Finances & Money

The Pros and Cons of Shopping for a Car Online

Buying a car is an exciting process. Whether you choose to buy online or in person, there are positives and negatives associated with each method. In this guide, we’ll talk you through the pros and cons of both shopping online and shopping in a dealership, allowing you to make an informed choice about which method is best for you.

Shopping Online


eCommerce is big business these days. With so many clothes, appliances and other items now purchased online, it’s thought that the internet could kill off the high street within the next fifty years or so.

The reason for this is the ease of shopping. If you don’t want to get cold, wet and travel round various shops, then buying online is far simpler. With eCommerce, you can make all your purchases from the comfort of your own sofa.

Buying a car is no different. Most major dealerships like Imperial Cars now put all their cars online, so you can see a wide selection without leaving your home.

Plus, shopping online provides you with greater variety. You don’t need to restrict yourself to one dealership or manufacturer per visit, and you can potentially see over 1,000 cars in an hour, with filters allowing you to see all the cars that apply to you – far easier than wandering aimlessly up and down aisles.

Finally, shopping online can also be great if you don’t like haggling. Online savings are often built into the price, and applying for finance online is often quick and simple, should you require it.


The downside to buying a car online is that you won’t get to test drive the car or physically see it before you buy it. Although this is undoubtedly a negative, buying online does provide you with certain protections, should you be mis-sold. Buying a car online counts as ‘distance selling’, so you have a 14-day money-back guarantee with a full refund available.

Buying in Person


The pros of visiting a dealership in person to buy a car are threefold. Firstly, you’ll be able to ask as many questions as you like to an expert who can advise you on your purchase. Although they may be a little pushy, salespeople know the vehicles inside and out, so you can make an informed decision based on their recommendations.

In addition, you’ll be able to see the car and test drive it, allowing you to make a decision on whether the car really is right for you. Sometimes, there’s no substitute for actually getting in the car and taking it for a spin.

Thirdly, you may be able to haggle on the price. Haggling isn’t something for everyone, but you can grab yourself a great deal if you’re willing to play hardball.


The downsides to buying a car in person is that it’s an incredibly laborious process, particularly in the winter months when you’re exposed to the elements on the forecourts. As a result, if you don’t like dealing with a pushy salesman, don’t like wandering round in the cold and wet, or if you’re time poor, then shopping for a car online may be the best option for you.

To conclude, there are positives and negatives to buying online and in person. Read this list carefully and decide which is best for you.

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Susan Paige

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