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18 July 2022, 02:35

Buying a used car sight unseen: is it a good idea?

Buying a car without seeing it first is more common than it used to be. Whilst it’s always advised to view and test drive a car in person - depending on your circumstances, this may not always be possible. So we’ve put together some tips for buying a used car sight unseen from a private seller - to help you avoid any disasters!

Examine the advert carefully

There’s one key rule when it comes to buying a used car sight unseen – if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Make sure the seller has provided all the necessary information such as the age of the car, number of owners, mileage and when the next MOT is due. Check to see if the car has any faults listed – honest sellers will be upfront about this. Also, be sure to spend time googling the model of the car for some background information, and check that it has all the specifications you require.

Speak to the seller on the phone

If you’re planning on purchasing a car without viewing it first, it’s important to speak to the seller on the phone, to ensure they aren’t a fraudster. Make sure you have a list of questions you wish to ask them and that they are confident with their answers and sound genuine. Also, ensure you ask the seller why they are selling the car and if it has been reliable. 

Ask for more photos

It’s important you examine all the photos in the advert thoroughly and if there aren’t many, or there is a part of the car you wish to see that isn’t featured, ask the seller for some more photos. When looking at the photos, make sure they match the description – for example, that the car looks its age. 

Check the car’s history

If you’re planning on purchasing a car without seeing it then it’s probably worth paying for a vehicle history check. You can buy a full vehicle history check on multiple websites, including the RAC for around £15. This will provide you with key information, including if the car has any outstanding fines, previous insurance claims, the correct mileage and whether the car has ever been reported as stolen. 

Check the seller’s reviews

It’s worth checking to see if the seller has any previous reviews. If you can’t see any, then try googling their details to see if you can find any information. 

Consider a deposit

Rather than paying for the car in full, it may be worth asking the seller if you can pay a deposit or reservation fee when buying a car sight unseen, before you collect it in person.

Organise an inspection

If you want to err on the side of caution, it may be worth organising a pre-purchase used car inspection, which can be done through multiple companies. This means that an expert will inspect the vehicle to ensure it matches its description in the advert. Many of these also include a test drive. The AA offers this service from £142.

We work with countless dealers across the UK to offer our users fantastic deals on used cars. Find your next car today.


About is a digital advertising website that enables people to easily find a "new to them" used or new car, van or motorbike based on what is important to them. We live the mantra As easy as CVB.

It does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all vehicles listed are offered in a completely unbiased method - unlike other similar platforms. makes its money through fees paid by motor dealers advertising their vehicle stock all advertising stock in a fair and transparent manner.

When they launched in 2021, it was the first automotive advertising platform that had no extras, everything that is offered to assist vehicle sellers connect with potential customers is included together with providing full vehicle details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed. Their ambition is remove £1billion from dealer and private customer advertising spending – ultimately helping reduce the costs of cars, vans and bikes for the buyer instead of exaggerating the profits of media giants. They are resolute in their view that currently anyone advertising vehicles has been ripped off by all the media giants.

Motor dealers benefit from free advertising until we reach an audience figure of 1 million users per month (as at July 2023 we are at over 700k).  Private customers offered the full advertising services offered by permanently free of charge. Dealers benefit from a growing suite of unique tools allowing them to gain maximum benefit from the challenging and changing face of the automotive marketplace.

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