A poll of 2043 UK motorists has revealed that around seven in ten consumers (73 percent) are more likely to buy a used car this year rather than a new one, to help save money during the cost of living crisis.

More than a quarter (28 percent) of these respondents also explained that it would be their first experience of buying a used car, having always bought new in the past (15 percent) or because they had never been a car owner previously (13 percent).

For those who would consider buying a used car in 2023, nearly half (44 percent) would look to turn to a private seller to source their next vehicle, with around a third (34 percent) of these consumers saying that cars sourced from a private individual can often be cheaper compared to when visiting a retailer.

However, The Motor Ombudsman says any savings made may be short-lived, and can carry an added element of risk for consumers, especially for those who are buying a used car for the first time.

Bill Fennell, managing director and chief ombudsman at The Motor Ombudsman, said: “In an era of rising bills, and increasingly stretched budgets, it can be very tempting for individuals to cut corners to make their hard-earned money go even further.

”Even though it may be perceived by some consumers that savings can be made in the shorter term by buying from a private individual, this could prove to be a false economy, as repair bills may mount up in the longer term, and turn a car into a very expensive liability. What’s more, The Motor Ombudsman would be unable to enforce any calls for help with resolving a consumer complaint if something was to go wrong after taking ownership of the vehicle.

“Spending time doing research, and choosing an established Motor Ombudsman-accredited retailer where a used car has undergone comprehensive checks prior to sale, is absolutely key. This is because, buyers will have a fully transparent view of the car’s condition and history to make a fully informed purchase, and can steer clear of any hidden and potentially costly surprises.”

Other reasons cited by consumers as to why they would opt for a private purchase include that they would find it easier to secure a low cost runaround (27 percent) and that they would be confident in knowing what to look out for when buying a used car (26 percent).

Similarly, about a fifth said that they are confident in their negotiating skills (21 percent), and that making a purchase from a private seller would likely be a fast transaction without much paperwork (20 percent).

Furthermore, 18 percent of this group of individuals said their preference is to pay in cash.

When asked where they would look for a used car from a private seller, over half (54 percent) stated they would search online, while around one in four (43 percent) would ask family and friends if they have had any recommendations or suitable contacts. Furthermore, 39 percent said they would check social media forums or marketplaces, while nearly a third (29 percent) would resort to keeping an eye out for cars on the street displaying ‘for sale’ signs.


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