Stay On The Superhighway To Beat Online Car Buying ‘Back Street’ Fraud

Fear of fraud is the greatest barrier to buying cars online according to a new survey by HPI, the top independent vehicle information provider, yet for Motorpoint - the UK’s leading car supermarket group - internet sales is the fastest growing area of its business.

That looks like a major paradox. But Motorpoint general manager John Hood sees avoiding online fraud as a simple decision about where buyers choose to do business.

“It’s the difference between unknown individuals and established organisations. Among the thousands of sellers on the ‘classified ads’ sites there are going to be some who are not telling the whole truth about what they have on offer,” he said.

“Motorpoint is a sizeable organisation with an established national presence and brand and last year we did more than 25% of our business with internet-enabled customers. They put down deposits with credit cards and don’t see their cars until collection day. Of course, honesty is a two-way street, and we rely on people to be up front about the condition of their part exchanges because we don’t see them until collection day either.”

Online operators need to provide evidence of security to potential buyers. At, online customers know all car histories are fully checked by HPI, there are live photos and full specifications for each car on the site, finance sales are FSA regulated and, if customers are not happy when they eventually see the car, all deposits are fully refundable.

“At the end of the day, the historical reputation of the car retailing business has been tainted by the actions of some duckers and divers with an eye to the fast buck. And they are still out there. The concerns this has generated are being carried over in people’s minds to internet car sales too. But there is a level at which car retailing has changed and organisations like Motorpoint want to see their customers coming back again and again. We’ve been around for ten years and we plan to be here for the long term,” said Mr Hood.

9 April 2008 Staff

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