Tescocars.com – what you need to know
Although it's not the only company selling used cars on the internet, Tesco is the first high-street retailer to make the jump into the motor trade.
It promises lower prices, thanks to lower overheads, and it wants to remove the anxiety that some shoppers feel when buying used cars by offering an easier route online.
It all sounds good in principle, but how does it work? We've got the answers.
1. How do I buy a used car online?
Detailed pictures of the interior and exterior of each car are displayed, including a 360-degree view of the cabin.
Any scuffs, scrapes or small dents are highlighted, so you won't be in any doubt as to the car's condition.
All vehicles undergo a strict vetting process, including an RAC mechanical inspection, which will prevent the risk of buying a car with major issues. A detailed description of the car is also listed on the website, along with a history report, its fuel economy data, and a video of the car being tested.
There's no haggling, so the price you see is the price you pay and, once you've found the ideal motor, you can place a deposit to reserve it. It's also possible to browse models that will be coming into stock soon, and reserve one before it arrives.
If you can't find the car you're looking for, register with the website and it'll alert you when one becomes available.
2. What happens if I have second thoughts?
Don't panic, you haven't bought the car – merely reserved it.
If you choose not go ahead Tesco Cars will refund the deposit, no questions asked. However, if you're still happy to buy, you have the option of inspecting the car at the company's handover centre in Longbridge, Birmingham, or having it delivered anywhere in the UK for £149. The deal also includes seven days' free insurance.
3. What happens if I don't like it after it's been delivered?
You're automatically covered by online shopping laws, with a seven-day, no-quibble return policy starting from the day of delivery. So, if you discover that there's a problem, or that the car doesn't suit your needs, Tesco Cars will come to pick it up, at no extra cost, and offer a full refund.
4. Can I take a test drive?
No, with the checks and tests that each car undergoes Tesco says you don't need a test drive. Each car comes with a video showing it being driven and checked by the RAC engineer and, it you do discover a problem, there's always the seven-day guarantee to fall back on.
5. What sort of warranty do I get?
Just a one-month warranty, which is disappointing.
6. Will Tesco Cars help me to sort out finance?
Yes, you'll be able to arrange car finance. Initially, unsecured personal finance will be offered via Tesco Loans, but Tesco Cars plans to offer more personalised car loans in the future.
7. Can I buy new cars, too?
No, only used cars are available, typically between one and three-and-a-half-years old and with fewer than 10,000 miles on the clock.
8. Where does Tesco get its cars from?
The vast majority are from fleet and lease hire companies, with one registered keeper and a detailed service history.
9. Will Tesco take my part-exchange off my hands?
No, but it will offer advice on the best way of selling it and can point you towards companies that may be interested.
10. What about servicing?
Buyers will have online access to an aftersales service, Tesco Auto Centres, allowing them to arrange for servicing, MoTs and repair work at competitive rates.
This will include a collection, delivery and valeting service in the price. Fixed-price servicing plans may be offered in the future.
Will I get Clubcard points when I buy a car?
Yes, but not at the rate of one point for one pound spent.
What Car? says…
Tesco's decision to sell used cars online is a bold move, but that doesn't guarantee it will be a resounding success. The motor trade is notoriously difficult to get right – the last big name to try was Virgin Cars in 2000, and it lasted only until 2006.
Time will tell if motorists embrace the internet as the future of used car buying, but Tescocars.com offers all the information you need to buy a car online and, other than a shorter than average warranty, it's a genuinely low-hassle route to your next used motor.