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Dealership vs Private Seller

If you haven’t read the previous steps in this series then take a look back at Step 1 and Step 2 which provide advice on what car finance you should select. Step 3 and Step 4 will also help you determine what type of car is right for you.

Or if you’d like more information you can read our full Car Buying Guide here.

Step 5: Private seller vs Dealerships

You may have already shopped around and found your ideal car available in multiple places. But if you’re stuck with the dilemma of choosing between cars from a private seller or a car dealership, then the below pros and cons of each might be useful to you.

Private sellers

The main advantage of purchasing a car from a private seller rather than a dealer is that you can often pay less for the same or a very similar car. This is because there are no company overheads factored into the car price. You might also find it easier to negotiate a better deal with an individual seller rather than a dealer as they might be in a position where they are desperate to sell.

Some downsides to buying privately, however, include;

  • Less likely to have the reassurance of a warranty, unless the car has some time remaining from the manufacturer.
  • Limited legal rights if something goes wrong with the car after you purchase it. The seller only has to ensure that the car is driveable and in the condition it is advertised in.


As already mentioned, dealerships can often be more expensive than buying a car privately. Dealers can be more reluctant to negotiate better deals, especially when sales teams have targets to meet as well as pressure from managers.

But although the initial cost of the car can be higher, you will have peace of mind that you have somewhere to turn to if there is an issue with the car.

Many car dealerships such as Red Potato are also able to offer you the full package from helping you find an ideal car to sourcing you affordable car finance, even if you have a poor credit history.

Which route to choose?

As with many things, the best car route to go down depends on your individual circumstances. If you’re well experienced in cars – or know someone that is who can advise you on what to be aware of – then purchasing a car privately might be the right option for you.

Likewise, if you are unsure or concerned about the potential risks involved in purchasing privately then a dealership offers more security, especially in ensuring you can afford the car long term.

This website is operated by Premium Plan Limited. Red Potato is a trading name of Premium Plan Limited, which is registered in England with Company No 05977118. Registered office: Kempton House, Kempton Way, PO Box 9562, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 0EA. Premium Plan Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 742272). The Red Potato name and logo are trademarks of Totemic Limited. Premium Plan Limited is a member of the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).