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Haggling with sellers

Car sellers expect buyers to haggle on price, and factor this in when they set their price. It can save you hundreds of pounds so it’s important you know how to haggle successfully.

Do your homework first

You’re more likely to get a good deal if you offer reasons to ask for a discount. Before you haggle:

  • Purchase and read The Figaro Buyers Guide
  • Set your budget before you go!
  • Get a rough car valuation (look at other cars on this site!).
  • Get a car history check (www.mycarcheck.com).
  • Inspect the car (take your time and do not be rushed)
  • Test drive the car (you must ensure you are insured first).
  • Check the documents.
  • Know the specification of the car (read what should be included and not optional extras)
  • If imported ensure the car has been modified to meet UK regulations (See The Figaro Buyers Guide).
  • Know the deals and discounts around.
  • If any of this isn’t what you would expect, it’s good grounds to open negotiations. Knowledge is power.
  • Take a few print off’s of other cars with the same valuation seller know how much the car is worth – if the seller is asking too much, showing them the valuation may encourage them to drop the price.

If a car history check shows the car was in an accident, stolen or has outstanding finance against it, it could represent a riskier purchase – if you’re satisfied the car is fit for your needs, you should pay less than the market rate. Whilst you view the car you need to look at the following areas with may help you haggle for a better price:

  • Areas of the car which require maintenance are good reasons to ask for a discount.
  • Faults found during a test drive are always worth haggling over.
  • Incomplete documents make a car’s history less certain.
  • Check any modifications have been carried out to a high standard and be aware some modifications can devalue cars.
  • Check what deals and discounts are available elsewhere and ask sellers to match them.


A successful haggle should mean the buyer and seller both walk away thinking they’ve got a good deal.

Know the maximum you want to pay and stick to it!

Work out how much you expect repairs or maintenance to cost – call a garage for a rough estimate if you’re unsure:

  • Start your bidding low and let the seller work up to the acceptable middle ground – if you start too high you can’t go back.
  • Haggling isn’t just about the price – a tank of fuel or a service can be a good negotiating tool.
  • Stay calm, never be confrontational and show commitment to the deal.
  • The seller may call to accept the deal after you’ve left.
  • If you can’t come to an agreement, remember there are plenty of other cars available.