Buying a car through What Car?: frequently asked questions

What Car?'s Target Price is guaranteed if you buy with our network of approved dealers...

Handing over keys

What Car? has been reviewing cars, highlighting the best in class and which represent good value for money, for more than 45 years.

We are now using this expertise to make buying a new car easier for everyone via our online New Car Buying service.

The marketplace brings together What Car? approved dealers, all of which have guaranteed to sell at our Target Price - the most our team of mystery shoppers think you should pay - or less, and who will compete for your custom.

You can talk to the dealers through our online chat system from the comfort of your home, and throughout the process you will remain anonymous until you wish to hand over your details, meaning that you will never be under pressure from salespeople.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the service.

Why should I buy a car through What Car?

At What Car? our aim is to make car buying as straightforward as possible, so our New Car Buying service puts you in touch with approved franchised dealers who are guaranteed to match or beat our Target Price.

This is set by a team of mystery shoppers who are constantly checking what discounts are available, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of haggling.

How does What Car?'s New Car Buying service work?

Simply click the ‘Find deals’ button by the car you’re interested in, let us know your first name, postcode and where we can send you offers, and we'll alert dealers in your area so they can bid for your business.

It’s all done through our website, so the dealers can’t see your personal details until you decide you’re ready to buy.

How do you use my personal data?

We never share your personal details with dealers - however you are always in control, and are free to pass them on if you think it will help with your negotiations.

You can browse all deals within the system anonymously, although we do perform a search of your location based on your computer's IP address for the purpose of showing deals local to you (although you can also adjust your search location by inputting a postcode).

When you see an offer that tempts you, you can contact the dealer using our secure online chat platform, or by using the phone number or email address shown on the website.

How do I compare offers?

You can request quotes on as many different cars as you like.

Once you have signed up, your personalised ‘My deals’ page makes it easy to compare them all in one place. To message dealers, just click the ‘Deals’ icon, which can be found in the top right hand corner of the navigation bar on whatcar.com.

Am I legally bound to complete an offer I express an interest in?

No. Deals listed within our system are not legally binding until a sales agreement is signed with the dealer. You can therefore decline to proceed with a deal at any time up until the point when the final sale is completed.

What about optional extras?

You may want to offer optional extras as part of your deal that are not shown on the website. These could include additional accessories for your car, or service plans for ongoing maintenance.

To get a price on these, simply message the dealer regarding the car you want and list the options that you'd like to add. They will then respond with a price. Our approved dealers are regularly audited to ensure that their pricing of optional extras outside the scope of the website service remain fair and competitive.

What if I can't find my chosen model listed?

If you can't find the exact model you're looking for listed on our website then put a request in for the nearest make or make and model of car that is listed, but add a message to the dealer in our online chat platform specifying what you are looking for. They will respond if they can help.

Can I get personalised finance quotes and part exchange offers?

In addition to our Target Price, we provide a Target PCP monthly finance price. This is based on set criteria (48 months, a 15% deposit and an 8000-mile annual mileage limit unless otherwise stated) so you can directly compare different models.

However, this can only be a guide as finance deals are specific to individual circumstances. To get a precise offer message the dealer and request a personalised finance offer, or part exchange value, at the click of a button.

What is a PCP?

This form of finance is the most popular way of buying a new car. Unlike hire purchase agreements, which divide the total amount borrowed into equal payments, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals involve a deposit, smaller monthly bills, followed by a larger final payment if you want to keep the car. However, most people never pay this; instead they hand the car back and start a new PCP deal. Find out more here.

When do I pay for my car?

Your dealer will ask you to pay an up-front deposit when you confirm that you intend to purchase the car. This will reserve it and enable the dealer to send through the relevant production notes to the manufacturer. If you are purchasing your car using a finance plan, you’ll start paying your monthly payment upon delivery. If you are making a full cash payment up front for your car, the balance of payment will be made upon delivery.

Are there any additional costs?

Using the What Car? website is free and you will not be charged for using our New Car Buying service. You may be requested to pay additional delivery costs if you live beyond a certain distance from your chosen dealer.

Can the dealer change their offer price at the last moment?

All of our listed dealers have committed to our Dealer Charter which promotes best practice in the marketplace. This includes a commitment to provide you with your chosen vehicle to the exact specification ordered, at the price agreed. In the unlikely event that a dealer changes their offer price between you expressing an interest in the offer and you buying the car, please contact us before purchase, so we can investigate any issues regarding the original offer.

Do I receive a warranty with my purchase?

Yes. Our New Car Buying service puts you in touch with manufacturer-approved franchised dealers. This means that when a sale is completed, you will receive the same UK-wide warranty as if you had visited the dealer in the showroom.

How long will I need to wait for my car?

Many of our listed cars, like the majority of UK dealership sales, will be ordered directly from the factory, individually specified to your requirements - however, you can also ask dealers about what cars they have in stock, including nearly new and pre-reg cars.

Lead times for factory ordered cars can vary depending on the make and model purchased, where the car is being built, and whether there is a current production run of that vehicle already in progress (many factories operate a batch production process, so different models will be manufactured in batches on the same factory production line at different times).

A typical delivery waiting time is 12 weeks, although your dealer will confirm the likely waiting time before you complete your sales agreement.

Nearly new and pre-reg cars have far shorter waiting times, usually restricted only by the time it takes to complete the paperwork and get the car delivered.

What makes What Car?’s new car buying service unique?

  • We review more cars than anyone else

  • Our verdicts are reached by experienced, independent car testers

  • Our discounted prices are agreed by our mystery shopping experts in advance

  • You will receive offers from up to eight dealers via our secure platform

  • Your personal details are not shared with dealers until you are ready

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