Why can't I buy a car online?

After the boom in used car portals at the turn of the millennium, the new trend on the Internet is now called "new car brokerage". In 2016, according to Deutsche Automobil Treuhand, 16 percent of all private individuals purchased their new cars via an online portal. Finally, new cars are also offered on the established online used car exchanges, and there are also so-called brokerage platforms. These cooperate with various dealers who order the desired vehicle from the respective manufacturer and make it available to the buyer.

The new car can be put together individually. The actual contract is concluded with a conventional dealer. The online portals advertise with generous discount promises compared to the list price. According to a test by the ADAC, the new car brokers on the Internet actually grant discounts on average around five percentage points higher than the stationary dealers. Buying a car via such an online platform can therefore be worthwhile, because reputable portals do not charge a fee for the brokerage service. As a customer, you benefit from the competitive pressure within the industry. However, buying online has both advantages and disadvantages.

New cars on the Internet: advantages

Due to the lack of brand loyalty in an advertising portal, the buyer can choose from a large number of different brands and models - some of them can be compared directly with one another. Even the annoying or uncomfortable price negotiation for many private buyers is no longer necessary: ​​the brokerage portal offers discounts negotiated in advance with the dealers. The advantages of the virtual world also come into play: As a buyer, you are neither bound by opening times, nor do you have to leave your home comfort zone to buy a car. Another major advantage: Customers can also enjoy the fourteen-day right of withdrawal anchored in the Distance Selling Act when buying a new car online. But one thing first: order a new car, test it for two weeks and then return it without any problems - that will not work. In such a case, the seller can demand compensation for the loss in value from the buyer, which is likely to be a considerable amount for a new vehicle.

New cars on the Internet: disadvantages

The biggest drawback: the buyer can neither view nor test drive his dream car. Of course, there is the morally debatable opportunity to test drive the desired car at a local dealer and then buy it online. If you don't feel comfortable with it, you should play with open cards and inform the dealer about your plans. Make sure to tell the dealer that you are a potential service and repair customer even if you do not buy a car from him. Other disadvantages when buying a new car via an online portal: You may have to travel long distances to receive your new car. A delivery of the car is usually possible, but at an additional cost. Speaking of money: even a trade-in for the old car or manufacturer financing is often not possible with an online purchase.

One should keep this in mind when buying a new car online

  • As before signing any contract, the general terms and conditions of the agency portal should also be carefully studied when buying online. To find out about the general quality of the online new car portals, it is advisable to take a look at the study by the German Institute for Service Quality (here).
  • Internet buyers need to know that they are not concluding a contract with the brokerage portal, but with the dealer who delivers the car (more about the content of the sales contract in this guide text). As a result, in the event of defects and / or revocation, the dealer is your contact person (more about liability for defects in this guide text).
  • If a dealer requires a large down payment or even full payment before delivery of the vehicle, you should definitely refrain from buying. It is best to inquire about your contractual partner in advance and make sure that it is a reputable company. A look at its website, for example, helps: Does an imprint exist? Are the terms and conditions available?
  • Should there still be residual doubts, buyers can also find out more about the seller in the commercial register.
  • If the contract is concluded, print out the order or take screenshots.
  • When ordering, also pay attention to whether the price has changed. Initially generous discounts can under certain circumstances be greatly reduced by special equipment, transfer or delivery costs. Therefore, before buying online, you should also obtain various offers for your personal dream model from local dealers and compare the prices.