if a lot of people just tick the "excellent condition" box and have never actually done a panel-by-panel inspection for damage, which is what the valuer will do.

    I think in this case I benefitted from a relatively high book price despite there not actually being that much real demand for this particular car, but my experience of was pretty good on the whole and free of hassle. As for webuyanycar, I can't comment on them, except to say that the price they were offering for the Civic was less than wewillbuyyourcar.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My Father in Law works for

      a company that dose collections of cars for wewillbuyyourcar, and from what I understand they are relativly honest, and have a very low opinion on we by any car.

      This is, in part, down to them having most cars pre sold to dealers they work with. We by any car, however, are in some way linked to the car supermarkets, so have no idea if they are going to be able to shift the car or not.

  17. envmod



    an hundred grand?? what fucking car are they going to offer a hundred grand for? perhaps a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California? and seeing as nobody with a car worth anything substantial would ever approach them, surely the "hundred grand" line is misleading advertising...

    *phones the ASA*

    1. Paul 4

      How is that missleading?

      They may never get a car worth that, but that dosen't meen they won't take one... And if you have a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California you want to sell for £100k let me know. I'm sure I could raise the cash...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    brit tries to screw brit shocker!

    Hardly surprising tho is it? Our young are raised believing that this is acceptable.

    Maybe a more fitting title would be appropriate, "" perhaps.

  19. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    As Granny always told us, "If it looks too good to be true, IT IS!".

    Used car salesmen, who are generally as honest as Gaddaffi's propaganda guys, use tech to continue fleecing the gullible? Hmmm, I'll try to contain my amazement.

  20. deadlift


    Now I've got that damn jingle in my head.

  21. Cyclist


    Hardly a surprise surely?

    Anyone used Sure-Sell - - ? The Telegraph's motor man Honest John often recommends them. Effectively an off-shoot of British car Auctions, but the benefits are that you'll get shut of your car without having to wait for the tyre-kickers, dreamers, would-be thieves and no-shows to waste your time, and that the dosh from the sale ends up in your grubby little paws very quickly once it's sold. Biggest downside would seem to be that your pride & joy is going through auction so price depends entirely on the mood in the auction house. Not that that differs much from knocking it out as a p/x, or flogging it through the classifieds in your local free-sheet.

  22. clint11

    we will scam ya.con

    Relatives of Arthur Daily

This topic is closed for new posts.